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Amazon Bans Incentivized Reviews – Was it Because of our Video? Does ReviewMeta still work?

October 3rd, 2016

If you haven’t already heard, Amazon has banned “Incentivized Reviews”:


Was this because our video went viral a few weeks ago?

The answer is NO.  This decision likely has NOTHING to do with our video or ReviewMeta in any way.  We have never posted an incentivized review to Amazon; we have simply exposed that the data shows us what many have expected.  If you want to blame somebody for this decision, blame the tens of thousands of reviewers who posted nothing but positive reviews in exchange for products, or the sellers who abused the system by getting thousands of positive reviews on products that might not have deserved them.

The question should be: Does the timing of this announcement have anything to do with our recent viral video?

We speculate it might, for a few reasons:

  1. Our video that outed incentivized reviews went viral exactly two weeks ago to the day.  We think the reason it went viral is because it was something people were suspicious of all along, and they were satisfied that someone actually went out and proved it.
  2. In their press release, they used the term “Incentivized Reviews”.  Twice.  That was a term that we essentially coined and hadn’t been really popularized until our video went viral.

Without hard evidence, we can’t “claim” that we ended incentivized reviews on Amazon, but we like to think that we helped expedite Amazon’s decision to do so.  We will never know, but plenty of folks on Reddit are giving us credit and we’ll willing accept the praise.

Does this mean that is obsolete?

Absolutely not!  We believe this is an excellent step for Amazon since readers seemed to be getting more and more turned off by the massive amount of incentivized reviews they were reading.  However checking for incentivized reviews is only one of the twelve things we test every product for.  There’s a lot of other ways that sellers manufacture reviews aside from just getting incentivized ones.

Furthermore, we believe that because this popular loophole has been closed, sellers will just find another to exploit.  And when they do, we’ll be there to find it and call them out on it.

  • Arshad Ahsanuddin

    Note that the ban on incentivized reviews does not apply to books.

  • jellzone

    you saved us

  • Lisa Sullivan Gentile

    Now what ???

    The majority of the coupon clubs are announcing that reviewers need not leave reviews when they order their free or discounted items and subsequently no longer need to leave a disclosure!

    Now it will be harder for consumers to pick out and disregard the incentivized reviews.

    Has the new rule made things worse instead of better??

    • We’ll still be able to detect these through our 11 other tests that we run on each product. Also, doing so would be directly violating Amazon’s TOS, so sellers that do this could get banned from Amazon, not just their reviews deleted.