Amazon has updated its community guidelines to no longer allow incentivized reviews. These are product reviews made by individuals who receive products for free or at a discount in exchange for writing a review. While manufacturers don’t always explicitly require a positive review, the nature of receiving a product for free creates bias towards the positive side. Amazon is not ending their Amazon Vine program, which lets manufacturers go through Amazon to distribute products to trusted reviewers, who never deal with the manufacturer directly.
Incentivised reviews have become a real problem on Amazon, to the point that you can’t necessarily trust the average review score of a product, even if it has hundreds of reviews. Sites like ReviewMeta, which try to detect unnatural paterns in reviews and filter out incentivised ones, have become popular lately to combat the issue.
I personally receive emails from manufacturers on a daily basis offering free products in exchange for reviews. Looking in my inbox, the most recent emial from a couple hours ago is for these heaphones, which as you can see, has a nearly perfect 5 star rating from 44 reviews that were mostly written within a month.
For the record, the only product I’ve ever received for free that has appeared on AFTVnews is the 1byone keyboard I reviewed a couple months ago. I made sure to fully disclose how I got the keyboard, as I will always do if I didn’t buy something myself.
It’s great to see Amazon cracking down on the shady practice of incentivised reviews. Unfortunately, they’ll probably never be able to detect and stop the problem completely, but hopefully making a public statement against the practice, like they have here, will thwart future participation from manufacturers and reviewers alike.