Currently this change has only happened on the USA side however I think it is more a question of ‘when’ than ‘if’ it comes over to the UK.
Have you ever been trawling through Amazon looking for something you need, checked the reviews and at the end of some of them it says “I was offered this product for discounted or free for an honest review”? If you haven’t then you can’t have spent a lot of time on Amazon. These reviews are scattered around Amazon and make it difficult for a potential buyer to really know whether what they’re wanting to buy is worth it. So what is this all about?
In a nutshell Amazon users can receive certain products from selected sites (including Amazon themselves) for free or at a reduced cost in exchange for an “honest” review of that product. As you can expect, not all the reviews can be trusted and Amazon have seen a flood of complaints because when a genuine customer receives the item it isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Well, Amazon have clamped down on that this week by banning sellers from giving their products for free (or discounted) in exchange for a review.
The reason these false reviews come to light in the first place is because of the guidelines that are placed on reviewers who receive these items. Sometimes additional guidelines might state that the review must leave a positive review if they wish to receive the item or that all problems need to be addressed with the seller – so rather than spending time trying to contact the seller, the reviewer will just leave a positive review. Another issue is that a reviewer needs to review the product within so many days of receiving it which for a lot of products it’s easy enough but for supplements, skin care products or anything that gives a result over time, is impossible to do.
Obviously Amazon have had enough, it doesn’t really look good on them if they’re getting fake reviews, so have said that there are to be no more reviews in exchange for products. You might be thinking “so where does that leave companies such as Amazon Review Trader (ART or AMZ)?”, these websites work by bringing seller and reviewer together so the seller can get their product out there. Well, no need to worry if you are part of one of these sites as all they’ve needed to do in order to comply is remove a few words to their guidelines. Now, a reviewer doesn’t have to leave a review for a product if they don’t want to – it’s their choice.
Now a reviewer can still request a product to review, if they like it then they can leave a genuine review meaning potential buyers can trust them. If they don’t like it then they can either let potential buyers know or just not write the review – obviously sellers will still be able to see the reviews they leave and a negative review might put them off from offering a product to the seller.
So you can now go about your daily Amazon life, safe in the knowledge that most sellers will now mean it if they review a product they got for free and you’re not being lied to just so they meet a seller’s requirements. Have you ever purchased an item that had amazing reviews but turned out to be pretty rubbish?