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  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. Really enjoyed reading this as I am new to all this and could really use some help ! Your blog looks really nice and looking forward to future articles. I am now following you on Pinterest. Thanks again, Denise

  2. That is extremely interesting. Thank you for sharing. It actually makes perfect sense. It’s thin, legally, but it’s Amazon and they make their own rules. If your blog is linked to your Facebook that could account for some issues as well even if your social settings are not linked to your Amazon account. It’s a brilliant madness this Amazon stuff….

  3. Ok, I am pretty sure I follow what the discussion is…but sometimes, just to mention for newbies, the seller will ask you thru, for example a tomoson promo and it is part of the agreement to share and to link to the product URL, and I do all of that if a seller or group is requesting it be done…BUT I NEVER LINK TO MY REVIEW, the actual review, I ONLY LINK to the product URL itself!! For you new to review peeps this is what should be done and question, for seasoned reviewers are we in danger buy linking to a product URL, also some sellers offer compensation for blogging, I am correct in thinking this is legal and safe bc it is our website and they are hoping to generate traffic? IDK I just never wanna be on the short end of the info stick when it comes to Amazon bc it seems weekly I read warnings to reviewers and with all the group drama it is very hard to know if you are making a mistake.
    Lynn Thank You very much for this article and I hope we can all bring some light to keeping everyone safe and happy Sellers, Reviewers, Bloggers, and of course Amazon πŸ™‚

    • From what I understand, you are doing it correctly. The problem occurs when people are affiliates with Amazon, meaning when someone follows their link back to the product and buys it, the Reviewer is compensated monetarily. There is no problem linking back to the product if you are not an affiliate, in fact that is encouraged.

      You can absolutely review products on your blog for money, but not if you are also reviewing the item on Amazon. Amazon is very strict about that and you could lose your account. If you are just posting it in your blog and through social media, go for it!!! That means you are doing a great job when sellers come to you and offer you products or money to review something for them. However, you must be sure to include a disclosure on the actual review that you were compensated.

      For anyone new, linking back to your actual review will give people access to your Amazon Member Profile. Normally that would not be a bad thing, but there have been a lot of cases recently where people have been Downvoting other people’s reviews. Participating in any kind of Downvoting or UpVoting campaign is against Amazon’s Terms Of Service, or TOS. You can lose your account and all your reviews will be wiped if that happens.

      It is great that we can share what we know and help each other out. I have learned so much since starting and I appreciate all the input I have gotten. I have been talking to another blogger who has written a fantastic article on the things that will get you kicked off of Amazon faster than you can say a peep. She is going to be sharing that with us, hopefully this week.

      Thanks for commenting Lisa, I am sure we will be talking more soon. πŸ™‚ Lynn Marie

  4. Pingback: 5 New Sources for Great Discounted and Free Items for Product Reviews – A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

    • Hi Lisa, I am finding better sites and groups to be a part of, leaving behind any site that is hard to navigate or doesn’t have a very good selection of products. I would actually like to do some reviews of each review site, lol. What is your favorite website or email group, not including FB groups?

  5. I hear mixed advice about whether we should review full price purchases once we start ART-style product reviews. Some have warned that it could lead to an account wipe. Others encourage reviewing everything. Any advice please?

    • Thanks for leaving another great question JD. I do have lots of advice on that, in fact, I would love to write up another article about what we should review and why so that the answer is easily accessible to everyone. I should have that done later this week or early next week, but I will let you know when it is.

      Thanks, Lynn Marie

  6. Oh, also about the disclaimers, what do I need to include in my disclaimer when I get an item at a discount for reviewing? Or for free? And do I need a disclaimer if I’m reviewing something I bought for full-price or received as a gift?

  7. What the product you are reviewing is
    What you liked about the product
    What you did not like about the product, sometimes referred to as the 3 W’s. I am going to go with the number 46 πŸ™‚

    Thank You very Much Lynn and Ani of course!!

    Love waht you ladies do for the reviewer community <3

    • Hi Lisa, I have really enjoyed your commentary and willingness to share every since I started this blog. Ani is great isn’t she! I will be sure to let her know what you said. Thanks for your answer and participating. Lynn Marie

  8. I currently ranked under 275 on amazon. Ive always used the following disclaimers to appease Amazons guidelines. “I received this product at a full promotional discount for my unbias and honest review in return.”

    If its a discounted item then I use “I received this product at a promotional discount for my unbias and honest review in return.”

    I dont use the word “free” because it creates negativity for the seller. What I mean by this is that if a full priced customer sees the word free, then they expect if they write the seller that they should get it free. Full promotional discount states that the seller only had a limited amount to provide for reviews.

    I tend not to use a really long disclaimer because it can be seen as fluff and duff. Amazon doesnt want your disclaimer to be hidden in the review and by putting a mile long disclaimer they could interpret it as hiding. I like mine to be short and to the point.

    I have seen some talk about how your account will get wiped even if you ahve disclaimers-that is simply not true. I have seen multiple accounts that dont use disclaimers and are still reviewing today. Alot of times what contributes to the wipes are if you upvote/downvote, have more than one person reviewing on an IP address, forgetting disclaimers (they do catch it sometimes), having more than one reviewer on an acct, etc. Sellers will sometimes have an upvoting campaign on your reviews which can lead to you getting wiped.

    Whats going to end up happening in the end is that Amazon is going to get rid of everyone that is NOT a VINE reviewer. Amazon will only let you review if you paid full price or a VINE reviewer-thats how they will end up being in control. The past few months have created an plethora of reviewers that really have no idea whats going on. Alot of them are in it to get free stuff which is a shame. Ive been doing this since 2007 on and off. I honestly think this might be my last year of doing it because of all the drama.

    • Hi, Thanks for coming by, I have enjoyed reading your comments. I like how you think. Wording can be so important and that is why I use opinion instead of review and return instead of in exchange. Did you notice that screenshot I had in the middle of the article from Amazon? I just went and enlarged the image for everyone because it was difficult to read. They have given us very specific ones they want us to use in that email. However, they have not published that specific information in their TOS.

      They can’t really hold us liable for not using those if it isn’t published on their site for everyone to see in the Review Creation Guidelines, or so we would like to think. We waived our rights to argue points like this by posting a review in the first place according to them. They can and do whatever they want. So we are caught in the middle. Do we comply with what we have read in unofficial channels or do we try to get around what they must surely use as keywords in their data gathering?

      You have a very good list of things that can get your account wiped. Sometimes you may not realize you have even done them or known that it was a violation. That is why I appreciate everyone pitching in and sharing what they have learned. Ani has a very good article too on what will get your account wiped, I should have her do a guest post.

      Amazon started letting customers write reviews because they wanted product recommendations, and in turn, they have a massive amount of data. Since there are so many reviewers now taking advantage of the system, and we can all see a great many of them who have no idea what they are doing or here for cheap and free products, one of the only options they have left is to use this data to get rid of accounts. We have only seen the beginning. Keywords, voting, rankings, word count, number of reviews, range of star counts given, number of each star count, number of purchases, number of discounted or free purchases, seller data in combination with ours, the list is endless.

      Are good reviewers going to get caught up in these nets, absolutely. The only thing we can do is share the information we have and make sure that we are each personally doing everything we can to follow the TOS, as vague as they purposely are.

      I think you may have meant in your one sentence to say that some people say that you won’t get your account wiped if your disclaimer is correct. If so, you are right. Having the correct disclaimer doesn’t protect you 100%. At this point, no one knows what protects you 100% or we would all be doing it. Again, it seems that Amazon is purposely vague so that they can take this time to clean out the ranks and reorganize.

      To enter the contest, what do you think is the number one thing a reviewer needs to do? Also choose a number between 1 and 100 in case there is a tie. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by, I enjoyed reading what you had to say and appreciate it. Lynn Marie

    • Hi Bobby, Make sure to leave a number between 1 and 100 with your answer to be eligible for the contest. That is in case we have a tie. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this article. I really appreciate it. Thanks, Lynn Marie

  9. The number one thing you should be doing as a review writer is actually and honestly be reviewing the item. Regardless of what admins, group moderators, sellers etc WANT. If the product is CRAP, you need to report it as such (period). While you can contact the seller to make good on their product, I ALWAYS, write my review as I received the product. I don’t care if this bans me from groups – it’s my integrity on the line – Yes, I contact the seller or the group admin – BUT – THIS is the opportunity for the seller to IMPROVE their PRODUCT. If I don’t report my initial findings, I am NOT reviewing UNBIASEDLY and HONESTLY, and therefore I am breaking Amazon’s TOS. Now, there ARE exceptions. If product packaging is damaged, there is a good chance the product could be damaged and defective. I trust my gut, if it walks like a duck, 99.9% of the time, it’s a duck. So if it looks and feels like crap, I don’t care how many replacements they send, it will still be crap.

    On the items I’ve given 1, 2 or 3 stars to; the sellers have THANKED me. They have modified their descriptions, they have made changes to their warnings, and so on. I then UPDATE my reviews after I verify and screenshot the updates to show in photo proof. This gives me reviewer credit and integrity.

    I do this because I actually BUY based on reviews, and when I read reviews I get very very ticked off reading the reviews KNOWING that groups DEMAND 4 or 5 stars – and I myself have actually been told before NOT to leave the review on an item because I couldn’t leave at least 4 stars. (Note to the group – guess what I did, yup – reviewed the item anyway). AND Reported the Group to Amazon. I will NOT risk my reviewer account for anyone.

    I am honest, I am unbiased, but most of all I AM a business owner, a mother and a grandmother. I buy products for my grandbabies and when I read reviews that are all 5* and get an item where the item breaks and becomes a choking hazard in 2 days, you better believe I am going to be PISSED.

    Number 57

    On another note: I chatted with an amazon rep about a week ago who informed me that algorithms are being updated and reviewers should go back and update any PERSONAL purchase reviews to also have a disclaimer. It should read something like this:

    DISCLAIMER: This was a PERSONAL PURCHASE. I did NOT receive a discount for the purchase of this product, I was NOT asked OR obligated TO LEAVE A REVIEW ON THIS PRODUCT, I AM IN NO WAY CONNECTED TO THIS SELLER AND HAVE LEFT THIS REVIEW OF MY OWN FREE WILL.

    The disclaimers I use are below:

    Free Purchases:

    As a mother, grandmother and business owner, I know and understand the true value of an honest review, I, myself, depend on reviews when making purchases and my business only exists thanks to testimonies and reviews from clients. I personally guarantee a fully unbiased review of this product.

    DISCLAIMER: I received this item at a full promotional discount in return for my honest and unbiased review, I am in no way connected or related to the seller.

    Discounted Purchases:

    As a mother, grandmother and business owner, I know and understand the true value of an honest review, I, myself, depend on reviews when making purchases and my business only exists thanks to testimonies and reviews from clients. I personally guarantee a fully unbiased review of this product.

    DISCLAIMER: I received this item at a DISCOUNT in return for my honest and unbiased review, I am in no way connected or related to the seller.

    • Hi Karen, Thanks for stopping by and sharing all of the information you have, it is so useful to read comments from other reviewers to see what they think and do. Love your disclaimers! I would like to talk to you about the personal purchases and the conversation you had with Amazon about them. I have left disclaimers for my full price purchases but have never heard it come down from Amazon like that before. Thanks, Lynn Marie

  10. This post ROCKS!! Even as a newbie to reviewing, I see so much of what you said in the post and what has been said in the comments that needs to be part of Reviewing 101 I wish I had a laptop to write my reviews, but I’ve been dictating them into Notes in my iPhone, and I have versions of my disclaimer at the bottom for C&P. So happy to see that my instincts of what to do have been tight on the money

    Oh, and my number is 28!

    • Hi Joanne, I am so glad you liked the article! I hope you can find other things on this blog that help you. I have a nice article on how to write a well-written review and a listing of sites to find products on. I am continually updating that page especially, finding better sites, taking off sites that I thought were great but just don’t make the cut once I learn more.

      I am happy to help anytime with questions you might have. Just leave a comment anywhere on the blog and I will follow up. This article came from a request from a blog subscriber yesterday and a post I saw on one of my favorite FB pages. I thought it was about time I wrote about it, lol.

      I have an upcoming article about pitching, maybe you could pitch for a laptop. I have seen people get some really nice things. I have had more success at it than I thought so hopefully what I share will help other people too.

      You are so right about the comments being left, they are helpful! The more we share, the more we learn. I have several things to follow up on and more articles to write. Let me know what you think is the most important thing a reviewer needs to do to go along with your number for the contest entry. Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you back again soon.

      • Oops I forgot to mention the important things for reviewers to do You must actually use, test, try out the product. Put it thru the paces, make sure to use it the expected way, plus any commonly accepted alternates uses you are able to do. For example, I am reviewing some silicone drink coasters. Quite by accident, I figured out that they also work great as trivets under hot items. I’m definitely including that in my review!

  11. For me, the #1 most important thing to do, other than adhering to Amazon’s TOS and FTC’s regulations is to be honest. Really honest. Actually spend some time testing/evaluating and getting to know the product.
    I could go on all day about not using your account for promo-purchases only and not posting reviews the same day / or before the item shows up, or not looking stupid by using poor spelling, grammar, etc. – but the MOST important thing to do is to get to know the product.
    Otherwise, how can you honestly leave a truthful and useful review?
    My number is 7.

  12. Pingback: Giveaway at A Treasure Chest of Serendipity – Reviews By Jody

  13. I have amazon prime but I’m not very comfortable with the process and I see all this about the disclaimers. I’d like to participate more but I’m just barely having a toe in at this point. Thanks. 66

    • Hi Aaron, There is a lot to know, I didn’t realize at first how much I needed to know! Do you have an answer to the contest question about what is the number one thing a reviewer needs to be sure they are doing? The number is in case there is a tie.

      When you start, read everything you can and if you have questions, don’t be shy about speaking up. I am always open for questions here. If you belong to any FB groups or anything like that, there are often very helpful people there. FB groups aren’t my favorite place to find products because of all the drama though. Thanks for stopping by!

  14. I would agree actually testing the products is very important. But I feel communication with Seller ranks up there too.
    I get about 10-15 emails from my sellers a day.
    I’ll be honest if you want a review on a face serum in 5 days. .you won’t get it.
    I always respond to them and say I’d like 10 days of use on this before I give you an honest review. I need to do several tests to do that.
    I’ve yet to have anyone argue that.
    So I guess that’s one in the same.
    I just started to use the ftc info but I have always stated I received this product for free or I purchased this product at a discounted rate to provided you with a fair non biased honest review. I have been am Amazon customer for x years. I am not affiliated with this company or any others that I have reviewed their products.
    And I rarely throw a 5 star. 4s yes.
    This is great info and I’m learning every day.
    my number will be 21 after my sons birthday:)

    • Hi Dana, I like what you had to say about needing time to try out a product. I don’t do supplements and don’t get involved in serums for wrinkles or things like that. I did do a few face serums at first but you are right, there isn’t time. Wrinkles are not going to disappear in a few weeks. If I think it is an item that won’t hold up, I do mention that I will come and update the review in a month. I have also gone and changed ratings on products that I loved at first but suddenly stopped working. We always have the right to edit our reviews!

        • I think supplements and other products similar to that, anything in pill form, can be something very dangerous to actually get involved in. I was doing a kidney cleanse for a review and tried to find out as much as I could beforehand. I ended up in the doctors office and the ER, I developed a kidney infection. Not just a run of the mill UTI, but a full blown kidney infection. I had to take antibiotics for a month or more. Even supplements manufactured here in the US have problems. You really need to be aware of what you are getting yourself into.

  15. The number one thing you should be doing as a reviewer is actually receiving the product and testing it so you can honestly do a review.

    My number is 15

  16. This is a such a helpful discussion! I, too, am hoping that disclaimers on items that I paid full price on (or used a promo code that was available to the general public without the requirement of a review) will not be needed. It just seems silly.

    I am familiar with the FTC statute that requires us to disclose, and I’m surprised that Amazon’s recommended disclosure language is not stronger. The way it reads at present, a shopper can read the disclosure and have no idea who funded the review — Amazon or the seller. That’s a significant ambiguity.

    My number is 72. Yes, if I win, I will probably buy review items…

  17. Hello Lynn Marie,
    Thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading what you have to say. It is good to hear what others are doing and saying out there.
    My disclaimer: I received this *name of product* at a discount or for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. We check out and test the products for ourselves before reviewing them for you.
    I actually had a seller contact me upset because I said “discount or for free”. He wanted me to say specifically we received it for free. ???
    I saw above that several have started indicating that they are not related to or associated with the seller. That is not a bad idea. I have been concerned about the house-cleaning that Amazon seems to be doing right now. As in any large-scale cleaning, you always worry about sweeping the baby out with the trash. I have seen some people who I know work hard to follow the rules getting swept up in this and don’t really understand why. One of them is the reason I follow your blog. She wanted everyone in her group to make sure we knew and understood the rules.

    • Hi Karen, It sounds like you have a good admin who cares about being in compliance! I too had a good friend who just lost her account. She has a really positive attitude about it, even though she had been doing it for years. Did you have an answer for our contest about the #1 thing a reviewer should make sure they are doing? If so, be sure to include a number with it in case there is a tie. Thanks!

  18. I read the article and found it interesting the number of ways you can say the same thing. I typically go with the standard language but I did use this one for one particular product (because it’s true)

    I was offered a discount in exchange for promising to leave my honest review, so I jumped on it. In my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to pay more than necessary.

    My # guess is: 3

    • Hi Chip, Sounds like you liked that product! What is your answer for the question about what is the #1 thing a reviewer needs to make sure they are doing? You need to include that with you number. Thanks!

    • Thank you Fran, I am glad you found it helpful! Don’t forget to stop back by on Sunday evening or early next week to find out more about my Valentines gift to all of my friends and followers. I have three great giveaways and links to some great downloadables that will be perfect with them.
      Thanks,
      Lynn Marie

  19. This was a very informative group of small articles. I couldn’t be more pleased with everyone’s input Thank you so very much!!

    • Hello Donna, I am very lucky to have found some very knowledgeable and kind women who are very sharing. For anyone new to reviewing, these are things that you should know so I am just trying to put what I have learned together into one place so that anyone else can use what I have learned. I am so glad you stopped by. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow afternoon for the start of my Giveaway/Contest along with some special links I am sharing. Something that will take your mind off the stressful things in life and allow you to simply relax!

  20. I have always loved coloring. Its so much fun and relaxing! You can get a good variety of items to color for very little money.

    • Isn’t that the truth! With coloring you can stay as simple and inexpensive as you would like, maybe start building a great set of tools, or the sky is the limit.

      I like to concentrate on spending my money on my different sets I use to color with. I like to buy books too, but ones that are really special and I like the artist. Coloring book artists are one of the few groups of people I have found who just truly seem to love sharing their work! So many of them publish free ebooks for a limited time so you can see if you like the book before purchasing it. They offer certain pages as free downloads and encourage their fans to send in samples of their finished projects to share with other fans.

      Until you find those favorite atrists, there are countless free pages and collections to try. I hope you find some nice things for yourself in the page that I have put together. It has shown enough interest that I think I will maintain it but share the free ebooks on my fb page for my blog, it is much easier to post them there as soon as I find them. I hope that you will follow that also,https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-Marie-White-A-Treasure-Chest-of-Serendipity-523666944478135/

    • Hi Valentina, it is really great. I hope you check out all of the free resources I have shared. There are literally pages and books available for any interest you might have. There are so many great options to use too, gel pens, colored pencils, crayons, combinations of them all! Then you get into different types of the same medium, like with gel pens you can have metallics, glitter, neon, swirls! That is why I wanted to share about the CulaLuva set. There are 58 different colors and 2 black. Talk about options!!!

      But if you need me to help narrow it down for you and let me know what kinds of things interest you, I can make some suggestions on what sets or books you would want to try to color first. For example, do you like gardening, nature, abstract art, patterns, animals, etc….

    • It is nice to have something so easy to do isn’t it? You can just let yourself be with no outside pressure to be anything else but yourself. I am glad you stopped by, I hope you enjoy all of the free coloring resources I have shared!

    • I remember back in the 80s there were gel pens to write with, these are even more fun. I love how the colors are so rich and full. The set by CulaLuva even has six in it caled swirls, it makes the image look like I used watercolors on it!

    • Thanks for stopping by Jacqulyn, it is a great way to stay sharp isn’t it? I liked the unintentional pun, or intentional, about staying sharp! As in not only our minds but keeping our colored penciils sharp too, lol. Or maybe I just need some coffee, either way it brought a smile to my face! Hope you have a great week!

  21. Now that I’m a grown-up, I don’t get judged for coloring outside the lines and I can make the dog blue and the sky purple if I want to. It’s very freeing πŸ™‚

  22. Thank-you for a wonderful post. I loved coloring as a child. Just recently purchased an adult coloring book. I have always loved gel pens. I am a back to school supplies lover kind of gal. Crating is my passion and using gel pens is just a part of my everyday.

    • Ah Hello Heather! I love all the school supplies too, I always had more fun than my children getting all of it together, writing their names on it all etc… I am so glad to meet other people who enjoy crafting. I got out of it for a long time but am going back more and more. I have some wonderful boards on Pinterest for crafts. If you are on Pinterest yourself I even have an extremely active group board for crafters. Even though I am not there much myself all of my group boards are doing so well and just run themselves for the most part. I have been very lucky in getting the right kind of people involved in them.

  23. I love coloring, especially when it’s something that lets me mind wander and assign colors as I see fit πŸ˜‰ My fave coloring book so far is Kaleidoscope; busy designs for my busy mind! My mind feels so much clearer after I color in that one ☺️

  24. Lynn,

    Let me tell you first hand, I don’t even bother contacting ART, I figure it’s pointless, they are in it for the money…. They are going to continue to accept anything that is going to pay them.

    What I do is simply flag the seller, I click that little button that says there is a problem, and state what my problem is – Seller wants me to add an item to a wishlist and then I cite word for word the email I received from Herbie at Amazon.

    I’ve also emailed the Sellers – prior to flagging the invitation – and letting them know what they are doing wrong and that I’m willing IF they modify their requirements. So far 5 have modified, saying they had no idea and that if ART had told them, they never would have ask me to Search and Buy, Wishlist, Ask a question or click the “gift this item” (why in the world am I gifting the item to myself if I’m going to review it???) I can’t see that not being a violation, but haven’t bothered to follow up on that particular one yet, it still simply makes no sense.

    Funny thing is, I ended up apply for another of the sellers promotions about a week later, and got literally a carbon copy of his first email – discount was different. I emailed him yet again, and told him – if he didn’t update all his promotions and I applied for another one, I would be reporting him to Amazon next time, because as a reviewer that is my responsibility according to my reviewer TOS.

    I’ll continue with ART, I’ll just be smart about it. I have no problem pulling out of promotions. I flag them, say I no longer want them, tell them the seller changed the price (that happens A LOT), shipping charges magically appear, or they are violating TOS in some fashion and I simply will not do it.

    That’s just me…

    One of these days, I swear I’m going to get my blog up and running… I’ve been so out of it…

    • Hello, My Friend! I always think it is a great idea to contact the seller first, and send him the link to the Seller TOS, or even better yet my blog now that I have that article done, lol. I think AMZ RT does need to educate the sellers and that was one of the questions I put to them myself this month. The Seller TOS is difficult to understand too. I also wonder if they have copies available in different languages for the sellers to read because so many of them seem to know English as a second language. Lord knows we have all got involved in this without being prepared, but AMZ RT should be prepared.

      I also asked them several questions about their parent company and what they are teaching in AMZ Review Tracker courses, which seems to me to violate TOS. I hope they have some lawyers on that to make sure what they are doing is illegal. If they get shut down, I am sure Trader will be the next to be investigated and I don’t want to be mixed up in that as a reviewer.

      Actually, asking questions or saying that something is being gifted are all more metrics and according to the email that you shared, I would consider it a violation. Herbie did say ANY OTHER SELLER REQUESTS. What the heck is Herbie’s last name and how come no one at Amazon has one? LOL

      You are great at being proactive. If you aren’t comfortable pull out of the promotion. Nothing should change.

      Blogs are fun, I wish I had more time to spend on mine. In the meantime, anytime you have the urge to write you are more than welcome to do a guest post πŸ™‚ I love your style and you are right, we do think so much alike.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Lynn Marie

  25. Is there anything better than an activity that makes you feel like a kid again without the mess of most of those kid again activities? I don’t think so. See also: all of the pretty colors!

  26. I love that with coloring I can be creative without having to concentrate too hard on what I’m doing. I can color and let my mind wander and just relax. I have only used colored pencils so far, I’d love to try gel pens πŸ™‚

  27. I love all the beautiful colors…a dozen of us could color the very same picture different and each one still be beautiful.

  28. Colouring is cheaper than therapy! I have a chronic pain condition that has been gradually getting worse over the past 2 years and now I’m at the point where I spend most of my time in bed. Colouring help me get through my day!!!

  29. OMG!! I am so excited I feel this contest is screaming my name. I wish I would of seen it sooner. I literally color my adult Zen/stress coloring pages at work all day. I work at all call center talking on the phone to customers all day, I literally color at least one zenpage a day as I work 11 hour shifts 6vdays a week. It keeps me focused on my job!! I didn’t see anywhere howi submit the pictures after coloring them to enter?

  30. Just getting started so I am trying to find out what I like to use the best. And to build up a collection of intersting things to coloe.

  31. First things first: it’s a disclosure. Not a disclaimer.

    2nd thing, at no point do you need to use the word honest. All amazon says is that your disclosure must be clear and conspicuous.

    3rd and final thing: Amazon is deleting reviewers from coupon clubs, almost all of whom say ‘honest review’ or something like that.

    • Hi Jerri, Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment on it, I appreciate it!

      I think the term that reviewers commonly use, disclaimer, comes from the use of that term in in the Customer Review Creation Guidelines. I do see your point, that we are writing a disclosure. I am just folowing the common use in this case. I think it would be appropriate to add the term as a reference point in this article. Thank you for bringing up an interesting point.

      Honesty or a reference to integrity is mentioned several times as something a customer reviewer should be. But it is not clearly outlined in the TOS, not much is. It does say it has to be conspicuous, that is the one statement we have. For a long time we have seen examples of recommended statements that seem to come and go on Amazon, but once I saw this email from them with the word honest used in both examples that has been what I recommend. I can see where some clarification in that paragrsph may be needed, but the email is enough clarification for me until the time when Amazon does make some clear and definite rules in their TOS.

      Amazon has been deleting a lot of accounts, including not only ‘club’ members but Vine members and people who have no relationship to groups or clubs. It is apparent that there are too many people doing this for the wrong reason and should not be allowed to write reviews. There have also been cases of people who are doing the very best they can to give honest and unbiased reviews. But since the TOS are purposely vague, no one really knows why some of these people are losing their accounts, especially when there are so many flagrant individuals who’s abuse of the system has caused this mess, but are continuing to review.

      There are many people who have not used the term ‘honest review’ and been wiped so that is not the only data point they are using. I don’t see how additional wordsmithing will save an account, though I have considered it. Since no one really knows, I will just go on usingbthe terms that they have provided.

      If my account is wiped, at least I will know I followed the TOS to the best of my knowledge. More importantly I will know that I am honest and have rated the products fairly and without bias.

      It would be great if we had more defined parameters and I hope they will be included in the future of Amazon Customer Reviews.

      Thanks for your comments, especially disclaimer vs disclosure.

      I hope you stop back by, I find input to be beneficial and can often offer unexpected but valid points.

  32. Working in a stressful place like a hospital, I love to incorporate coloring as my “me” time. Gives me a time to look back and relax. Creating something beautiful that takes my mind of the high level stress!

    • Thanks for the feedback Melissa! I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested, but if I have even one person interested that is enough for me πŸ™‚

      Do you think you would be interested in reading actual posts written by people overcoming challenges or just inspirational quotes with pictures, maybe a short paragraph to go along with it?

      You have woken up my creative side with all kinds of directions I could take this in, thank you!

  33. I’m just getting started. I’ve bought all kinds of pencils, gel pens, markers and sharpies. Also a few books. Now sit down and start coloring. I used to color the fuzzy posters. Still have a lot of them to color too.

  34. I love to coloring because it helps me de-stress!! I am a model, pageant girl, and an online college student so life can get busy and stressful but coloring helps lot!!

  35. I love to color because it really helps to ease my mind from stress and helps keep me relaxed so my Fibro pain dos not flair too bad

  36. Love love love your site, I just discovered this morning. SOOOO much good info. I love gel pens for rich colors and coloring for relaxation. Thanks!

  37. I’ve been drawing patterns like these for years, even when I was a kid lol, I got laughed at so much. I still color in disney coloring books haha… But I actually draw disney and other characters and such now.

    • Thanks Maria, I am always updating it, trying to give a little bit of info on each site. I also delete any when I find that they don’t follow Amazon TOS or any kind of other major complaint. Let me know if you have any personal experience with these, thanks!

  38. Pingback: Hope, Strength, and Gratitude – A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

  39. I had a pretty bad experience also. They wrote great and I did a shining review as I used them and colored a few images and loves that I was able to do intricate images but when I tried to use them again they did not work. They acted as if they were out of ink. I tried every trick in the book to get them work and only got some to work. I contacted the seller to be told I already did my review so a replacement wasn’t necessary.

    I edited my review as well as both of my blog posts immediately to reflect my experience.

    Jody

    • Hi Jody,
      The seller assured me no one else has ever had a problem! When I finally went out on Amazon and read all of the reviews there were so many people having the same problem that I had. I am just glad you didn’t get ink everywhere when you tried to get yours to work.
      I wonder why Sellers think we can’t change our reviews? I have that in my Review Terms that I reserve the right to change my review and/or rating if something happens that changes my mind about the product. This can go either way, but most of the time it is not their way. I was really hoping this wasn’t happening to anyone else because I really did like the gel pens the first few times I used them. I was just getting ready to write my review in fact when my DIL came over here and we discovered the problem, apparently caused by them sitting too long.
      Hugs,
      Lynn Marie

    • Hi Rose,
      I am so glad you liked the review! I love this little thing, it is great for hot and cold. I have missed my ice so much and now I can have my ice and crunch on it too πŸ™‚
      Lynn Marie

    • I find it hard to get organized, but once I do, I never regret it. Having a system seems to make everything easier; whether it is how you write your blog or reviews or how you keep track of monthly expenses.
      I am like you though when it comes to unsolicited advice, ask any of my friends, lol. I just want people to know sometimes that there are easier ways of doing things.
      Thanks for commenting Rose!

  40. Thank you for the clarifications! One thing I don’t understand is why Amazon lets anyone write a review of a product they have not purchased at Amazon. If a seller wants to gift a product to a reviewer they can always give them a discount code. That is my preferred way to get products that I review. As a review reader, I want to know that the reviewer actually received the product through Amazon – I am so tired of the “fake” reviews skewing results – anyone who has bought anything over $5 can review anything they want? Still doesn’t seem this rule is tight enough to make the reviews credible and legitimate. Just sayin’.

    • Hi, Thanks for commenting!

      You brought up a very good point that I had not even thought about. You have been able in the past to review any product. My mind is always on the type of reviewers like we are that regularly receive items in exchange for our honest review. With the Verified Purchase tag, at least you can see if the person purchased the item on Amazon for at least approximately 50% of the listed purchase price. The 50% cutoff mark though is just an educated guess by some people on what seems to be making the cut, Amazon has not released any information on what actually constitutes a Verified Purchase. You can actually sort by Verified Purchase now when you read reviews for a product which some people may find helpful.

      I agree with you, the “fake” reviews are skewing results. Not only the fact that you can write a review on anything but the reviewers who are in this for the wrong reasons. Some write extremely short reviews that have no real benefit. Other people write great reviews, but their information isn’t accurate. I recently wrote a review on a product and when I read the other reviews you could tell they had not used it. They described something the product doesn’t even do. This was not just one or two reviewers who got it wrong, it was a lot of people on an expensive product. You also have the people who just copy and paste the information from the product description or even copy and paste in a review someone else wrote.

      There are a lot of different types of reviewers who have really compromised the system. Seller actions have also compromised it. One of my next articles goes more into some behind the scene problems that are really affecting reviewer accounts right now, even the honest reviewers.

      At least we know that Amazon is working on the issue now. How successful their solution will be, remains to be seen. I do know there is a group at Amazon working on it. A top executive inadvertently referred to it in an email and I know several reviewers who have been contacted by Amazon for some basic input.

      Consumers have to do their due diligence when reading reviews. Ignore the obviously fake reviews. If it is an expensive product or something you really care about making sure you purchase the best choice and you think the review is accurate, look at the reviewer’s profile to see the quality of their reviews overall. Do they give 5’s to almost every product? Is there an obvious pattern to their reviews like having basicially the same text, or even the exact text, on every review they have ever written for a certain type of product. Do they have a well rounded account? I have something planned about well rounded accounts next week so people can understand what I mean by that term. LOL, at some point I have to cut myself off for each article (or even response) because on some subjects I could go on forever πŸ™‚

      I really appreciate you resonding to the post since you brought up a type of reviewer that I had not even considered in a very long time. I really appreciate it. I should make sure to include that type in my article about behind the scene problems. What do you think prompts people to write reviews on products they didn’t order on Amazon? I know I have done it for a few products because I needed to write a post for another company and if there was something about the product I really felt strongly about, I thought that people looking on Amazon for that product would benefit from reading it. I know that some people write reviews on products they didn’t buy on Amazon just to get their Amazon profile started and be able to get into any of the review groups or websites. Now I am wondering just how many reviews are written for products not bought on Amazon. I have a whole new post forming in my mind now! You have really got my brain thinking here, thanks!!!! You may be wishing by now that you didn’t comment, lol, since this has turned into a whole post within a post. πŸ™‚ Your comment is so appropriate though and is greatly appreciated.

      Have a great day!
      Lynn Marie

    • Hi Rose,

      Thank you! It is always good to know that someone even read an article that I wrote. I know I can go through the server logs and see how many hits there were on a page and how long the people stayed on that page, but part of me isn’t ready to go there yet. As a blogger yourself, I am sure some of the same thoughts have occurred to you, especially when you just started. I write about several different things on my blog now so I am not even always sure how many of my subscribers are reading which content.

      One of my issues as a writer is knowing how long of an article is appropriate. I feel really passionate about some of these things so I can get carried away and write longer articles than people really want to read. There are also so many topics and outlines that I have and not enough time, or energy (spoons!) in the day.

      I appreciate you reading my blog, do you ever write reviews for products? All of your articles I have read so far on your blog are about disAbilities, which is what I really want to write about but still have so much trouble ‘coming out of the closet’ about concerning my own life challenges when it comes to my health. Everytime I go back to your blog and read a new post, so many thoughts and emotions come to mind. You do a fantastic job and are greatly appreciated.

      Take care and I will be in contact soon, hopefully sooner than later! Last week was a really rough week and there were no spoons to be found in this house!!!! Not even cheap disposable ones much less the strong titanium ones I need πŸ™‚

      Hugs,
      Lynn Marie

      • You are welcome. It is difficult for me to see a lack of response. I wonder, “Why?” There is a great deal of time spent in the creation of a post. I try to keep my post no longer than 1,000 words and with short paragraphs. However, I do not see any correlation. The hardest for me is the lack of “likes” and when people choose to “unfollow.” Keep it up. You are serving a purpose.

        • I think more people read our posts than we think, and most posts will be relevant in the future too. I never look at my unfollowers. I do monitor my number of followers but I would be crushed if someone that I really liked or admired unfollowed me. I rarely unfollow anyone’s blog because I know it could hurt them too. Unless someone has gone off the deep end and their blog has turned into a nightmare, I just follow along and try and read the posts when I can. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Thank you Rose, it is always comforting in a way to know you are not alone in your struggles Of course you don’t want anyone else to feel this way, but the knowledge that you are not alone is liberating.

  41. Hi Lynn long time no chatting, I am GLAD that you are doing Well and I have been reading all your latest post and enjoying reading your articles as always <3!! We should connect on facebook and catchup soon πŸ™‚ I miss chatting with your Lynn. I will try to catch up with you there soon ok Dear. Sending you HUGs & Good Vibes also as always, talk with you soon.

    • Hi Lisa!
      So good to hear from you. I really appreciate the message. I haven’t been feeling well, it has been a very rough summer. When I am able to be online it is to try and get a review done or post an article. There are always so many half-written articles, so many ideas and not enough energy at times. I am sure you know what I mean.
      I have not been able to be on FB much at all. I really miss chatting with all of my friends. How has your summer been? Hope to catch up soon!!!
      Hugs,
      Lynn Marie

      • I can relate I have not been on facebook that much either, this Summer has been challenging is my best word for it. Very Happy to reconnect πŸ™‚ I hope you will feel better soon sending Hugs & Prayers.

        • Sorry for the late reply, I am just getting back online after another two weeks of doctor prescribed time off. I go back on Tuesday to find out his verdict but I couldn’t stand it any longer, being out of touch and behind on my responsibilities. I know you understand because you deal with the same types of issues. πŸ™

    • Hi Rose,
      Thanks for reading my review. That headlamp is really great, but it is SO VERY bright! I have actually found it to be helpful to read papers and to color when the room is darker. It is so much easier for me to read with a bright light.
      Lynn Marie

    • Thank you, Rose! It has been really hard these last few weeks. I have a lot of catching up to do also with reading everyone else’s latest blog posts.

      It isn’t really a new role being a grandfamily, it is just something I have never talked about publicly before. Some people know that our youngest son is adopted but only a few people outside of the family know the circumstances of it. We are actually coming up on our 3 year anniversary of his official adoption, late in November.

      Chat more soon!
      Lynn Marie

  42. I came across this post while reading about the latest change. I wasn’t even aware that Amazon had changed the terms to $5 a month ago. I was never notified and as you said it was all done secretly.

    As to everything else…I am one of those whose account was wiped two weeks ago. I had gotten to 595 before ranking paused so long. There was a reason though. I spent hours composing my reviews. I never just copied the description. I tried each and every item to its fullest capacity and then often did video posts which cannot be biased when you see the item in person. I loved doing it. It was one of my joys as a very detail oriented oldest child. I was very careful to disclose and had thought I was very familiar with the terms backward and foreword. Although I have spent many hundreds of dollars at Amazon on a credit card– so that was not an issue.
    I am at a loss for why my account was wiped. I have sent in an appeal to their appeals dept but not heard anything back– don’t really expect to. I am mourning the loss of all my reviews the most. Hours and hours of work down the drain. And there have been several times recently I wanted to reference my detailed review on a product I don’t use often. Too bad. If only I could go back, I’d copy them to a word document first.

    • Hello Margaret,

      First of all, let me say that I am sorry that your account was wiped! I have had several friends who have lost their accounts lately and I know they were honest reviewers. That is a VERY HIGH ranking you had and it does sound like you were doing everything right. I have heard of a very few people getting their accounts reinstated, but not very many. There is a FB group for people who have lost their accounts, I could find that information for you if you think it would be helpful.

      I was just about to put a post on FB asking anyone if they have heard anything about why the accounts have been paused for so long. Rationally, I suspect the reasoning but since I have not been online a lot lately I don’t know all of the info that is making the rounds about it.

      I regularly back up my reviews using ARAT. It is a great tool developed by a husband of a reviewer to help her keep track of her reviews. I should do a post on that so that people have an easy way of downloading copies of their reviews. You said it has been 2 weeks? I have been able to find copies of reviews a few days after they have been wiped but not weeks afterwards. If you know your profile url still, I can try to look. It is easier for me to look that trying to explain all the background. πŸ™‚

      Amazon doesn’t delete the reviews, they just move them to private access. Perhaps if you ask them for copies of your reviews at least, they may do that. Most of the time though people are just ignored.

      Do you have a blog that you review on? Once again, I am sorry that your account has been lost. It is hard to imagine the frustration you may be feeling. I have a good friend who wrote up a guest blog post after she was wiped, I should dig that up and get that published. Right after she gave it to me I had a ton of stuff come up and I never got it published.

      Let me know if I can do anything for you.
      Lynn Marie

      • Thanks for your quick reply!
        I would love the link for the Facebook group if you can easily get it.
        Any idea of what channels the folks went through who you know were reinstated? I don’t expect it but am curious. And wouldn’t expect Amazon to respond to me if I asked for my reviews (why would they?) but I may try that too.
        I had considered reviewing items in my blog– haven’t done that in a while there. And also considered for a while making my YouTube channel public. The written reviews would really help there– particularly for the items I never did a video review on.
        I would love it if you would check in my reviews. My profile is easy to access when I am at home– but am not right now. I think it is https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2J6F7EK8T8RP6?ie=UTF8&ref_=ya_pdp_new
        Yes, i think it has been about two weeks. But might be a tad less. Don’t remember exactly. Please let me know if you find anything…
        Thank you so much for your efforts in my behalf.
        I do recommend that you write a post about the backup option you mentioned– even if it only a quick blurb. If it could only help someone else…
        I told my husband that I finally found a job I loved– too bad it didn’t pay. πŸ˜‰ so it has been hard on me, but it does leave me more time in the evenings and saves our mailman trips to the front door!

        • Hi Margaret, I’m sorry, I couldn’t locate any copies of your reviews. I do hope you can find a new hobby that is as fulfilling. You can always go to reviewing on your blog too. With a ranking like that, you will still have a lot of credibility.
          The few people that were able to get their reviews reinstated were ones who had copies of all of their reviews and could prove that they had disclaimers on all of them and that they weren’t promotional in nature.
          I will have to look for the name of the FB group but will find it for you.
          Lynn Marie

  43. I’m very new at blogging, so I am still finding my way. I’m interested in your question also as I’m never sure if I’m doing something wrong or breaking the rules. I’ll keep checking your posts for all the answers! Thanks!

  44. Pingback: Amazon TOS Changes :: Increase in Minimum Purchases to Write a Review, Again – A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

  45. I do not know if there is proper etiquette for reblogging. My assumption is this: If they did not remove the reblog button, then they are okay with you reblogging their post. Always give credit to the author. I try to remember to tell them in the Comments section. Some people have reblogged my posts without notifying me. It is okay with me. That is my take on this topic.

    Also, there is the Press This button. For a YouTube video on this feature, click here: https://youtu.be/2ofGf8TWtXU

    • Hello Dear Rose, Thank you so much for finding a video about the ‘press this’ button! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on reblogging and what you actually do.

      What about people who don’t use WordPress? They don’t have the option to have that on their posts. Maybe bloggers should have some guidelines on their blogs about their expectations for content sharing?

      You always leave such great feedback, thank you!

  46. Hello Alysha, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I always love to chat with people who read my posts.

    At first reblogging seemed it would be straightforward and simple, and oh so helpful! But then I read a few articles from people who had problems with their content being shared. Of course, no one wants all of their posts copied word for word. But what is the standard?

    One image and a link? No images but a link is okay if permission is given first? Hit the reblogging button and the whole post is shared? Is that what happens or not? It is great Rose found a video for us to watch with some more thoughts on the subject.

    So if they have the buttons on the site it is assumed it is okay to repost and/or ‘press this’. I will find out what the distinction is between the two and will reblog something from Rose’s site to see what actually happens when I hit the button. I don’t have the buttons on my site and I have noticed that you don’t either. I am self hosted so probably need to add a widget to my blog to have the buttons. Are you self hosted?

    • My wordpress thingy is hosted by Hostpapa. I have absolutely no idea about buttons and things but am learning slowly. I’m not even sure what happens to someone after they subscribe to my blog! I think I really need to find out! Most days my fibro fog won’t let me retain any info at all so mostly I go round in circles trying to figure things out. I’ll get there… slowly…

      • I haven’t heard of Hostpapa Alysha. But if you need any help I am pretty good at poking around and figuring things out. I used to work in software development before I got sick, I am behind on technology a bit now but can still pull some tricks out of my bag. I met one of my very best friends Jody by just answering a question she had posted about how to do something on her blog. We have so much in common it is uncanny at times!

        That is what I have enjoyed the most, getting to know people like Jody, Ani, Rose and now yourself just through chatting about our blogs. πŸ™‚

    • I’m so sorry that you only know pain, Rose. It is hard, and I know that your journey is even harder than mine. I really appreciate how you share your thoughts on your blog with such grace and eloquence.

  47. You definitely need to find another doctor. I get so angry when I hear about doctors, who are supposed to help us, dismissing us. I read something the other day, I can’t remember where but it went something like, if I wanted to fake an illness I’d pick one that everyone has heard of. We are valid. We need to be respected too. Go somewhere else. Don’t suffer any longer that you need to. Heaps of gentle hugs.

    • Hi Alysha, I do have an appt with another doctor but it isn’t until the 14th. I guess I will be looking for a new pain doctor and a new primary doctor now. They work closely and I got a weird message from my primary so I can tell it is time to move on. I don’t think I am a difficult person, I think my health is an involved case and even though when I interviewed these two doctors and explained my background, they were all for the challenge. I guess it is more than they thought and I know my primary does not like me asking questions. I need an open and honest working relationship where I can feel that I can go to my doctor with any health problem. If I disagree with him, I should be able to say so.

      I left my last doctor about 4 months ago because I felt like he wasn’t listening to me anymore. I will find someone, but I will have to go outside of the current system that I use right now for everything.

      Thanks for understanding and following along this crazy journey!

  48. Just wow. πŸ™ . 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

  49. Great advice Lynn and so well put Thank You for your time and efforts at keeping us all informed as we work through Amazons Red Tape issues πŸ™‚ BTW I am sharing this with my Group.

    • Oh thanks Lisa! You know I always love it when anyone reads my posts, much less shares them! I am glad you found the advice helpful. If you let me know of any other questions you hear of specifically, I will try and verify those as well. Hope you are feeling well enough, I know as the weather changes into the cooler temperatures it can be an adjustment for us all….

  50. Once again, everyone is making a mountain out of a molehill. The Tos actually did not change, they just made it 100% clear.

    At no time were any of us ever obligated to review anything we got free or discounted. Follow the exact wording.

    Offering compensation or requesting compensation, (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating modifying or posting content.

    Sellers were only ever allowed to “suggest” that if we had a good or bad experience with their product to leave a review. They were not allowed to “demand”, “require”, “request” or in any other way “ask” for a “positive” rating.

    It’s completely up to us, as reviewers, when and “IF” we leave a review. Regardless of what others believe. If you believe that not leaving a review is ethically or morally wrong, that’s fine, but amazon has a way of wiping if you put too many negatives, or too many positives, so you have to keep your reviewer account well balanced and keep your disclaimer accurate with what the FTC recommends. The worc “exchange” should no longer be in your disclaimer. You still need to write a disclaimer or you violate FTC.

    State the truth, I was provided a testing unit, I have tested this product for xx days/weeks/months and am providing this review of my own accord and have not been compensated in any way, or asked to provide this review.

    The other option would be to not accept anything unless it’s a direct ship item.

    • Karen!

      So good to hear from you! I have been wondering what you have been up to. Keeping busy with your business and that grandbaby I am sure πŸ™‚

      What you have written in your comment is the new wording, the old wording was:

      From the previous Seller Central documentation: “You may request feedback from a buyer, however you may not pay or offer any incentive to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback.

      From the old Customer Review Creation Guidelines: 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.”

      In the past, they could “request” a review and we could accept an exchange. You are correct in saying that according to Amazon, there was no requirement for a review. However, if you belong(ed) to any of the websites, FB groups, or email groups where you could find products that Sellers were ‘requesting” reviews for, you were agreeing to leave a review as your exchange according to the groups/websites rules and or TOS. There were one or two that did not “require” a review at that point in time.

      That is what has always been so difficult, that Amazon has been purposely vague in their wording so they can interpret the way they want. The only thing good that ever came from that is that we met in a discussion group about TOS, lol.

      Now it is completely up to us whether or not to leave a review. The only thing that I am hesitant about is the disclosure. It is an FTC law that we leave a disclosure for any product that we received for free or at a discount if we are writing a review for it. We are basically recommending or endorsing a product when we post a review. In some cases, we are not recommending it, but that is never mentioned a lot is it? πŸ™‚ We should all be well-rounded (I like your word “balanced” better so am going to use that from now on if you don’t mind!) reviewers, every single product we get is not a great product. That is why I love ARAT so much, I can run a report and see if I am “well-balanced” or not. In most cases, that exact report will tell you whether a reviewer is honest. They may research their products first and only review good products which would skew their profile in regards to being well-balanced. I think it is well past the time that I write my post on being a well-balanced reviewer! Some people are probably wondering what the heck we are talking about, sorry folks!

      I think you are on the mark with your disclosure you just shared. Definitely, do not use the word “exchange” in your disclosure. LOL, I would avoid it in your review altogether because it is probably one of the words in Amazon’s algorithm they use to look for people that should be monitored or wiped!

      Even if you are reviewing an item that was direct shipped, it should have a disclosure on it according to the FTC. Those fines are hefty. This is true of any review you write on Amazon or social media, including your blog. Facebook has new guidelines as of this summer about recommending products too, so make sure you have a page as a place you put your reviews, not just your personal profile. Sometimes I slip and put products that I really like on my personal page too, but I should be more vigilant about not doing that now. If there is anyone interested in guidelines for reviewing on different social media outlets I could put something together, but I would have to know there is some interest in it first.

      Let’s plan a late night chat this weekend maybe to catch up? I also have some reports I ran for you this summer that I didn’t upload to Dropbox yet. I wasn’t’ sure if you were reviewing or taking a break.

      Talk soon!
      Lynn Marie

  51. 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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    • Your welcome Debra, thank you for reading the post and commenting! I hope this settles down soon and admins will stop saying it is optional so it is okay. As far as the websites go, some of them are going to take it as far as they can. They don’t care if you lose your account, their eye is on their profit. Hope you have a good weekend!
      Lynn Marie

  53. Awesome post, once again. Thanks for taking the time to get the answers from the source! However, I am still confused – does this new policy apply to books, or not? Advance Review Copies are a decades-long practice in publishing – does Amazon iintend to break with tradition here?

    • Hi Maureen,
      Thank you for reading it! This does not apply to books, thank you for pointing that out. Books specifically weren’t discussed in my emails with Amazon but it is clearly defined in what they included in their last update that the new policy does not apply to books. I am SO GLAD that coloring books fall into that category!!!
      I will update the article to make sure everyone knows that this doesn’t apply to books. Great catch, thank you!
      Lynn Marie

  54. Pingback: Questions and Answers With Amazon About Writing Reviews – A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

  55. That looks like the exact reply I got.
    I do not agree with how Amazon handled their response. I think by saying they can’t offer any additional assistance, is a closed door policy. They don’t directly answer each question and I’m not exicted about doing business with a company who doesn’t value their customers enough to see a issue through to the end regardless of whether they think they answered your questions fully, and clearly enough.
    I understand why this has happened and I have to say there is a lot of merit to it. I’m not upset about not having the ability to review promotional products on Amazon. I am more concerned with Amazon’s reaction and response.
    It is crystal clear they did not communicate well within their organization and they did a disservice when they gave some people false information after the fallout. That is concerning.
    I agree with your observation and think this is a great article. I also think this will weed out some of the people who just wanted free stuff for not much effort.
    I already see alternative options like blogging and social media shares not being respected. Their are still groups who have said things are much better now because you don’t have to wait a few days before reviewing, or “There is no reason why reviews can’t happen immediatly when receiving the product”. Those are false reviews as the product is not tested at all. I still see sugar coated reviews and I still experience unhappy admins and sellers who threaten not allowing reviewers to review if they are honest.
    That is a shame! You would think lessons would have been learned and realized now is the time to correct those lessons.
    There will always be dishonest people looking for the easy road to get free stuff and those same people will compromise their integrity to do it. SAD!
    I won’t do that and I won’t allow my space on the WWW to be a place for people to lose respect for me or my thoughts.
    Thanks for the great article.
    Raynee @ http://www.thefrugalbranch.com

      • So many great comments and additional thoughts on the subject are being brought up, the comment sections of a post can often be as important as the post themselves, can’t they!
        Thank you, Miss Purple for stopping by!

    • Hi Raynee, Thank you for taking the time to read my article and comment, you are appreciated! I love knowing when people read what I have written and love hearing what they have to think about it!

      You are right, they didn’t answer each question with a simple Yes or No. I guess by answering that we are not allowed to write a review about something (except books) unless we bought it with our own money makes the other questions irrelevant.

      I too am seeing a lot of comments like you have. “I love it, I just got these three things an hour ago and I can go ahead and write my reviews!” I am appalled even more by admins who let this slide or encourage it. And don’t get me started right now (that subject is a whole post within itself) about the websites who have already rebranded and are adamant in telling Reviewers that there is no problem with leaving a review if you want to, just don’t leave a disclaimer.

      It is a sad situation when there are so many people who will do whatever they can to work the system. I read a statement from someone the other day that just about sums it up, “I just don’t understand it! This is the third time Amazon had wiped my account and it isn’t fair! I always write positive reviews, why are they picking on me?”

      When I read Amazon’s reply, their closing statement was what stuck with me more than anything else, but I wanted to try and stick to the topic of their actual answer in the article so didn’t address it. I am so glad you brought it up because now I can vent about it!

      “Please note we do not have information in addition to what is already provided in our help pages and we’re not able to offer additional insight on these matters. We appreciate your understanding.”

      That is almost like a slap in the face. Here I am trying to define the issue in terms that anyone can understand, which in turn helps them. If they would communicate more and be open to discussion, this whole PR nightmare for them and the fall out this has caused too many innocent people could have been avoided.

      We are caught in a situation of Amazon vs Reviewers vs Sellers where communication is not encouraged, rules and responsibilities are not defined, and the result has turned what made Amazon the market leader for online commerce (having the first truly accepted review system open to the public) a joke.

      Social media posts and blogging are going to be the future of Reviewing. Now we have to make sure we know the rules for each platform we post on, so I hope I can help with that. I will be doing a lot of research to make sure my info is correct, so hope you all chime in with comments, corrections if needed, opposing view points to consider, and even guest posts if anyone would like to!

      Thanks again Raynee!

      • I started my blog before ever reviewing a thing and I found a true passion in it. Then I started reviewing and let it slip away. My blog is a paid space which I did to save all my hard work. I also did it to send a message of seriousness to blogging because it is such a passion. I’ve never had a problem voicing my opinions or helping others with whatever knowledge I have that may help others. I want to get back to that and build my “brand” and followers.
        I’ve always wanted to guest post but found myself intimidated as a new blogger. Maybe I will add to your conversation if it is something I have knowledge about and feel comfortable.
        I’ve always been very moral based and it really bothers me when others try to find a loophole to make something right in their mind. That is what a lot of folks are doing right now with regard to the Amazon fiasco rather than learning from the why of it all. It’s quite sad and not something I want to be a part of. I fulfilled my obligations for the products I received and now I can be choosy with who I have a relationship with for reviewing. It will only be with people I feel morally right about.
        As far as Amazon, be fore reviewing I had a lot of respect for them. I live near headquarters and have a lot of friends who work for the company. I felt like they were very customer service oriented. Once I started reviewing and I spent a lot of time really reviewing and doing reviews I would stand behind completely and be proud of. I have lost a lot of respect for them simply because since reviewing the customer service specfic to me is very poor. They grouped all reviewers are one and didn’t really care about thise of us who were fair. Those of us who saw the challenges they were facing and tried very hard not to participate or add to those challenges. The thanks for that was closed communication, door shut in our face without explanation and threats if you didn’t interpret it correctly.
        They bacame successful because of consumers like me and sellers. Not from fake reviewers looking for something for nothing. With poor customer service and refusal to answer valid questions simply for understanding, they are setting themselves up for a huge loss of business. I feel strongly about spending my money only at places that treat me as I would treat them. With respect and fairness. This really is not about not heing able to review as I knew that would be coming. It is about how they treat consumers in the end.
        I appreciate your reply and the conversation that has come from all this. If anything, we have met some great people through it and opened a door for change. Good positive change.
        I look forward to seeing future posts from you.

  56. Working through the rough spots in life seems to create a great sense of self awareness and allow one to notice some of the joys that we had been taking for granted. I find myself being more mindful a relishing the things I am doing – for myself or with others.

    • Hello Jasper, That is so true! Now that I am disabled and have to spend so much of my time resting and in bed, I have a great deal of time to think and reflect on my life. My life before I became sick and my life as it is now.

      My life is slower, much slower! But I value the little things so much more, and the big things I didn’t recognize before. I especially value the time I am able to spend with my children and husband, time that was previously spent working too many hours in a career that I loved but that ultimately left me with nothing but many lessons learned.

      Once I mentioned to someone that in some ways my life is better. How can that be when I deal with constant pain and other issues? My life is better because I truly value the things that should have always been the most important things, but weren’t.

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and to leave a comment, I really appreciate it!

      Lynn Marie

  57. So if I purchase a gift card with my own money, reviewing the item I use it on could get me in trouble? Geez. That sucks considering I often do that so that the money is out of my account and there (on Amazon) when I need it. Guess I won’t be doing that anymore! πŸ™

    Thanks for your hard work and research. Until Amazon comes out and just says no more free/discounted reviews, NO MATTER WHAT, people are still going to look for loopholes and just do it anyway without a disclosure.

    • Hello ChaCha, Amazon hasn’t expressly said that you shouldn’t use gift cards, that is my opinion. I did ask them that question but they chose not to address it.

      By talking about gift cards, they would have to talk about their algorithms and they don’t want to let out any information about what might be included in them.

      If their new system for detecting fradulent reviews is as good as they say it is, they are going to be looking for gift card purchases that are then reviewed as potential reviews that are actually paid for by the Seller.

      Now I would hope that in the algorithms that they are now using, they make an exception for gift cards purchased with the consumers own credit/debit card. But at this point, it is better to be safe than sorry.

      Especially if you have gift cards purchased before Oct 3rd, don’t use them for anything that you are going to review.

      This is really too bad and hurts their business to have people hesitant to use cards or purchase new ones.

      Amazon had said not to do any more free/discounted reviews unless it is for a book or you are in the Vine program. They are actively removing old reviews where they consider the reviewer to have been excessive or otherwise not to have followed TOS.

      The problem is what you just said, all of the people already looking for loop holes and the people who are saying that what Amazon has said with their updated Community Guidelines and Promotional Content definitions isn’t really what they mean or what you think they mean.

      You are also right, if they said it in those terms, “No more… Don’t do it… STOP…” it would be so much easier for everyone to understand!

      I mean come on, they supposedly have a clause in their shipping guarantee or something like that about a zombie apocalypse, why can’t they just stop the legal wording here for once so that people and businesses won’t be able to try to persuade anyone of any other truth behind what they say now.

      Thank you for stopping by and reading my post, I really appreciate it! I always say that it is the people I meet and the interaction with them that is the best thing about reviewing and blogging!

  58. Pingback: Reviewing 🌟 The Dust Has Settled, What’s Next? Even Better Things! – A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

  59. Curiously NONE of my reviews with “free” or “discounted” disclosures has been deleted (yet!). As of right now, I am only posting to Amazon reviews for products that I have purchased. The “verified purchase” I think gives them more credibility which enhances my blog’s brand. And Amazon has for some reason permitted me to include links back to my website (albeit shortened ones) in these reviews, which I find more valuable than free products!

    Love your updates – you are definitely the best source for me! Keep up the great work!

  60. I love your updates on this too.

    I don’t think that I will jump right back in on Amazon just yet for the free/discounted items. I think I am going to give it a little more time. I have a really good rank on Amazon and I would hate to be wiped.

  61. What a beautiful way to explain the pain a person goes through each day, when dealing with chronic pain. Lynn Marie, I also live with chronic pain each day. I take 2 high powered pain meds, that don’t touch it either. I don’t really think that people understand how living with barely being able to waddle across the room to get to the bathroom that isn’t even 4ft from where you’re sitting, just how hard it really is to get there. In the poem, where it mentions the grey & black matter in your brain,, that reminds me so much of the Multiple Sclerosis that I fight each day & that along with a few meds has already tried to take me from this world, they were just a few short hours of succeeding when my daughter rushed me too the hospital. I had 5.7% renal function & 17% O2. Drs. told my girls & husband that had I been a few more hours later or even overnight waiting to go to the hospital, they would have been burying me. I spent 4 or 5 days in icu, not knowing who I, my girls, husband, drs, nurses, anyone was. My family thinks that I’m supposed to be able to just get up & run when they call like I could 5-7 years ago and I can’t. Do they understand that? No. I’m hardly ever spoken to on facebook, hardly ever included in activities that my mother, myself and my sisters used to do together. My girls, well we really don’t even have a relationship.
    I have 1bright light that shines brighter than the northern star in my life. She is my #1 bestest(lol that how we say it) friend, my sunshine on every day, not just cloudy days. Her name is B.b.(Brooklyn), my very 1st granddaughter & grandchild. She was born @29 weeks, weighed 2lbs 7oz & was the healthiest baby born that early the pediatrician had ever seen, he said. I told him she was a miracle baby. Today she is still healthy and just this past June turned a big 5 years old and my other Savior, because if not for her I wouldn’t be here today. The pain I felt each day, walking hunched over every day for 5 years, having to quit working, not being able to enjoy life, this kind of life is not,, is not a life anyone should have to live through & I was close to making sure that I wasn’t going to live like I do now & then her mommy handed me a positive pregnancy test she had taken & my world changed. My prayers and thoughts are with everyone that lives with even the tiniest hint of a pain. May God bless and heal us all. I’m awaiting for that day to come.

    • Hello Lisa, Thank you for such a heartfelt and open and honest reply to my poem. I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply. My husband did read it to me though and I have been praying for you. Until you have experienced chronic or debilitating pain, I don’t think there is a way to understand it.
      When I was at the Mayo Clinic about 8 years ago, my neurologist told me that she did not believe in pain. A doctor, much less a neurologist, saying she didn’t believe in pain? She said she had never even had a headache in her life. Well I am sure she must not have given birth either, but I didn’t ask! She probably has a disorder wherein she can’t feel pain, who knows.
      I am so sorry that you are having not only to deal with MS, but with the incredible amount of emotional baggage that goes along with any chronic or life-threatening illness. Every single one of your relationships changes, most fade away. It can be horribly lonely.
      It is amazing what grandchildren do to us isn’t it! It is like they bring new hope. New grandchildren don’t know the old us, so they accept us just the way we are aren’t don’t have unrealistic expectations that other family members sometimes can. I feel like my grandchildren give me unconditional love. They don’t care that if they want to spend time with me they have to come to my room. They love it in fact! They argue over who gets to lay where on the bed and who gets the most time with me. In truth, I now have the time to focus on my youngest son and my grandchildren in a way that I was never able to do with my grown children. When they were young I worked all the time and when I wasn’t working, it was go go go! Now, my attention is all for them!
      My priorities in life have certainly changed, and that has been my serendipity in chronic illness. Even though I deal with constant pain and senseless bureaucracy from some entities, I have found myself.
      I am so glad that your granddaughter came along at just the right time for you and that she was born so healthy and continues to thrive.
      Thank you for leaving this comment. It gives me such encouragement to know that people actually read my blog, and that they can relate. We all have stories to share and they are all important. With so many changes ahead when it comes to pain management and for people with chronic illness, we have to stand together and advocate for each other.
      Miracles do happen, never give up. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

  62. Pain is a terrible thing. With the new federal laws, doctors are now hiding behind being afraid to prescribe. What’s next, hacking off a limb while biting a stick? I’m convinced this “crackdown” or whatever you want to call it, is ruining lives. Lawmakers scratch their heads as to why there is now a heroin crisis. Really? They need to wake up. Help the people who truly need it. Don’t make everyone suffer now I suffer from chronic pain and anymore I feel I’m being judged by everyone I’m in contact with regarding my monthly prescription.

    • Hello Dana, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! In October, a doctor told me these were new laws. At that time, they were just CDC Guidelines, so she was actually lying to me. But I know there has been a huge push since that time and I need to research exactly where we are at right now as to what the law says about pain medication.

      I actually have a post coming up soon about what I ended up having to do about my pain medicine, and it is not an easy story to tell. Your comments about chronic pain hit home with me too, I made 2 trips to the ER this month and how I was treated and what I was told was shocking.

      Pain patients and anyone else dealing with any type of chronic illness have some tough decisions to face, decisions being forced upon them not by the government, but by hospital administrators and doctors.

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this and for reading the poem I wrote. I will look forward to your thoughts on my upcoming posts about pain medication and chronic pain.

      I apologize for the late reply, it was a tough winter and I wasn’t following up on things like I should. I truly appreciate the time you took to post a comment and appreciate the fact that you read my blog!

  63. Such a nice vintage accessories I ever seen. White color mostly attractive and I really love these 4 piece of collection while they are sturdy. Thanks for adding the videos to understand about the products very well. Hopefully I am adding these 4 piece of collection soon.

    • Hi Sharon, I wanted to let you know that some of the paint is flaking off a few of the pieces. The soap dish is the worse culprit. I think anything that might have any standing moisture in it at times will do this, but I didn’t expect it to do it this soon.
      Did you end up buying a set? I apologize if so! I will be updating my review here and on Amazon.
      I do think though that my husband may be able to use a fine grit sandpaper and take most of the white color off and I can repaint them with the same color or even something bright and eye-catching. I think these might be nice in silver or if you have a predominant color in your bathroom, it would be easy to accessorize these with the right color!
      I still love that they are sturdy and have not chipped at all.
      Thanks for following along and reading my blog. Let me know how your set it holding up, if you did end up buying one.

    • Hello my dear Rose, I have missed chatting with you. I have been looking for a way to install this and I can’t find a way to get it to work. I think it is proprietary to WordPress and if I don’t use their service, it won’t work on my site. I am very bummed about this.
      If anyone reads this and has figured out how to do this on a self-hosted site, please let me know!

    • Hello, I wanted to say a very belated thank you for reading this post. I put my husband in charge of approving comments so I missed some. I will have to take back over πŸ™‚
      I still can not believe all of the uproar over the election results. It is over and we must all move forward, supporting our government in any way we can. If we don’t like what they are doing, we should be writing our Congress members in an effort to affect change.
      I hope you are doing well and thanks again for reading!

    • Hi Cytherea, I am so sorry for the late reply. My husband was approving comment posts when I wasn’t feeling well earlier this winter and I missed this!
      I am so glad you like the site! I actually don’t consider myself to be that great at coloring. I just watch YouTube videos and for me it is knowing that what I am coloring is just a way to relax. If I make a mistake and can’t correct it somehow, it is no big deal to me.
      I have been feeling a bit better lately so am going to be updating my Coloring page soon with some great links for more free coloring resources (I hope everyone loves FREE as much as I do!), some links to great videos to watch if you are interested in different techniques, and some fantastic DIY Craft ideas on some really great things to do with completed coloring pages that you really love!
      Once again, thank you for reading my blog and following along. I love hearing from readers!

  64. After reading the qualities of this detangling brush I want to use this very soon. I have never used such type of brushes but it is seeming that this brush can control hair fall while detangling so I will definitely buy this.

    • I hope it works well for you. If you have really curly hair, it is harder to work with. Make sure to have all of the tangles out before you start to use it also. Thanks for reading the post!