Customer reviews are beneficial to both sellers and buyers if written genuinely.
They attract more customers to a seller’s product and, at the same time, help customers make an intelligent buying decision.
However, when these reviews are used to satisfy a seller’s interest more than a buyer’s need, then they fail to serve their purpose.
That was the point of Amazon for updating their guidelines for their UK and EU marketplaces, which ban businesses from offering perks like discounted products or cash payments in exchange for product reviews.
Amazon’s old guidelines allowed third-party sellers to give freebies or discounted products to customers who post reviews of their products, provided that the latter admit receiving incentives from the businesses which they wrote reviews for.
Since their updated community guidelines have been put into effect, Amazon UK and EU prohibit sellers on their marketplaces to have paid reviews unless facilitated through the Amazon Vine programme.
To find out how this works, read the Customer Review Guidelines thoroughly on the Amazon UK site.
What Counts as an Incentivised Review?
A customer review which was done in exchange for money, free product or any similar incentive is considered an incentivised or paid review.
Third-party sellers on Amazon will be violating the company’s new policy and putting their Sellers account at risk if they do any of the following:
- Provide a free or discounted product, gift card, rebate, 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 customer writes a review.
- Use a review service where reviewers’ continued membership depends on writing reviews.
- Use a review service where you can rate customers 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.
Aside from violating Amazon’s new review policy, posting paid customer reviews also violates the Federal Trade Commission Act.
It’s worth noting, though, that the new policy of Amazon applies to all product categories except books, as they “allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books”.
What does the New Policy Allow?
In no way is Amazon trying to be boring and unadventurous with its updated policy.
The company’s official press release states you are allowed to do the following anytime you wish:
- Offer discounts that are generally available to all Amazon customers, such as Lighting 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.
Moreover, Amazon is doing you a big favour by allowing you to identify areas in your product which you need to improve based on honest customer reviews.
With paid reviews you will never be able to see that, only the illusion of perfection.
What do you think of Amazon UK’s new policy on customer reviews?