Important: Amazon’s Recent Policy Change On Incentivized Reviews

Update (Oct 12th 2016)

 

Reviewers will now be required to leave a product review on one of their social media accounts (twitter, facebook, youtube, pinterest, instagram, facebook group) in exchange for a discount. Once they enter the review, sellers will be able to see the link to the social media review on their seller dashboards. Reviewers NEED to leave a disclosure (EG: I got this product for a discount to give my honest opinion) when they review on social media, and link to the product on amazon in the social media post. Reviewers DO NOT need to leave a disclosure on any amazon reviews they leave, as now they are no longer required to get the discount. Reviewers CAN leave a review on Amazon, but it's their option to do so or not.  Reviewers shall not leave a review on Amazon for any product received at a discount on our site. 

FAQ:

Q: I don't want to post to my personal social media account, it will bother my friends! A: Create a twitter account, facebook page, pinterest board, etc dedicated to just reviewing products.

Q: I heard ___________  is against Amazon's TOS A: We are in discussions with Amazon's seller support and legal team. We are working closely with them in order to ensure that the site and you the users are operating 100% within the good graces of Amazon

Q: How do I leave reviews? A: The email approval that you get when a seller approves your code request will have step by step instructions.

Q: Do I need to leave a disclosure? A: When reviewing on social media, ABSOLUTELY!

Q: Should I leave a review on Amazon. NO! This would violate Amazon's new TOS.

 

Earlier today, Amazon released an important update to their Community Guidelines as well as this press release regarding reviews.

 Here's what's changed:

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 4.37.40 PM

The cliff notes version, Amazon is prohibiting incentivized Amazon reviews unless they come from Amazon's Vine Program.

 

How does this effect Amzrc?

We will no longer advertise, nor promise reviews in exchange for discounts. You will however, be able to continue to offer these discounts to our users with the understanding that no reviews will be required.

The good news is, that even without reviews, our sellers generally see a huge spike in sales, rank, and organic search. We will continue to offer this great tool to sellers to hep them boost their Amazon sales.

 

What's Next?

In the next week, the verbiage, and functionality of the site will change to facilitate this change. We will also send an email to our users to let them know about this important change.

We will continue to update you as we learn more, and as the policy becomes more clear.

 

 

96 Responses to “Important: Amazon’s Recent Policy Change On Incentivized Reviews

  • Michael Hughes
    2 years ago

    Amazon sued over 1000 reviewers last year for violating their TOS. So be careful.

    As other’s have said…. If a review is required… So is the disclaimer in the U.S.A. however, if a discount is given for the purpose of a review, Amazon TOS states you cannot do that.

    On the Amazon seller’s forum, there is a group that are actively reporting reviews that violate the current TOS. Several also are watching Facebook groups already. And so is Amazon.

    The new TOS is very broad in spectrum. It says reviews for discounts or products is a violation. It does NOT specify on Amazon for reviews. So if you buy it from Amazon, I do not recommend posting a review until you are sure it will not violate Amazon TOS.

    Additionally, the current Amazon TOS is fairly loose when it comes to giving discounts and samples. As long as there is No Requirement by either the manufacturer, the merchant, or a 3rd party site, to leave a review of any kind, then the discount is fine.

    Amazon sued over 1000 reviewers last year for violating their TOS. Do you trust AMZRC or Amazon’s past record?

  • Jen Todd
    2 years ago

    I really wish people would stop posting rumors and supposition like it’s fact. Amazon sued reviewers who were posting FAKE product reviews. People who were misleading other customers, who were a part of places like Fiver and just getting paid $5 for every fake review they posted. Amazon did NOT sue 1000 users who violated Amazon’s TOS.

    This is just ONE lie in a sea of them, here, and the ignorance of it kills me!

    Amazon is NOT saying customers who buy a product are violating their TOS by leaving a review! As a matter of fact, that’s the ANTITHESIS of what Amazon is saying. Amazon is also not saying that customers can no longer receive any kind of discount or rebate. Even free products! We just can’t do them purposefully in exchange for a review! Nothing says that we can’t utilize a sample of a product to determine future interest! And nothing says that we cannot leave a review of that sample, should we decide it’s merited!

    There’s so much bull$hit being spread around, it’s really nauseating! I’d look away, except it’s every place I look! Try actually contacting Amazon to clarify things before you go around spreading what you _think_ the answers are, when you actually have no damn clue!

    Oh, and try Googling the articles you’re about to misquote! In the long run, it’ll help everyone!

    • Erika Messer
      2 years ago

      Well actually Jen Todd I am in several groups on FB for review items and almost every person who has even attempted to post a review since the TOS changed has had their account totally wiped, lost reviewing privileges as well as lost most Prime benefits. So honestly it’s not really worth it to try because they also sent out an email (yes I received it) stating that they ARE going back retroactively and if you have excessive reviews or they find any that do not comply with the previous TOS that they will be deleted. So you should be listening to some things people say and actually talking to people that have had it happen. All of my review groups have went to strictly social shares and blog posts and YT for videos. All of the groups I am in have stated that no one is to leave ANY review for any items they have received with or without a disclaimer because Amazon cross-references the price you paid/codes, etc and they have wiped not only the reviewers accounts but also the sellers accounts as well. So if you feel like hurting not only yourself and the sellers who trusted you then by all means please keep leaving reviews. But I am betting that once Amazon sees you are using codes to get products and leaving a review you will be wiped.

      • Jen Todd
        2 years ago

        Blek. Show me FACTS Erika or stop wasting my time!

        Guess what, Erika. I have a friend who has a friend who has a friend who works at 38 flavors with a niece of a nephew of my high school English teacher who said that her Amazon account got wiped out the second she submitted a review. WAHHHHHHHH…

        -E-Y-E-R-O-L-L-

        Oh, by the way, let us also not forget that most of the Facebook groups are blatantly violating Amazon’s TOS’s anyway, and have been the entire time. They have ALWAYS put time pressures on products (violation!). They have ALWAYS required 5 star reviews, or the reviewer had to contact either the seller or the site directly, instead of stating their issue in a 4-1 star review (violation)! Those are two of the biggest, but there are others.

        You cannot prove that these accounts weren’t close for another violation. All you can do is point to a correlation and say, “AH HA!” But just because you sneeze after someone walks by, doesn’t mean it’s their perfume that’s the problem! It could be an allergy. It could an irritation! It could be their witchy powers suddenly springing to life! These are call COINCIDENCES. Look it up!

        And unless you have actual FACTUAL information, I’d love to not hear from you again!

        • Jen Todd
          2 years ago

          Damn, I forgot my P.S.

          A copy of this email, please. Just go right ahead and from the recipient, on down, because I want to see who is sending this bad boy, just go ahead and copy and paste it right on in here for us, cuz… I’ve got more than 300 reviews, and I’ve never ever gotten this email from Amazon… so…

          Since you have it, and all…

          • Erika Messer
            2 years ago

            I cannot leave photos here. The text of the message is below. If you have an Amazon account you would have received the message. Stop treating people like crap. If you have to be that negative to people you don’t know you are sad. People are only trying to make sense of what happened. I was not nasty in my reply, just stating what I have seen. I don’t care if you believe me or not. Go ahead – do your reviews – and then keep us all updated with your status on Amazon as we would probably all love to see you wiped 🙂 Oh and the groups that I am a member of do not require good reviews because I would not be a member if they did. Yes they do have a time period but that is normal for pretty much every reviewing site out there. Here is the exact wording copied from my email …

            Hello,

            Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.

            Your reviewing privileges will not be affected by this action, but you will not be able to resubmit the reviews that were removed.

            To learn about our review policies, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).

          • Jennifer Disario
            2 years ago

            I also received the same email from Amazon. I will not be leaving reviews since they warned me and also have deleted some of my reviews. I have never once violated their TOS as to how it was stated. They are just assuming I have and retroactively retracted my reviews.

          • Lucero De La Tierra
            2 years ago

            Jen Todd I received the exact same email as Erika Messer did. Same wording – everything. I’ve been feverishly trying to retrieve any reviews I’ve posted on Amazon and I have almost as many as you. Lots of work to do before they delete them all. 🙁

      • Laura O'Toole
        2 years ago

        All the other groups I am in have said you can leave a review of you like. Fact is they can not force you to write a review in exchange for product free or discounted….that is what they are saying. You can still get discounts all over the web not just for reviews. So they can not delete your account or reviews because you received it at a discount. They just do not want people bullied into posting a review that is above what a normal review would be if you paid for it full price. I am sorry but you are being misled as well as misleading others.

        • Lisa Gentile
          2 years ago

          You are very , very wrong. They can and they are retroactively deleting thousands upon thousands of reviews. They stated they would and they have begun to do it. It may not have happened to your account yet, but that does not mean that they won’t eventually get to it.

          You can read all the posts from the reviewers it happened to on the Amazon reviewers forum. There are many there who, like you, thought that if they followed all the rules, they were immune. They had a very rude awakening.

          Make no mistake.

          Amazon is trying to completely rid the site of reviews for products that are received for free or heavily discounted.

          The writing has been on the wall for months.

          Suing and suspending sellers who use the practice, purging thousands of reviewers, including top 100 reviewers and Vine reviewers, makes their intentions obvious.

          They don’t want these types of reviews on their site. At all. Period.

          I expect Amazon is not done and we will see thousands more suspensions and reviewer purges in the very near future.

  • Michael Hughes
    2 years ago

    The BIG red box on my screen is AGAINST the Amazon TOS. On the seller’s forum on Amazon, a representative from Amazon even clearified it as such. If you read Amazon’s full TOS, as well as most other’s have a bunch of text that nearly no one reads. However, in the TOS, there is a list of options that Amazon can take against offenders.

    From deleting posts that are in violation to deleting your account, and even taking legal action.

    While not everyone from AMZRC and the other “review” sites faked their reviews, many were little more than wordy garbage that had a disclosure that was longer than the actual product review. Review’s such as those are not helpful to other’s looking to purchase that product. And a good lawyer could argue that the review was made under false pretense and fake as well.

    Most sites required a review to be placed in 3 days after receiving a discounted product. That is not enough time to evaluate a product properly.

  • Erika Messer
    2 years ago

    Okay seriously – if you are going on information you obtained from Amazon customer support they are lying or do not know what they are talking about. I have friends and am in groups on FB – every one of the groups has told us to not leave any reviews for items be it with or without a disclaimer. Some people have already tried and they were immediately WIPED, lost their reviewing privileges as well as their Prime benefits. Oh yeah and consequently several of the sellers were wiped as well. I have seen the screenshots from customer support and I have seen the screenshots from people who were wiped. It’s not a violation of TOS to receive a discounted or free product but Amazon is wiping people who leave any review with or without a disclaimer, especially since they cross-reference how much was paid for the item and if you got a code then you are going to get in trouble because if you do NOT include a disclaimer then you are in violation of the FTC AND Amazon. If you DO include a disclaimer then Amazon is looking at whether it was a full price purchase or purchased with a code. You can choose to not believe me but that’s on you so don’t complain or whine when your account is wiped, suspended or banned completely. Amazon’s wording may seem broad but it’s not. It’s clear if you go and look for the actual blog post by their VP – it states in no uncertain terms that you are not allowed to receive free or discounted items in exchange for a review. They are not going to allow you to review on their site. Simple as that. If you don’t get wiped or deleted you are lucky. And they sent out an email that stated they were doing retroactive deletes if you did not have the correct disclaimer or had excessive reviews in the past. I have had 2 of my reviews from the past deleted just today and I always followed rules and did the correct disclaimer. Your best bet at this point is to create a FB page for yourself that is public and not on your private page, open a YT channel, Instagram page and Twitter and set up a blog (you can get free blogs online). The groups I am with on FB have been working like crazy with sellers to establish new terms and most sellers are more than happy to have you do social shares and blog posts. Amazon doesn’t own your content, you can transfer all of your reviews to FB and post them as long as you do a disclaimer for the FTC of some kind. We are still getting new promotions every day and no Amazon review required. I am perfectly fine with that considering that with Amazon you constantly have to worry about whether you will be wiped every day simply because they are doing a purge. Much easier and simpler this way.

    • Velma Wiley
      2 years ago

      Erika: wow. In your opinion, do you think it would be wise to delete prior reviews or leave it as is?

      • Erika Messer
        2 years ago

        Velma I would definitely not delete any reviews yourself, leave your account as is because with Amazon’s history they will notice a large amount of deletions and wipe you 🙁 It’s just not worth it to have all your hard work go down the drain. A lot of people have been using a program called A.R.A.T. to back up their reviews. You download it, install it and then just input your Amazon ID # which is in your profile and it will bring up all your reviews and you can save it all in a text file. At least that way if you decide to post reviews on your social media account you don’t have to rewrite them. The only thing is you can’t save pics or videos. But you can always go on Amazon and download those so you have them. There is just no way to ensure that you don’t get wiped but staying away from reviewing on Amazon and not messing with your account is probably the best option until things settle down. You don’t want to lose your Prime privileges, not worth that. Hope it helps! Good luck 🙂

    • Mary Carter
      2 years ago

      You’re absolutely correct. I’m in one review group and they keep telling people it’s okay to post and they’re doing it and getting wiped. I don’t even get where all the confusion is coming from. Amazon stated don’t do it, unless it’s their Vine users. Yet people are confused. I didn’t pay for my Prime to have it reduced to just the 2 day shipping. No ma’am. I’ll post elsewhere and add a link for people to find it on Amazon, but unless I paid full price…I won’t review it on Amazon period!

      • Velma Wiley
        2 years ago

        I heard that Mary! No reviews period.

      • Jen Todd
        2 years ago

        Your turn, Mary. Prove it. Prove that ANY account has been closed due to what the two of you are claiming.

        Anything. News article. Huge blog post. I’ll even settle for a Wikileak at this time, for God’s sake! Just ANYTHING that will prove this blather you guys say. It’s the same thing EVERY damn time. I’ve heard this wive’s tale so many times it’s just… ridiculous. It’s like those hoax emails that get sent around. Everyone’s all gobsmacked when they find out that Betty White isn’t dead, but they’re even MORE aghast when they find out that this hoax has been perpetrated since 1985.

        It’s such a cliche it has its own section on snopes: they call it, “Rumor Has It!”

    • Jen Todd
      2 years ago

      “Okay seriously – if you are going on information you obtained from Amazon customer support they are lying or do not know what they are talking about.”

      Riiiigghhhhhht Erika. It’s Amazon’s Customer Service who are lying or don’t know what they’re talking about. Of course it is! You make me roll my eyes so hard, I’m getting a headache.

      “I have friends and am in groups on FB – every one of the groups has told us to not leave any reviews for items be it with or without a disclaimer. Some people have already tried and they were immediately WIPED, lost their reviewing privileges as well as their Prime benefits. Oh yeah and consequently several of the sellers were wiped as well. I have seen the screenshots from customer support and I have seen the screenshots from people who were wiped.”

      I’ve already covered that above. I want to say, “DUHHHHHHHHHH,” because I feel like that might be more your speed, but. I covered this above, so I’m not doing it again.

      “It’s not a violation of TOS to receive a discounted or free product but”

      Umm, that depends. It is if you’re doing it in exchange for a review. It isn’t if you’re doing it as a sales transaction.

      “Amazon is wiping people who leave any review with or without a disclaimer, especially since they cross-reference how much was paid for the item and if you got a code then you are going to get in trouble because if you do NOT include a disclaimer then you are in violation of the FTC AND Amazon.”

      Oh god. You’re the queen of splitting headaches, aren’t you. You get things so wrong, and then you manage to sprinkle just a hint of truth in, then you go and get things super wrong again.

      Firstly, PROOF that Amazon is wiping these accounts. Now, I don’t want to hear about it again unless you have some to offer. Putting that aside, the disclaimer is required at the federal level by the FTC. Amazon understand better than ANYONE when you ordered products. Amazon — not stupid, mind you — understands that some products were probably purchased with the agreement that you’d review the product. So they know if you post a review of that product when you purchased it. They’d be able to see it was PRIOR to Oct 3rd, in which case… you guessed it! NO REASON FOR SHUTTING YOUR ACCT DOWN.

      Leaving the disclaimer is NOT a violation of the FTC rules, nor is it a violation of Amazon’s rules (show me the EXACT sentence that says such in their spiffy new TOS, plx). Including the disclaimer on any product a person reviews that was purchased prior to Oct 3rd would be in anyone’s best interest.

      “If you DO include a disclaimer then Amazon is looking at whether it was a full price purchase or purchased with a code.

      Ummmmmm… how do you know what Amazon is doing, Erika? Do you have some special spyglass into the inner sanctum that the rest of us are without?! Orrrr… are you just guessing what Amazon is doing? Or are your “friends” telling you? Be honest now, because I’m pretty sure I can tell when you’re lying.

      “You can choose to not believe me”

      YES I CAN!

      “but that’s on you so don’t complain or whine when your account is wiped, suspended or banned completely.”

      I’m sorry, but LOL. Do you know the number of times Amazon has changed their TOS in the time I’ve been reviewing? Majorly, catastrophically, much like this time? Three times. And in all of those times, I’ve had whiny whingy babies like you say the same thing to me. You know how many times my account has been wiped, suspended, or banned completely (by the way, how is that different from being wiped?). Umm, you guessed darlin’. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      Also, you can rest assured that you’d be the last person I’d come to with any kind of problem… I .. you know. We don’t know each other, so… there’s that.

      Ugh… the rest of this is just more of the same, and beating my head with that stick is becoming a problem for me, so. It would just be nice if you had anything to back you ass up with. But you don’t. So… move along.

      • Erika Messer
        2 years ago

        Hmmm well I would assume that when Amazon sends an email and STATES clearly that they are retroactively removing reviews that were done BEFORE the new TOS that would mean that they ARE going to go back and delete some reviews. I had 657 reviews yesterday, today I have 655. How many do you have? How long have you been reviewing? You assume that the rest of us know nothing so you must be the smartest person ever! It’s no wonder you have replied to almost every comment on here because if you are this much of a bitch then you probably have no friends! LOL You just aren’t even worth it and I don’t have to prove anything to you! But hey you know going by what an email from Amazon says – they must be wrong – it must be a mistake because what they say cannot be what they actually mean! OMG! Grow up and move out of your parents basement and start being an adult if you can be. Meanwhile the rest of us who are already adults will continue to help each other out while you whine about how you need proof. Well like I said go ahead and review and see what happens. PROVE TO US THAT YOU ARE RIGHT and it’s all just hoaxes and lies. Would love to see that proof 🙂

        • Jen Todd
          2 years ago

          They didn’t say THEY ARE, they said THEY MAY, firstly. And I just checked. I still have the same number of reviews. Nothing has changed. Maybe it has to do with my reviewer status. IDK. Maybe I just write better reviews. =P

          I haven’t responded to almost every post here. Your problem is you have to overstate anything to get attention. You say I’m not worth it, but that seems like another lie, since you’ve commented to everything I’ve said to you (and others). I’m a bitch to idiots. I have a problem suffering fools. That’s more your fault than mine, but this isn’t really a forum to discuss your personal problems, so. You know. Let’s not.

          And… like I thought, you have no proof. You have name calling. You have a lot of seriously questionable ideas about my life and my living situations (all of them untrue, by the way). But.. you have no proof. You have is what I thought you’d have… nothing of substance, but a whole lot of petulance. Boo.

  • Velma Wiley
    2 years ago

    Does this also include leaver seller feedback, that is, how they transaction went?

    • Jen Todd
      2 years ago

      Hey Velma! I’m sorry I can’t speak to your specific question. I would really recommend asking Amazon if this is something that’s really super important to you..

      I can tell you this, though. It was ALWAYS against Amazon’s TOS to leave BOTH a seller review and a product review. =/ Many 3rd party sites have asked reviewers to do this, in the past, but it has always been one of those things that could cause a problem.

      So, I’d say.. unless this is something that means a lot to you, I just wouldn’t risk it. If another site (or another seller) is asking you to do this (to leave both), they are asking you to violate Amazon’s TOS, and that’s not cool… I’d urge you not to do it, then, either.

      All the best.

      • Velma Wiley
        2 years ago

        Jen: why does Amazon have the button to leave seller feedback if it’s against their rules? I never put how the transaction went in the product review; I’d put it where it said leave seller feedback.

        • Jen Todd
          2 years ago

          I never said it was against their rules to use seller feedback. Follow along with me. It’s against their rules to use seller feedback and product feedback (to review both) if you’re getting a discounted or free product in exchange for a review.

          It is not against their rules if you’ve purchase the product right outward — bought it without any kind of incentive. So you needed a pair of pantyhose for a dance on Saturday night, and you bought a pair for $9.99. The box arrived, and you were happy! You have every right to post to both. But if you grabbed a pair of pantyhose off a list, somewhere, and paid $.99 for a product that retailed at $10, then… no, you can only leave a review.

          Hopefully that’s… clearer, now.

          • Erika Messer
            2 years ago

            I would love to see the link to where it states that leaving both seller feedback and a product review is a violation? Seriously I want the link to that. You request proof from all of us but yet you don’t include proof of what you say. Hmmmm.

  • Mary Carter
    2 years ago

    I’m not posting on Facebook, but I have no problem doing Youtube videos and posting to my Twitter and Google + accounts. I set up a channel to do reviews before this change to Amazon even started, depending on the item people like to see you talk about it while showing it and possibly demonstrating what it does.

  • kcb3gs@comcast.net
    2 years ago

    This is what I’m confussed about when reading the new community guidelines:
    It states…

    Amazon.com wants your voice to be heard! The Amazon Community provides various forums for engaging other users and sharing authentic feedback about products and services – positive or negative. These Community Guidelines will help you use Community features, including Customer Reviews, Customer Questions & Answers, Amazon Follow, Profile pages, Registries and Lists.
    Note: These Guidelines do not apply to content included within products or services sold on Amazon, which are subject to separate policies.
    Promotions and Commercial Solicitations
    In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:
    Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.
    Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your competitors’ products or services.
    Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else.
    Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.

    The “Note” part really confuses me. As it states these guidelines do not apply to content included within products or services sold on Amazon which are subject to separate policies. When I read that I understand it as saying as long as I buy it on Amazon these new guidelines do not apply meaning a seller gives me a 60% off coupon for an item he sells on Amazon that is sold by him and fulfilled by Amazon I use it, receive the item, use it for a couple weeks, & decide to leave a review including I received a discount on the item (due to FTC) but was not required to leave a review…I understand it as meaning this is ok but if I dont buy it on Amazon i buy it elsewhere or directly from the seller then post a review and only if I was required to write the review in exchange for the discount code then I would not be complying with Amazon new guidelines. What am I missing? ?? What does the noted part mean??? And what are these other policies they speak of other than the review creation guidelines that haven’t changed???

  • candy gurtler
    2 years ago

    I absolutely will not post reviews on my social media accounts. Not Happening. Unless this policy to post to social media is changed then I will use other review sites that do not require that.

  • erinstokes1981@gmail.com
    2 years ago

    I was told by a seller that I can leave a review of I want, just leave the disclaimer out of it. And they sd they cannot ask for a review but if I leave one it’s appreciated. So, I left a cpl reviews for products I got from this group and when I tried to manually add my permalink it won’t take it! The permalink is correct.