Amazon TOS :: No More Reviews in Exchange for Samples

Amazon TOS :: No More Reviews in Exchange for Samples

Amazon has once again changed their TOS. If you currently write product reviews in exchange for free or discounted products, the rules have changed and we will no longer be allowed to do this on Amazon. You can certainly still publish your reviews on other outlets, but it seems like the average reviewer will be out of luck when it comes to finding products to review.

If you have huge followings on social media sites, you may still have many opportunities available and it is not too late to build up those social media accounts if you would still like to review products.

If you enjoy reviewing books, you may still receive an advance copy, but they can not ask you to write a review. The Amazon Vine program is also not going away.

I see more emphasis being placed on their new badges of Enthusiasts but who knows where that will go. Encouraging people to ask and answer questions about products is not the way to go in my opinion. How many times have you read 6 answers to one question that all tell you the exact same thing or someone who answers that “they don’t know” to every question posted!

For myself, I am going to hang back and see where this leads. My blog gets pretty good traffic at times so I may still have the opportunity to publish reviews here. I have several commitments to finish in the meantime also.

Even without reviews, my blog won’t be going away. 🙂

4 Responses »

  1. Just wow. 🙁 . I can’t say I got a lot of traffic through Amazon from my reviews, but posting these reviews on Amazon was certainly a selling point to many of my vendor/publisher/author partners and meant I had a lot of support in creating valuable content for my readers. I guess many reviewers were not following the disclosure guidelines like many of us “clean” reviewers do. Next thing you know, Goodreads is going to go the same way.

    • Hello Maureen, It is something of a shock, isn’t it? There is s lot of conflicting information going around about this so I am just going to lay low until the dust settles. There are so many reasons why Amazon had to make some changes, I just think this was a bit drastic.

      I am on Goodreads but I just use it to track the books I am reading. I read a lot! I was even just thinking of switching to doing more and more book reviews anyway. For me,reviewing is something that fills my time and makes me feel productive. I will keep doing it here on my blog and social media some but to what extent I don’t know. Going back to Goodreads, do you mean that authors use Goodreads to reach out to reviewers there? Are they mainly Indie authors?

      Lynn Marie

  2. I have to say that this makes me happy. Sorry but it does.

    I never believe reviews given in exchange for something.

    I have worked hard to get others to see the light too.

    Take for example some colored pencils that came up for
    sale at a really great price not too long ago.
    They had really high reviews

    I always check reviews starting from the the one star going
    up after four star every one of them were a paid review.

    So the bad reviews were people that bought the item, the good
    reviews were people who got it free or discounted.

    So my thought is this if I’m getting free stuff, I’m not going to
    Start leaving bad reviews or the companies won’t ask me to
    do reviews anymore.

    So your reviews are worthless to me and I wish more people
    would realize this scam that sellers are pulling on them when
    they see great reviews and don’t read to the last line.

    I think you should have to put the disclosure in the first line.

    • Hello Robin, Thank for reading my post and leaving a thoughtful reply. Unfortunately, you are addressing the major problem with the review system as it was. There were too many unscrupulous Sellers giving out way too many promotional coupons to people they did not verify were honest Reviewers. It only takes a few minutes to read someone’s Amazon profile and a few of their reviews to gain some insight into why they are writing reviews. There are also plenty of tools out there for Sellers to use to analyze a Reviewers account.

      I know there are Reviewers who think that they have to give only positive reviews or they won’t get picked for more promotions. Some Sellers are like that. To tell you the truth, I really don’t want to review things for a Seller who only chooses someone with an average 5-star review percentage. If I were a Seller, I would be looking for someone with a mid range 4 Star average or below. It is a dead giveaway that there is something wrong with your motives if you only leave 5-star reviews, on average. I’m sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings by stating that, but I feel it is true. You have to be well balanced. (And I need to write that post about being a well-balanced Reviewer and what it means!) Those people who had a habit of only giving positive reviews were some of the people targeted by Amazon’s algorithm for deciding who was wiped, and who still could be. That isn’t the only thing in their algorithm, but it is evident it is one of the data points they are looking at.

      I just read something, very briefly, that I need to go back and make sure of my facts but want to share this. I believe one of the rules for blog posts now is that a disclosure needs to be at the top of the post. Disclosures need to be on social media posts too, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc… if you are getting the product in exchange for a social media post. After I double check that article I will share more about it.

      I hope you don’t mean that my reviews personally are worthless to you but that the way reviews were done by a large percentage of individuals on Amazon don’t mean anything to you. I really am honest and have gotten a lot of negative feedback from Sellers, admins, and other Reviewers when I post a negative review they don’t feel is deserved, especially when all of the other Reviewers were positive. My product could have been a fluke, but in most cases. I don’t think so.

      I am curious about the colored pencils you were interested in. Did you end up ordering them anyway? What brand are they? If you could message me that info privately I would love to take a look at those reviews and possibly order some myself just to see what they are like. We all know that there are fake Reviewers but you have me curious about this, everyone knows I love colored pencils!

      Once again, thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment. It is always good to look at the good and the bad side of Reviewing so we can all learn from mistakes others have made, and especially learn from our own mistakes.
      Lynn Marie

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