Amazon Incentive Review Ban: What Happens To The Incentive Reviews Currently On The Website?

The world for anyone who claimed the title of “Amazon reviewer” came crumbling down when Amazon made the announcement to ban the controversial practice of allowing incentive reviews earlier this week. Under the incentive reviews program, Amazon sellers and vendors were allowed to offer customers free and/or discounted products in exchange for honest reviews. Amazon made the decision to ban this practice earlier this week after studies, reports, and a large portion of the customer base on Amazon began to question how honest the review and rating system on the website really is.

According to the video above, a study conducted by ReviewMeta shows that roughly 20 percent of views on Amazon contains language to suggest the product was purchased at a discount (or free) in exchange for an honest review.

According to Consumerist, the results of this study above do not mean the product star rating of any produce with incentive reviews is simply 20 percent higher than it would be otherwise. In fact, the incentive reviews have an even greater impact on the overall rating. This is because some of the products in question only have incentive reviews. In some cases, it is not uncommon for the incentive reviews to mismatch non-incentive reviews by as many as two stars. Basically, this means that if you see incentive reviews on a product with five stars, it is not uncommon for the average star rating of non-incentive reviews on the same product to be three stars. It is statistics like these that have caused Amazon to question how honest the reviews being left on the website actually are.

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Since Amazon made the decision to announce the change to their community guidelines, which has prohibited sellers and vendors from giving away products in exchange for receiving honest reviews, this has left both reviewers and sellers on Amazon with one question: What is going to happen to the massive amount of incentive reviews that are currently published on the website? Is Amazon going to start deleting all of those reviews as well?

According to Yahoo Finance, Amazon has stated that the incentive reviews on the website are not going anywhere. In fact, here is an official statement from Amazon regarding the matter.

“Reviews that were received prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed only if they are excessive or do not comply with the then policy.”

Basically, this means Amazon won’t comb through the website and delete incentive reviews. The only exception will be if Amazon (or a customer or vendor) points out an excessively and obviously biased review or a review that does not comply with the previous policy Amazon had in place.

Ultimately, this means that Amazon is reserving the right to delete or not delete incentive reviews that were placed on the website prior to the change in policy.

Amazon bans their incentive reviews program
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]

For consumers who enjoy shopping on Amazon, this does mean the website will continue to be littered with incentive reviews for some time. This just means consumers need to be careful when using reviews and ratings to decide whether or not to purchase a product. Review Meta makes it possible for consumers to sort out incentive and non-incentive reviews based on the language within the actual reviews. Another option consumers on Amazon have is to stick to buying newer products or looking at reviews that were only placed on the website after the policy was changed.

How do you feel about the decision Amazon made to ban incentive reviews earlier this week? Do you think Amazon should delete all of the incentive reviews currently on the site? Share your thoughts on the ban Amazon placed on incentive reviews in the comments below.

[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]