Will this get me banned? How to get Amazon reviews the right way.
Reviews are making people rich.
Research suggests that customers trust user-generated content (like reviews) more than content put out by the seller, with 88% of customers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
And even more extreme, reviews basically equal sales.
For example: on Yelp, a 1-star increase in reviews boosts sales by up to 9%.
And look what Amazon’s doing: reviews in product results.
Reviews on every product listing.
And special rankings and profiles for reviewers. And reviewer profiles that link to social platforms!
See what’s happening? We’re in a new era of “social shopping”, with reviews — user generated content — as the new sales copy. Because people trust their fellow shoppers more than they trust marketing material from the company.
But what does this mean for you as an Amazon seller?
Well, we know that reviews boost sales.
So it makes sense to get more reviews, right?
What do most sellers do? Dedicate some inventory to be sold for review purposes, like how they send out copies of Oscar-nominated movies for members of the Academy to watch.
We, at HonestFew, take your product URL and promo codes, and connect you with thousands of Amazon shoppers on the other end. The shoppers buy at a discount and leave honest reviews on your product.
The sales tell Amazon “hey, this product is popular”, ranking it higher in search results. Rank higher, and you get more traffic. And then the reviews convince this traffic that your product is good, it sells, and you make more money.
Sometimes sellers ask us: looks great, but am I allowed to do this? Won’t this put my Amazon account in trouble?
For the answer, let’s go to the source: the Amazon terms of service. I’ll be leaving the links to these articles in the description below.
First, let’s check out Amazon’s Review Creation guidelines:
It’s got some common-sense rules like you can’t review your own stuff, no offensive language, or promotion of illegal conduct.
Be a good person; fair enough.
And here’s where it gets interesting; the “Promotional Content” section. Check out the “Paid Reviews” paragraph:
“ We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact.”
Ok, so Amazon allows you to offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review. Just so long as the product is…
> received by the reviewer up front
> you make it clear that you welcome both positive and negative feedback
> the reviewer isn’t refunded, and
> the reviewer discloses the fact that they got a discount for a review in public, which you see in reviews all the time.
Confirmed, this process is allowed.
But now the question is: how far can you take it? How many units can you give away for review?
The go-to document for seller rules is Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions.
Interestingly, it says:
“ Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace (which we now know — I’m going to speed this up because it’s pretty simple), providing a forum for feedback about product and service details and reviewers’ experiences with products and services — positive or negative. You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell. Additionally, you may not provide compensation for a review other than a free or discount copy of the product. If you offer a free or discount product, it must be clear that you are soliciting an unbiased review. The free or discount product must be provided in advance. No refunds are permitted after the review is written.
And here’s where it gets good:
You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review.”
In preparation for this piece, I asked Amazon exactly what this means, asking if I could sell 1000 units of a product to 1000 customers at a discount in exchange for a review.
What does the policy mean by “Offering an excessive number of free or discounted products”? What does “excessive” mean?
So, “excessive” isn’t a numerical value. It refers to offering multiple units to a single person — a single reviewer — because this might influence the review to be more positive.
Amazon wants people to test-drive products. Reviews help them make money, remember?
So whether you’re giving away 100 or 1000 units, as long as the reviews are honest and free of manipulation, both quantities are fine. If you give away 1000 units of a great product, you’ll get great reviews. Give away 1000 bad products, and nothing can save you.
Ultimately, selling products for review is the same as a Black Friday sale, offering a big discount on Groupon, or getting press like Buzzfeed.
What’s happening is that you’re getting a large amount of traffic, customers buy, and your best-seller ranking increases. The only difference between these and a sale with HonestFew is that the buyers are there in the context of both buying and reviewing, not just buying. Which is clearly allowed on Amazon and will continue to be, because reviews drive conversions.
We go to extraordinary efforts to make sure that your products are sold and reviewed with no refunds, all-honest feedback, and the proper disclaimers.
When you’re ready to increase your sales and review count, get in touch. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us toll-free at 1–855–707–2395 (my partner Leo will pick up, he’s a nice guy), or Skype us at HonestFewCo. Let’s team up and grow your business.
Like if you enjoyed, and I’ll see you in the next one.