Amazon sent us a warning that some of the products that we sell have paid reviews associated with them and that our Sellers account is at risk if we pay or provide free / discounted product in exchange of positive reviews. That is fair enough - paid reviews are (and always have been) our pet peeves, and as Sellers we have never ever given financial incentives of any kind in exchange for positive product or seller reviews. As avid Amazon Buyers, we get frustrated about these biased reviews as much as all the other customers. Still, this warning e-mail raises the question if honest and ethical Amazon sellers will be at risk of losing their Sellers privileges because of the actions of other Sellers. We were surprised to see that Amazon didn’t seem to see what Seller appears to be associated with a review (?) … In case of Verified purchases, that should be no problem - one would assume … Should we stop selling / distributing anything that has “paid” reviews associated with it. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks. Sib
Some or one of your conversations with the customers might have suggested that you offer some sorts of incentive for a review. Amazon no longer allows sellers to offer free product, discounts, payments, or any other kind of incentives for product review.
It seems it was a standard message was sent to many sellers, if not all.
If you never engaged in the practice, I wouldn’t worry about it.
P.S. There were several threads, posted over the past several days, asking the same question.
No, we did do no such thing. In fact, we REPORTED every one of these messages to Amazon. Like mentioned before, we do not like these bought reviews and did not like being contacted by those that offer their “review services” against a fee/discount/free product. The fact that Amazon is now stopping this practice is awesome! But we do not want to have to pay for the ill-doings of others.
I got the same email and I have never ever used any sort of paid reviews, etc. however, I got at least a hundred requests to provide free products in exchange of review. I never replied and ignored it. I think it may be the reason I got it because I had requests and Amazon doesn’t know if sellers actually used it or not…I just didn’t like their wording saying I used it and this is why I got it, but I guess they prepared the same letter for one shot communication and sent it.
Just wondering, how would Amazon be able to tell what seller the paid review is associated with?
Even though customers often post reviews under pseudonyms, the pseudonym is linked to a real buyer account. And of course Amazon has a record of what each customer has purchased and from whom.
The review scammers wanted to have reviews only from real buyers because they thought Verified Purchase reviews carry more weight in Search.
The use of the word +you+, is plural…
Oct 24, 2016
Amazon recently updated its policies to prohibit incentivized reviews, including those posted in exchange for a free or discounted copy of the product.
We consider a review to be incentivized if you have influenced or can influence the review directly or indirectly, including by monitoring whether a review is written and providing or withholding any future benefit based on whether a review is written or the content of the review. Below are a few examples where a review is considered incentivized and is not permitted:
*You provide a free or discounted product, gift card, rebate, cash payment, or other compensation in exchange for the review.
*You provide or withhold free or discounted products or other benefits in the future based on whether the customer writes a review.
*You use a review service where reviewers’ continued membership depends on writing reviews.
*You use a review service where you can rate customers based on their reviews.
*You use a review service where customers register their Amazon public profile so that you can monitor their reviews of your products.
Incentivizing customer reviews violates our policies and may violate the Federal Trade Commission Act. The following actions are generally allowed, provided you comply with the above restrictions:
*You may offer discounts that are generally available to all Amazon customers, such as Lightning Deals.
*You may give out free products at trade shows, conventions, or other similar venues where you are unable to monitor whether the recipients write a review or provide or withhold any benefits based on whether a review is written or the content of the review.
The above changes apply only to product categories other than books. We continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.
That is what WE thought; however, why would WE then get this policy warning who have never even asked for a review, let alone paid anyone or provided discounted or free products. Does that mean that Amazon basically sent those warning to ANYONE?
>… Does that mean that Amazon basically sent those warning to ANYONE?
^ Essentially yes.