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Amazon Prohibits Incentivized Reviews

Excluding books

     
2:51 pm on Oct 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Clearly, reviews on the site are getting out of hand. Amazon has finally cracked down on the "incentivized reviews" which are all over the site.

Personally, I have become numb to some of the reviews, and it's quite obvious that a good number have been incentivized, or just fake, in some way or another.
Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program. Amazon Prohibits Incentivized Reviews [amazon.com]
5:35 pm on Oct 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed that the incentivized reviews have contained a note about "Received a discount for this review" or similar words to that effect for quite awhile, so now they are taking the next step. I don't see the reviews as having much value without the "Verified Purchase" label.
3:27 pm on Oct 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It's borderline, too, because i've seen "verified purchase" then the user goes on to say that they got it free for an unbiased review.

However, I reported some of the reviewers on a particular product as it looked rather iffy. Stupidly, I bought the product based on the reviews. Well, the product was just as some had said. I sent it back for a full refund. I posted a true review and it suddenly disappeared below new and glowing reviews. Subsequently, every time a "verified buyer" posted a review that was less than glowing, at least two or three other positive reviews popped up immediately to drop the less glowing review off the top.
I noticed that the range of reviewers seemed to follow that particular vendor, giving glowing reviews for having had a free product to review. The whole thing was rather dodgy.
In the past year I have been extra careful and it puts me off if there is an inordinate number of glowing reviews following a less than shiny review.

Interestingly, after the refund of the product came though I bought another manufacturers product. It didn't have too many reviews, but the ones it did have were quite acceptable. The product was far superior, and, importantly, it worked out of the box, unlike the other junk.

All online reviews are at risk, and I apply the same rules of caution to whatever site, or wherever they are. Caveat Emptor!