Amazon announced on Oct. 3, 2016 that the company was no longer allowing incentivized reviews (except for advanced copies of books), effective immediately.

Amazon had previously allowed incentivized reviews, such as those done in exchange for free product, as long as the reviewers explicitly disclosed that they were incentivized.

Why Amazon Made This Change

This change is a strong benefit to both Amazon's customers and to brands.

Credible reviews drive confident purchases. The rentable reviewer model undercut that confidence and became a growing concern. Incentivized reviews went from 2% of all reviews on Amazon two years ago to now a large and growing majority of all new reviews, according to an analysis of 7 million Amazon reviews on ReviewMeta.

Moreover, those rented reviewers are leaving inflated reviews that substantially change a product's ranking. Those rented reviewers are high-frequency reviewers, creating almost 10X as many reviews as your average Amazon customer, 232 vs. 31, states ReviewMeta. They erode consumer confidence and bury superior brands and products that have earned their great reviews organically through their own customers.

Though Amazon has required the body of incentivized reviews to have disclosure, biased reviews still influence the ever-important aggregate five-star rating connected to each product.

Why Marketers Should Care

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Dan Sullivan is the founder and CEO of Crowdly, an advocate marketing platform that connects large brands to an owned channel of their best, authentic customer advocates at scale.

Twitter: @danielmsullivan

LinkedIn: Daniel Sullivan