Will limiting incentives make Amazon reviews more credible?
For some time, Amazon.com has allow sellers and brands to offer incentives to customers for writing reviews, such as free or discounted products, as a way to help the items gain notice in search results in its marketplace. The e-tail giant has also required that anyone writing these types of reviews disclose that they are receiving an incentive. Now, Amazon has decided to put further controls on incentivized ratings by only allowing those that pass through its authorization system to be posted.
Chee Chew, Amazon’s VP, customer experience, published a blog post yesterday announcing a prohibition on all incentivized reviews that did not go through the company’s Vine program. In an explanation of Vine, Mr. Chew wrote that Amazon — and not the seller or vendor — reaches out to trusted reviewers to post their reviews on new and pre-released items. Amazon does not make any attempt to influence reviews or offer incentives for positive ratings. It also limits the amount of reviews 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,” wrote Mr. Chew. “We also have ideas for how to continue to make Vine an even more useful program going forward. Details on that as we have them.”
Amazon’s most recent move is another in a series of steps it has taken in recent years to shore up its credibility among customers and sellers. Last month, the e-tailer made news for requiring sellers to provide proof of purchase for brands that are often counterfeited or sold without the authorization of the manufacturer. The company has also filed suits against individuals and sellers involved in the posting of fake reviews.
- Update on Customer Reviews – Amazon.com
- Will Amazon’s ‘brand gating’ put counterfeiters out of business – RetailWire
- Amazon pushes back against fake reviews by suing sellers – RetailWire
- Amazon is legally serious about ending fake reviews – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think consumers trust reviews on Amazon.com more than those they find elsewhere? Will Amazon’s restrictions on incentivized reviews give the company further credibility with shoppers and sellers?