Some Amazon sellers found it helpful to compensate people for writing positive reviews for their products in order to help them win the Buy Box, but Amazon is putting an end to that practice.
It officially announced on Monday it was ending the policy of “incentivized reviews.” The marketplace explained:
“Our community guidelines have always prohibited compensation for reviews, with an exception – reviewers could post a review in exchange for a free or discounted product as long as they disclosed that fact. These so-called “incentivized reviews” make up only a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of reviews on Amazon, and when done carefully, they can be helpful to customers by providing a foundation of reviews for new or less well-known products. Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program.”
It said the changes apply to all product categories with the exception of books. “We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.”
Amazon also revealed that it has improved review ratings over the past year by introducing a machine learned algorithm that gives more weight to newer, more helpful reviews; applying stricter criteria to qualify for the Amazon verified purchase badge; and suspending, banning or suing thousands of individuals for attempting to manipulate reviews.
You can find the full announcement on the Amazon blog.