Today, after a change in its Community Guidelines Amazon banned incentivized reviews. Up until today Amazon frowned to incetivized reviews, but allowed them under the condition that the reviewer disclosed this fact.
This decision comes after studies showed that buyers tend to distrust reviews which are part of the core of Amazon selling process.
Right now the sellers are redirected to Amazon’s Vine program which uses unbiased reviewers.
We launched Vine several years ago to carefully facilitate these kinds of reviews and have been happy with feedback from customers and vendors. Here’s how Vine works: Amazon – not the vendor or seller – identifies and invites trusted and helpful reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release products; we do not incentivize positive star ratings, attempt to influence the content of reviews, or even require a review to be written; and we limit the total number of Vine reviews that we display for each product. 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.
Says Chee Chew, vice-president of customer experience at Amazon, in a blog post.
This decision was appreciated by regular buyers from Amazon, and created a shock wave amongst the Amazon Vendors who now think they have no other way to promote and generate reviews for their products, “especially in niches with top sellers that have given away hundreds of units in the past” says a redditor.