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Amazon.com updates shopper review policy

By Dan Wilson September 1, 2016 - 11:54 pm

bqool Amazon Product ReviewsAmazon in the US has updated its policy for buyers who leave a review, according to SellerLabs. The changes will likely impact services that can help merchants get favourable reviews in exchange for free products.

You can find the new policy here.

The old version of the policy read:

“Who may write a review?
To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to purchase any item or service on Amazon (free digital content doesn’t qualify toward this requirement). We do not permit reviews of the same product from customers in the same household.”

The new policy says:

“Who may write a review?
To post a review, customers must spend at least $5.00 using a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $5.00 minimum. Customers in the same household cannot submit a review for the same product.”

The changes mean that reviewers not only can’t get freebies to review but gift cards can’t be used (provided by vendors) to acquire the goods under review either. It’s clear Amazon wants real reviews from real customers. Probably no bad thing.

But it could be a pain for merchants who need good reviews, especially if they’re selling Private Label items, and gaining them organically is slow and tricky.

  • Kieran
    1 year ago

    Regarding your point

    “But it could be a pain for merchants who need good reviews, especially if they’re selling Private Label items, and gaining them organically is slow and tricky.”

    I am glad if it is a pain for private label sellers, they should not be doing any type of incentive to get a review, it can never be unbiased if the person leaving the review has been given the product for free in exchange for the review. I would be very surprised if anyone would leave a 1 star review in this situation, it just does not happen, and the reviews are false.

    These incentive schemes allow poor or average products to look like they are the best item available and this damages the trust in the reviews platform, Amazon know this and that is why they are trying to stop it.

    I am a strong believer in selling good quality and not just any old tat that i can get my hands on.

    Ebay is a place for low price rubbish, the Amazon review system should leave sellers nowhere to hide, if they are selling rubbish then their offer should crash and burn on Amazon and that is exactly how it should be.

    If a private label seller is selling a good product then they will get good reviews and the product will most likely sell, simple.

    I hope Amazon clamp down more on these dodgy reviews, it is clear search manipulation when a product gains loads of fake reviews as buyers on the whole do take a massive amount of notice of the reviews when making their purchase decisions.

    It is not alot different to the old days of ebay search when people would keyword spam their listing or use other search manipulation techniques to get their listing to the top of the page.

    Sellers should turn their focus to their products and ensure they are good quality, they should take on the negative reviews and go away and improve the product from the negative points real customers have provided.

    There is no issues with sellers asking their paying customers to leave an unbiased review after purchase providing they are not handing out incentives for doing so, many of our customers have kindly left geniune reviews, you just have to ask nicely, no need to cheat.

    • glenn
      1 year ago

      well said kieran , i totally agree with you
      i use feedbackfive , no free items , just a polite message asking for a review if they are happy with the product

  • Joe
    1 year ago

    This is great news. I’ve been looking to buy several gadgets on Amazon of late and I’m getting sick of reading ‘I received this item free or at a discounted price in exchange for my fair and unbiased review’.

    I was looking at one particular range of items and the same reviewer popped up on about 7 different items with more or less the same comments and even an apology for the brief review as he had so many items to review he didn’t have time to spend on an in-depth review.

    I’ve never seen anything other than 4 or 5 stars on this kind of review. I’m not saying they don’t exist but I’ve not seen one. I imagine if they leave bad reviews they’d be worried they’d be kicked off the scheme.

    This practice really does taint genuine reviews and it needs to be stopped, so kudos to Amazon.

  • criticalcricketcritic
    1 year ago

    Is this just on .com currently?

    • 1 year ago

      Yes you get them on the uk Amazon,I got a camera based on them it is because I was just searching for products with 5 stars I didn’t read the reviews but I brought the product and it was useless

  • graham
    1 year ago

    Genuine Amazon buyer’s reviews only, pure and simple.
    Hopefully Amazon will proactively remove feedback gained by this method.

  • Amazon suspension expert Chris McCabe wrote about this topic for us recently stating the goal of the new guidelines is “to stop people from creating fake accounts for the sole purpose of leaving a positive review.”

    If it’s a brand new buyer account, and they have made no purchases, and pay less than $5 for your product, they cannot leave a review.

    You can read more from Chris at https://www.feedbackexpress.com/expert-help-amazons-new-customer-review-guidelines/

  • Dave P
    1 year ago

    I agree this is great news. Amazon reviews have become a bit of a joke recently. Used to trust them but after seeing how many sellers manipulate them and get free ones I no longer think they are very trustworthy, I am sure many agree.
    Good step from Amazon as this was one of the things that always set them apart

  • criticalcricketcritic
    1 year ago

    I have checked the UK page and this is not live for the UK though yet. I am guessing it’s only a matter if time before it is though and rightly so.

    Even though I do participate in giveaways it’s not by choice. Years ago I used to gain market share by sheer good follow ups etc but then the US and Chinese sellers came into the market.

    I run a Facebook Review Group (mainly to catch Chinese VAT evaders – who are then reported to HMRC) but I hate the way they have their demands (you must do this tat and the other).

    Its become an arms race who can giveaway the most to get to the top.

  • Steve
    1 year ago

    Hmmm, I think this will be quite easy to circumvent. Seller pays reviewer £5 via PayPal. Reviewer simply uses their debit/credit card to buy product for £5 perhaps also in conjunction with a promo code and criteria met – easy.

    The additional cost to the seller is actually Amazon’s referral fee as the £5 comes back to them when the product is purchased minus the referral fee as usual.

    So it may stop products being completely given away but easy to navigate around using this method.

    Also what about Vine reviewers will this apply to them I wonder?

    I think the impact will be minimal on review manipulation.

    Steve

  • Craig
    1 year ago

    This is great news and I hope it is in the UK soon also. Reviews on so many products can no longer be trusted. Ideally, all the reviews that are based on free products should hopefully be removed.

    This system has allowed people to see absolute garbage with 5-star reviews and it is great to see Amazon taking it seriously.

  • glenn
    1 year ago

    this is why i love amazon , they can see there is a problem with there feedback system with small companies taking advantage of there ranking search engine , they take action , last year they could see there was a problem with companies not paying tax/vat they ask all business sellers to provide documents from HMRC for the verification process , i wish ebay was this proactive instead of being a place for people to sell fake items from a bedroom and pay no tax/vat and use any old address in business seller information

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