Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has taken action against incentivized reviews. The online retail giant has decided to ban them altogether. This may make reviews on the website a little more trustworthy. Amazon has faced criticisms for allowing reviews that are posted in exchange for free or discounted items to appear on the website. But will it work?
Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) Cracks Down on Incentivized Reviews
Amazon announced Monday that it has updated its community guidelines. As part of the new changes, customers are banned from producing, posting or revising content in exchange for compensation, like free or discounted products. The new rules also apply if you do it on behalf of anyone else.
The only exception to the latest updates are book reviews and reviews created through its Vine program. The initiative invites trusted reviewers on the website to post opinions about new or pre-released products.
Under the previous system, incentivized reviews were permitted as long as the reviewer disclosed that they had been given a free or discounted product in exchange. However, it was discovered that these incentives actually increased a product’s rating by .38 stars.
Chee Chew, vice president of customer experience at Amazon, wrote in a blog post that incentivized reviews represent a small number of reviews.
“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,” Chew wrote.
It should be noted that the changes are not retroactive. This means you will still see these biased reviews when you scan through the Amazon ecosystem.
Amazon.com, Inc.’s Plight to Honest Reviews
Amazon has a lot at stake over its reviews system. With many customers turning to reviews to let them know the quality of the product, Amazon wants to ensure users can trust four- or five-star reviews. Over the last couple of years, Amazon has been cracking down on fraudulent reviews, including filing lawsuits. It has always banned paid reviews, but they can still be found from time to time.
Will Amazon ever have completely honest reviews? It’s hard to predict. Every time the website seems to make gains in this area, fraudulent reviewers appear to be one step ahead. It’s a Sisyphean tragedy for Amazon, but it continues to be proactive.
After several lawsuits, Amazon has pledged to continue going after websites that sell reviews. A quick Google search will show several firms selling reviews. You can also head to Fiverr to buy reviews from freelancers. There are just so many options out there to have paid reviews.
The online retailer says that if it catches anyone trying to game the review system then it will take action against them. What the repercussions are are unknown. It could be an account cancellation or, if it is a rampant problem, then perhaps a lawsuit is in order.
The question now remains: what will the unscrupulous players do to circumvent this matter?