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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Does this mean that is obsolete?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.

7 responses to “Amazon Bans Incentivized Reviews – Was it Because of our Video? Does ReviewMeta still work?”

  1. Eden Sama says:

    I don’t know if I should trust Review Meta, I’m a reviewer and they gave me a poor rating because I deleted some reviews in the past, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not an unbiased unhonest reviewer, the reason I deleted them was some of them was wrong of me to review a product without first testing the product to its full capacity before I review it, was a bit hasty and I’ve only deleted 4 reviews.

    I’m just dyslexic at typing and get grammar issues as well without computer help, thus deleted another for this or that reason, and another because I sent the product back and it was because I received a faulty product 1 in 1000 say and it was unfair to keep a negative review for the product that was out of their hands as its a broke hardware one. Thus why i deleted the reviews. I’m thus an honest reviewer.

    This process at Review Meta is a bot analysis program it will never be accurate as it doesn’t have the reasons why it grades what it grades behind it, it might work for some products on amazon and it work and be truthful but not all of them, and your causing some harm as a result, they should let us login on Review meta and add reasons why we do what we do when we review or edit reviews and delete them etc.. or Amazon should have its own built in system to give reviews analysis like Review Meta but more controlled with support on the reviews. reasons why you edit or delete reviews should show up in place of your review etc…

    edit-upon saying this I’ve edited this comment a few times for mistakes lol

    • Hello Eden-

      There’s a few things here. ReviewMeta is not saying you’re an untrusty reviewer just because a few of your reviews have been deleted. There’s only one of 15 or so tests for each product report that actually looks at reviewers with previously deleted reviews, and each product is analyzed independently, so this fact does not automatically make you less trustworthy on every product.

      As far as “it doesn’t have the reasons why it grades what it grades behind it” – I think you might be confused with another site. On ReviewMeta, each and every one of our product reviews reports is several pages long, going into great detail about each of the tests and the results, and for every test, there’s an associated blog post further explaining the methodology behind the test.

  2. Arshad Ahsanuddin says:

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

  3. jellzone says:

    you saved us

  4. Lisa Sullivan Gentile says:

    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.

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