Amazon And Their Quest For Honest Reviews
Amazon has announced it will no longer permit free or discounted products in exchange for reviews (unless these incentivized reviews are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program).
“These so-called ‘incentivized reviews’ make up only a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of reviews on Amazon, and when done carefully, they can be helpful to customers by providing a foundation of reviews for new or less well-known products,” said Amazon’s VP of Customer Experience, Chee Chew, in a prepared statement. “Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.”
Amazon has historically prohibited compensation for reviews. It’s even sued businesses who paid for fake reviews, as well as the individuals who wrote them. We even featured an article several months ago talking about “How To Deal With The Fallout Of Fake & Iffy Amazon Reviews.”
But it has allowed businesses to offer products to customers in exchange for their honest review.
The only condition was that those reviewers would have to disclose their affiliation with the business within their actual review. Over time, trends showed that most of these incentivized reviews were overwhelmingly biased in favor of the product being rated. As a result, shoppers began to distrust these reviews.
A Little Refresher On Amazon Vine
Since Amazon seems to be shifting focus on Vine, it’s important to know how the program works. With Vine, Amazon (not the vendor nor seller) identifies and invites trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release products.
The program is designed to help new products that haven’t yet generated enough sales to have a significant number of organic reviews (the same premise, in theory, behind the now-banned incentivized reviews).
Vine reviewers are invited to join the program only after having written a number of reviews voted as “helpful” by other customers, and they tend to have expertise in a specific product category.
The Impact On Your Business
The news coming out of Amazon should be viewed as overwhelmingly positive. Marketplace sites like Amazon rely heavily on consumer trust, and data models proved that incentivized reviews were negatively impacting public trust of Amazon.
When consumers trust a Marketplace, the sellers on that Marketplace benefit.
Of course, the tricky part of this change in guidelines is that new and pre-released products will no longer be able to benefit from a surge in reviews. That being said, sales velocity matters much more than the reviews themselves for driving organic rankings.
That’s where OperationROI can help.
Our Amazon Marketplace specialists can develop and launch a comprehensive strategy that drives sales to your products and, in turn, encourages organic reviews. This type of approach will ensure you abide by Amazon’s guidelines while growing sales and buzz around your offerings. Learn more about how our team can help you make the most of this latest update by Amazon. Call us today at 1-888-277-5429 or by filling out our contact form.Need Help With Review Strategies on Amazon? Contact Us Today!