Amazon to Ban Most Incentivized Product Reviews

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The e-commerce giant is cracking down on reviews from users who receive free or discounted items.

In an effort to ensure that you can trust a product’s reviews, Amazon has announced that it is banning most incentivized reviews, in which customers receive a free or discounted item in exchange for writing a review.

Although Amazon has prohibited monetary compensation for reviews, the e-commerce giant previously has allowed incentivized reviews as long as the reviewer disclosed that fact.

According to Consumerist, even though Amazon’s incentivized review guidelines were clear, some companies and compensated reviewers cheated the system, “posting hundreds of reviews a month, almost universally positive, and for products they sometimes couldn’t possibly have used.”

To prevent further phony reviews from slipping through the cracks and being posted on its site, Amazon has now updated its Community Guidelines to prohibit all incentivized reviews unless they are part of the Amazon Vine program.

That program allows Amazon — not the seller or vendor — to identify trusted reviewers to post opinions about new or pre-released items. Chee Chew, the vice president of customer experience at Amazon, writes:

Vine has important controls in place and has proven to be especially valuable for getting early reviews on new products that have not yet been able to generate enough sales to have significant numbers of organic reviews.

Vine reviewers are not required to write a review on a product, nor are they urged to post only positive reviews. Amazon also limits the number of Vine reviews displayed for each product.

What do you think of Amazon’s new ban on incentivized reviews? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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