Amazon UK and EU ban all incentivised reviews

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In September Amazon updated its policy for buyers who leave a review. Now Amazon in the UK and EU have also issued guidance updates basically banning incentivised reviews, including those posted in exchange for a free or discounted copy of the product.

Amazon’s UK and EU policy now says that you can’t do any of the following:

  • Provide a free or discounted product, gift card, discount, cash payment or other compensation in exchange for the review.
  • Provide or withhold free or discounted products or other benefits in the future based on whether the buyer writes a review.
  • Use a review service where reviewers’ continued membership depends on writing reviews.
  • Use a review service where you can rate buyers based on their reviews.
  • Use a review service where customers register their Amazon public profile so that you can monitor their reviews of your products.

What you can do is:

  • Offer discounts that are generally available to all Amazon customers, such as Lightning Deals.
  • Give out free products at trade shows, conventions or other similar venues where you are unable to monitor whether the recipients write a review or provide or withhold any benefits based on whether a review is written or the content of the review.

The above changes apply only to product categories other than books. Amazon say that they “Continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books“.

This looks like a pretty comprehensive banning of all forms of incentivised reviews. We know that reviews are valuable in attracting more customers to purchase your product. In the future it would appear that you’ll be limited to enticing genuine customers to leave reviews. If you can see any wiggle room in Amazon’s new UK and EU policy we’d love to hear from you.

37 Responses

  1. If you’ve already got an existing relationship with a manufacturer, i.e you’ve reviewed product from them in the past and you’ve been happy with the product and they’ve been happy with your review could send you an item directly.

    If they send an item directly with the expectation that a review is not requested or required. you could review that item.

    Yes it won’t appear as a verified review and as long as its only a small group of people ( to avoid tripping amazons system as indicated on their site)that the item is sent to then it should appear.

    The reviewer would be limited to 5 per week.

    Obviously there’s a trust issue, but if you’ve worked with that manufacturer before. that shouldn’t be a problem

  2. We’ve used a review group once for a product launch, after seeing all our competitors get hundreds of reviews over night and shoot up the ranking. We now use on Amazon PPC to get sale & ranking traction on new products.

    However we are still members of the usual Amazon Review Facebook groups. Today we saw a post on one group saying the instead of giving discounts codes in exchange for reviews, the sellers should send money via Paypal to fund the purchase in exchange for a review

    And in the groups own words “If reviewers in this group mess about with sellers then they will be removed from the group”

  3. This is great news. Over the last few months I’ve made a few purchases on Amazon and I’m sick of seeing ‘I received this free or at a heavily discounted price in exchange for my honest opinion’ etc. I don’t believe these people give unbiased reviews because of fear they’ll be removed from the scheme.

    I see it as a corrupt practice and I’m glad Amazon have finally acted on it.

  4. I felt it was only a matter of time before this was introduced in UK/EU; Amazon seem determined to try and introduce an honest review system. I suspect more sellers will turn to Amazon feedback software to boost reviews and comply with Amazon’s Terms of Service.

  5. What are amazon going to do about the reviews that have already been gamed?

    In some of the private label categories I sell in the front page is littered with products that have 500-1000+ paid for reviews and 5*’s. Some of these listings have gained this many reviews in a matter of months.

    It will be almost impossible to compete with these, taking many many years to get that number of reviews on top of it being unlikely our products will get a perfect 5* as compared to these gamed reviews (where they mostly get 5* as a matter of course).

    I hope Amazon either remove them or severely penalise these listings.

  6. Unless I’m misinterpreting this then wouldn’t the Amazon Vine programme technically be in breach of their own policy?

  7. I welcome this policy – I don’t pay for reviews and allow my the ASIN’s to talk for themselves at their own rate. Without any “boosts” or “pushes” in reviews. It will allow only the best products to be elevated and cheap imports to go down in the search results and branded high quality products to go higher

  8. @James Since I can’t reply to your response ( seems a limitation of the forum features.

    “you’re not in it for the public good, you’re in it for your own good.”

    ***At no point have I stated that I do not benefit with a product at a reduced price or free. You seem to be stuck in a recursive loop with cognitive dissonance about separating good and bad reviewers and the benefits and pitfalls of both. It also seems it’s beyond your reasoning to accept that a reviewer isn’t morally and ethically bound to give anything less than a five-star review. My what a black and white world you live in.

    – Well, I only accept wages I’ll actually spend.

    ***** This is nonsensical

    –”if you receive a pile of junk, the only appropriate review is “complete stinking pile of garbage”.

    ***** It’s ironic how you believe that only reviews should be independent of external influences and here you are telling people how they should mark their reviews.
    There are 5 stars and really markings can be subjective for each reviewer. If it’s completely unfit for purpose then in my opinion its a 1 star. If I give a product 5 stars and then months later provided with a product with new and improved features worthy of 5 stars am I bound to give the first product 4 stars? No of course not. I once gave a product 3 stars because one of the functions didn;t work properly but the point was it didn’t render the product unusable. I suggested in my review ways it could be improved. Months later the same manufacturer supplied me with a new product that had worked out the kinks and was worthy of 5 stars,

    That probably blew your minds as you operate in a binary fashion.
    Regardless. I think this conversation is at a close. It seems pointless to continue. I wish you well selling your trinkets as it seems you’re gonna need it.

  9. we use feedbackfive , no free items or discounted , just a polite email 2 weeks after purchase asking for a product review if the buyer has time , we have had about 70 genuine reviews in 3 months on one product, not fast but the reviews seem to grow with the listing as it moves up the ranking to1st /2nd page for its catergory

  10. is there a official link from Amazon where we can read the new guidelines?
    I mean on Amazon UK.


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