Important: Amazon Terms of Service Update Regarding Customer Reviews

Greg MercerAmazon Policies149 Comments

Sharing is caring!

Update:  October 4th, 7:00am EDT

Stay calm.  In the big scheme of things, this isn’t really that huge of a change.  No, Amazon is not crashing and neither is Review Kick.  Let me explain.

 

As expected, everyone has lots of questions regarding these Amazon changes so we will do our best to help clear them up.  Our whole team is working overtime to do our best to answer everyone’s questions and make the necessary changes to our platform to ensure it follows Amazon’s new terms.  

 

Q: What’s the future look like for Review Kick?

Excellent question.  The new terms were released less than 16 hours ago so we haven’t had a chance to thoroughly revise the product and company roadmap.  Two things we know for certain is Review Kick will continue to strictly adhere to Amazon’s terms of service and follow up email campaigns will be more important than ever for generating product reviews.  Review Kick released the best platform on the web this past summer for creating and sending automated follow up email campaigns to organic buyers.  We emphasize to our sellers to make sure they have these email campaigns set up and optimized – this will be key for getting reviews moving forward.  The new Amazon terms of service have NO effect on the automated email campaigns, they will continue to operate as normal.

 

Q: What about the deals/promotional giveaway section on Review Kick?

One thing Amazon has made clear is that it is against their terms to post a review in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products).  To make sure Review Kick is abiding by this, effective immediately, we no longer request or require any consumer who purchases a product using a coupon through our site to leave a review.

 

Amazon has given us an FAQ section inside of seller central to help clarify these new terms.

faqinsellercentral

 

Based off this, it is our understanding that purchasing a product using a coupon that was received through Review Kick or anywhere else is still OK, as long as you do not request, require or exchange it for a review.  Because of this, our deals page will still be live for the time being and will be re-evaluated in the next couple days for future potential changes.  

 

To clarify, Amazon hasn’t killed their coupon program (promotions).  You can still create promotions, coupons and distribute them as you wish.  You should just be very careful that you do not ask for a review when distributing them.

 

Q:  What about any deals a consumer purchased before the terms update, should they still leave a review?

Effective October 3rd, Review Kick is not requesting or requiring that any consumers leave a review.  If a consumer wants to leave a review anyway, we recommend they contact the seller and/or Amazon to make sure that it is OK and if any associated disclaimer should be included with it.  In our opinion, this would be similar to purchasing a full price product on Amazon – you’re not expected or required to leave a review but if you choose to do so, then we assume that would be OK.  Again, this is something that would be good to clarify with the seller and/or Amazon.     

 

Q: What’s your real, no legal mumbo jumbo, opinion on this?

Launching a new product on Amazon will be a little more difficult in the future.

To launch a new product, Amazon sellers need:

  1. Sales
  2. Reviews

Promotional giveaways in exchange for reviews were clutch for Amazon sellers because it gave their listing sales (which improved their search rankings) as well as got them the social proof they needed to make organic sales (in the form of reviews).

Sellers will still be able to do both of these items when launching a product, it will just be a little more difficult.  You will still be able to use other tactics to get early sales, (e.g. increased PPC spend, decreased initial price, promotions like lightning deals, 2 for 1 deals or discounts in the form of coupons).  

To get reviews, you’ll need to make sales and improve your chance of turning these sales into reviews through an optimized email campaign.  

Does it suck for sellers?  A little.  Is Amazon still an amazing opportunity?  Absolutely.  

 

Q:  What else?

We started Review Kick a year ago to address one major problem in the space, sellers didn’t have anywhere to go to get honest reviews that followed Amazon’s terms.  The space was filled with organizations that may of claimed they followed Amazon’s terms but really had unwritten rules or weren’t transparent about what went on behind the scenes.  
Review Kick was built on honesty and integrity and will continue to operate that way.  Review Kick does not have any unwritten rules and operates based off Amazon’s written terms of service.  We will continue to keep a close eye on Amazon’s terms of service and make any adjustments necessary to our platform to make sure it is 100% white hat.  

 

 

 

October 3rd, 6:00pm EDT

Within the past couple hours ago, Amazon released an important update to their Community Guidelines as well as this press release.

 Here is the important part:

amazonnewterms

 

In short, Amazon prohibits incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through Amazon’s Vine program.

 

This means that starting today, Amazon will not allow any product reviews that were given in exchange for a discounted or free product.

 

What Does This Mean for Review Kick?

 

Review Kick has always been a solution for Amazon reviews. Generating product reviews was a two-pronged approach for Review Kick Sellers:

 

  • Run automated email campaigns to convert customers to reviewers.
  • Run discounted promotional giveaways to get more customer reviews.

 

Today’s announcement affects the process of generating reviews from promotional giveaways. Effective immediately, we no longer request or require customers who purchase products through Review Kick at a discount to leave a product review.

 

As a seller on Review Kick, you can still give away products at a discount, if you choose.  Historically, we have seen that a surge in sales (regardless of the discount on the product) would lead to improved search engine rankings and an increase in organic sales.

 

Review Kick is still the best platform on the web to send email campaigns to organic buyers and will continue to get better.  Post sale follow-up emails will now become more important than ever for sellers to get reviews.  You can expect Review Kick to continue to get better in this aspect, including a new sophisticated analytics dashboard coming soon.

 

Next Steps Going Forward

 

In theory, we believe that this will benefit the Review Kick seller and reviewer community, by ensuring that sellers and products are evaluated fairly, and not based on any incentives offered.  We have been anticipating an Amazon change like this for a little while. As a result, we have worked hard to become a complete Amazon reviews management system with our analytics and follow up email campaigns.

 

All sellers and reviewers on Review Kick’s platform will receive an email notification within the hour.  Reviewers will be notified that we no longer request or require them to leave a review.  Sellers will be notified of the new policy.

 

Over the course of the next week, you’ll see some of the verbiage on our website and features in the app change to reflect this policy.

 

We will continue to update you as the effects of the policy become more clear.

Sharing is caring!

Comments 149

  1. I am so worried this is going to change so many things now! It is sad that Amazon had to do something like this. It was great for the sellers and reviewers alike!
    I too am wondering about the disclaimer. I have just left a bunch of reviews today and they went through but I am wondering what will happen in the future. It’s a sad day in review town 🙁

    1. Do not worry at all! Nothing will change BUT how you disclaim in your review (if you choose to write one.) Basically the guidelines state that product cannot be given as free or discounted if the consumer is required to write a review. NOTHING states that products cannot be offered (free or discounted) for TESTING purposes. Which is what we are supposed to be doing, correct? Companies and review sites will remain the same, but no longer requiring a review. If you choose to write one, you just have to disclaim that you “received the product for testing purposes and the experience is purely my own, in no way am I required to write a review.” SIMPLE AS PIE! 🙂 LET me know if you need any other help!

      1. Not so simple. Not so simple at all.

        Reviews are being completely denied by Amazon for many reviewers and they are receiving warnings when they try to post with any DISCLOSURE. And FTC requires disclosures if you received the product for free, regardless if you promise a review or not.

        Make no mistake.

        Amazon is trying to completely get rid of the reviews for products that are received for free or heavily discounted.

        The writing has been on the wall for months.

        Suing and suspending sellers who use the practice, purging thousands of reviewers, including top 100 reviewers and Vine reviewers, even suing some reviewers, makes their intentions obvious.

        They don’t want these types of reviews on their site. At all. Period.

        I expect Amazon is not done and we will see thousands more suspensions and reviewer purges in the very near future.

        When the suspensions start flowing, and they will, and the sellers realize that their Amazon selling accounts and business are at stake, the majority will stop offering the freebies.

        I think a lot of people’s heads are in the sand if they don’t see what’s coming.

        P.S. Pet peeve of mine when people incorrectly call it a “disclaimer” when it is a disclosure.

        1. EXACTLY. If you get a promo code, direct shipped item, gift card or even if you buy it and are refunded it is a free or discounted item and it is a violation of policy for Amazon. If you do not disclose then you failed to observe the laws set forth by the FTC. If you think sellers are sending things and NOT expecting a review because they mention it is no longer required you need to have your moral compass calibrated as well. No matter what if the item is free/discounted in any way you violate one of three areas. Amazon, FTC, moral/ethically. There is no wiggle room here and it is irresponsible for sellers and sites like this and others to put reviewers at risk with their own ideal of what these new rules mean. I hate the change as much as anyone but I don’t go around telling people lies and I don’t lie to myself about these changes. As always it is all about the $$$ and sites like this know the number of people they will have join is pretty much infinite so anyone that is banned from Amazon reviewing doesn’t matter.

      2. And as expected, the removals of incentivized reviews from BEFORE the change was made has begun.

        Hundreds of reviewers reporting they have received this message.

        Some of the reviewers had hundreds removed, but some have reported that they had done less than 20 reviews in exchange for product, so it doesn’t seem to be much for Amazon to consider your incentivized reviews to be excessive.

        Tread lightly if you don’t want to completely lose your privileges.

        The letter……..

        “Hello,

        Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.

        Your reviewing privileges will not be affected by this action, but you will not be able to resubmit the reviews that were removed.

        To learn about our review policies, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).”

    2. I am still leaving reviews 100% of the times for items I get from RK & the one other review site I belong to. I am leaving a more natural statement within the review to cover the FTC guidelines that says “I had been looking for such & such item & was excited to find a coupon code to use for this purchase.” Because, this is normally true, I was searching for salt & pepper shakers & tried RK first, got approved & love the set I got that comes in a caddy. I see no problem w/this cause you can use coupon codes on other sites without disclosing right?

      Honestly, I think Amazon is being a bully on this, they are monopolizing the review portion & forcing sellers to be invited by them basically picking & choosing who’s item can be given away for promotion & then have a review left for that item. That seems shady itself.

    3. Honestly, Amazon has no reason to care about the freeloading spammers who’ve cheapened the entire review system. They’re merely acting to restore some honesty and integrity into THEIR platform.
      They aren’t “bullying” you, they’re following their REAL PAYING customers, who’ve overwhelmingly lost trust in the review system because of the damage these sorts of schemes have caused. Stop pretending Amazon owes you something. Real buyers were sick of weeding through the endless irrelevant spam and as many of us predicted years ago, organic legitimate review activity stagnated. When organic review activity slows, so do sales.
      …..That’s all there is to it.

  2. Is this going to be one of those things where it’s not “asked or required” but we can’t request more items until we verify that we’ve left a review?
    If the website is truly not requiring it then either the request limit is going to have to be lifted or the review step is going to have to be removed.

    1. My guess is that they would have to remove all restrictions or negative actions, and leave it as being open to sellers to select who they choose to provide discounts to (based on the “buyer’s” stats—ranking, helpful votes, number of reviews, percentage of reviews of items purchased). I don’t think they could have number of items allowed based on number of reviews created, or restrict additional items until you write reviews etc…..all of t hat could be seen as a structure that requires reviews. It may just have to be an open door that is just, “put in for it, if the seller likes, you might get lucky…… and from there it is on you what you do with it.” That is my best guess anyway. I am not sure if amazon will allow even that.

  3. I too have several reviews to do and wonder about the disclaimer I want to ensure I am doing it properly. Although I have paid something (none have been free lately I requested) for all of them so wondering if it could be considered like s coupon. Jodi I am sure they won’t bare your account till clarification happens 🙂

  4. I too see this as a win for sellers. If we reviewers are buying at discounted or free then the buyers still move up in rank on pages because of the amount of sales on products. So if a seller were to give 100 free codes for an item they would have 100 sales where as the next seller only has 10 sales so the item with 100 sales would show up first on a page. Right?

  5. ReviewKick, Thank you for addressing this change. I’m not quite sure what this means for reviewers yet but you are the Only platform I’m a member of that has even addressed this at all, and probably will be one of the few who does.

  6. I am an Amazon seller that uses Reviewkick because of the high percentage of buyers that do indeed leave useful and detailed reviews. Now that buyers are no longer required to leave a review, this is a small concern. I believe the user base on Reviewkick is overall pretty honest and dependable compared to other services, however it would be nice if there was a statistic showing a buyer’s review percentage on Reviewkick in the future. Some products are more expensive than others and are more costly to give at a discount. So in such cases a high review percentage for the promotion is important.

    Also, by not requiring buyers to review products purchased through reviewkick, does this truly mean they are not incentivized still by the promotional price on reviewkick, or if the product is free? From my understanding, Amazon is saying we can no longer offer discounted or free products unless it is through the Vine program. I guess it will take a little time for this question to be answered, but it is important in regards to how reviewkick will be used going forward. Will offering discounts or free products on reviewkick violate the new Amazon rules? It appears it does even if reviewkick will not require buyer’s to leave a review. However, if indeed it is technically not against the rules since buyers will no longer be asked to leave a review, then won’t Reviewkick basically be a place for buyers to get discounted Amazon products with the unspoken courtesy that they should also leave their honest review? If this is the case, then so be it, as long as the review percentage is still high and abides by Amazon’s new rules.

    1. Alex, I can tell you that as a reviewer that takes very seriously the cost to your business I am offering to leave reviews on a blog I started as well as a Facebook page. My footprint is still small but I do have a big mouth :). What concerns me about using review stats from Amazon as a basis for tester worthiness is the email I received from Amazon stating my reviews with any disclaimer would be deleted soon. I look back at all the time and effort I poured into my reviews as well as the financial cost to the seller and I am frankly sickened. Those reviews were valuable to both of us and without them both our stats get affected. I do know though, there are a multitude of ways to get the word out about products and sellers that Amazon cannot touch so, I am happy to open up any of these avenues. I’m hanging tough through this huge change and hope that sellers will as well!

  7. Thanks for the update! A a reviewer I have a slew of questions, most of which are already being asked. Do I leave a disclaimer? If so, should the disclaimer be worded differently? Should previous reviews be edited to reflect the new TOS?

    I’ll be staying tuned to find out the answers. Thanks for alerting us so quickly. I also appreciate the positive note that this will, in the end, be an improvement. Unexpected changes never feel good; best of luck to all of us as we figure out the road ahead through this!

    1. I would not worry. Nothing will change BUT how you disclaim in your review (if you choose to write one.) Basically the guidelines state that product cannot be given as free or discounted if the consumer is required to write a review. NOTHING states that products cannot be offered (free or discounted) for TESTING purposes. Companies and review sites will remain the same, but no longer requiring a review. If you choose to write one, you just have to disclaim that you “received the product for testing purposes and the experience is purely my own, in no way am I required to write a review.” It follows guidelines and establishes the truth. If ANYTHING this will help get more HONEST reviews.

      1. These is no longer a requirement to leave a disclaimer. The disclaimer is only required by law when you have been given an item at discount or for free in return for a solicited review. Since these review sites are no just coupon sites (in essence), there is no need for a disclaimer. After all, you wouldn’t leave a disclaimer for something you got with a coupon, a 2-for-1 deal, groupon, or an amazon lightning deal.

    2. Lindsey, did you get an answer back from anyone about if its necessary to edit PAST reviews to say “tested and not obligated to leave a review” vs. in exchange for review like we have previously posted? curious to know! thanks!

  8. Just edit your disclaimer in your review to something like this.

    “I did receive this product at a promotional discount, however I was not required or requested to write any form of review in order to receive the promotional discount.”

    1. I would not worry. Nothing will change BUT how you disclaim in your review (if you choose to write one.) NOTHING states that products cannot be offered (free or discounted) for TESTING purposes. Disclaim that you “received the product for testing purposes and the experience is purely my own, in no way am I required to write a review.” It follows guidelines and establishes the truth.

    1. Whoa! If you’re taking paypal and Amazon gets wind of it you’re begging to be banned for ‘accepting payment for reviews.’

  9. it is incorrect to say that you have to purchase an item for $5 to get a verified purchase. ( this was a rule for anyone to review an item period. You had to of spent $5 on Amazon before you can review to prevent free discounted reviews only.
    The new TOS as of today said NO free or discounted items will be allowed to review. There was no price exception. And a verified purchase is seemingly given at random.

  10. I am not to sure I am going to like this change. I like doing the review o the products I get from Review Kick, Not only is it good for the seller but it is fun for me and I get ood stuff. Wish they would not change it.

  11. Doesn’t this change basically put an end to all of this?

    ‘You may not provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers for the purpose of inflating sales rank.’

  12. I am no longer leaving a disclaimer, Amazon clearly said it cannot be in trade for, which is a dorm of compensation. Instill still do a review for every item just as I always have, but it will be my own decision to post these. I appreciate the work ReviewKick and sellers do, so I am happy to give back in form of review. Some people saidbthey have not had any approvals in over 2 weeks, I had one 3 days ago that was my biggest one ever since I started reviewing ($239.99) which I am waiting on arrival currently. So, I will keep an eye out for more details, but for now I will submit without a disclaimer because I just happen to get codes, but not under any expectation for a review.

  13. What if i just started and had items on order.??? Am I going to be changed full price for all of these items or will they be canceled out???

  14. I have quite a few products to review tonight and I am not sure if i should review them until tomorrow or if at all. As good as this is going to be for both sellers and reviewers alike, it is disconcerting and confusing for us reviewers. Not to mention out of all the review sites that I am on, ReviewKick is the only one that sent out this notification. That I am grateful for. Now what to do about these reviews that I need to write…

  15. My 2 cents as a Reviewer and possibly a Seller in the near future.

    Overall, I think that this is a good change. In case anyone is wondering, there’s 2 primary reasons driving this change:
    1) Some sellers were “buying” reviews. So these did indeed result in fake reviews
    2) There’s implicit bias from reviewers to rank or grade a product higher than it should be: a) because a reviewer feels an obligation to the seller because he or she received a discount; and, b) because a reviewer is afraid to leave a critical review for fear that they will be “graylisted” or “blacklisted,” which will result in a reduction of opportunities given to them

    I think the this change will require both the sellers and the sites such as Review Kick to become more selective with regard to the pool of Reviewers who will be approved for discounts. They’ll take a closer look at the “quality” of the reviews – no more of these 1 blurb sentences such as “this product is better than I expected” followed by a disclaimer. Those kind of reviews tick people like me off because that type of review is worthless and makes the majority of us who leave a substantial review look bad because we have similar disclaimer verbiage in our reviews; we’re lumped in with all the bad reviewers.

    I agree with Alex that some system of metrics should be put in place. That way sellers can verify the effectiveness of their product campaigns.

    Rant over.

  16. Has anyone lost all of their reviews? They wiped me clean – and I have over 230 reviews – yes with the disclaimer – but all were well worth my time and effort that I put in. Apparently they wiped out or will be wiping out about 90% of the reviewers from Amazon. Only the Vine Reviews can review from now on. Which is hypocritical because they’re doing the same thing, if not worse. I hope we can somehow come up with a way to keep reviewing products not via Amazon. I know other sites allow your reviews on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and much more. Will Review Kick do the same? It would help us all out.

    1. You had all your reviews wiped? By Amazon? I haven’t lost any, and probably half of all I’ve done have been for review sites.

  17. I think we should still write a review and Disclaimer just word it different like Disclaimer: I received this product for free or discounted I left this review of my own accord I was not required to leave feedback in exchange for the product or something to that nature so we can still let other buyers and sellers alike know what we feel about the product amazon just wants people to know that sellers aren’t buying a good review most sellers aren’t trying to but as a reviewer and I am sure most of you reviewers have had a seller pretty much say if you can’t leave a good review don’t request it that is what amazon is trying to stop I believe

  18. I was getting ready to write my reviews when I received the notice from Amazon. I am really happy with the products but am not sure if I should leave the disclaimer. I guess I’ll wait until reviewKick tells us how they would like us to handle it. What a mess!

  19. I reviewed a few products today with the disclaimer posted before I knew about this, they all went through. Here are my thoughts going forward in the future with the revised ToS:

    Until they tell me otherwise, I am still going to write a disclaimer, but it is going to be different. Something along the lines of –

    “I received a discount code for this product, but I was not required to leave a review in exchange, which is in accordance with Amazon’s revised TOS. I leave a review only upon my own volition, because I enjoy honestly reviewing products, discounted or otherwise.”

    1. Sounds perfect to me. I receive items for free to review ON MY BLOG – I am never specifically required or requested to put the review on Amazon. If I independently CHOOSE to put the review on Amazon as well, I don’t see how that can break these new TOS.

  20. I think this is trouble for sellers… I am a seller on Amazon and have been for over one year, i was making over $1000 USD per week after all costs on one product, now i have 3 products i am only making about $500USD per week after all costs, I talk net profit after all costs because all of the sellers inflate there weekly profit they all talk GROSS profit that is total sales per week before you take out all costs for Amazon fees, Advertising fees, and product costs and the costs of giving product away as well and so on.

    Now amazon is doing this, i believe this is all geared towards Amazon and we are the meat in the sandwich, Amazon is not a fair place to sell, Amazon is very greedy and money hungry and Geoff ( I call GOD ) is not a very fair man, it is all about greed and we are helping hime to get to the top ( The richest man in the world ) you wait and see.

    He as products of his own and he cuts a deal with top selling sellers so he can make more and more money and all we are is the meat in the sandwich he is using us so he can get richer.

    I have never heard of this shit you have to give shit away to get a better ranking then 2 weeks later you are back at the racking you were before you just gave 50 free code away.

    Giving away product is so dangerous for sellers the reason why Amazon does this because he makes money from it and keeps all of the sellers stock in the warehouse turning over we loose from giving products away it is profit we loose he still charges the some fee even if you give your product away for free.

    What an evil man ( he is a bad man ) GOD that is.

    Nothing against reviewkick you guys are amazing we need people like you for support and education.

    1. I totally agree! Big brother Amazon strikes again. Every time we turn around, Amazon changes their policies. As a seller, I have spent thousands of dollars to comply with Amazon’s policies, just to get slapped down once again! I think it’s time to disconnect from the Amazon machine!

  21. I have the exact same question… I have multiple reviews to complete and am not sure how I go about addressing this change in the TOS?

  22. I’m a reviewer and even when I receive emails from sellers for free or discounted items, I always leave a review and pictures to go along with it. My belief has always been that if I received something, even buying full price, I leave a review so that people know the good/bad/ugly of the products. I have only had one seller email me to change my rating because they didn’t like my honest opinion, I never changed because I’m giving my “honest and unbiased opinion”.

    If I was a seller, I wouldn’t give my product’s out without the review. It’s not that I don’t trust people that get freebies, it’s just some will take advantage of the system and ruin it for us reviewers that work hard for our review reputations.

  23. If you are familiar with the reputation.com business model, you know that the point of encouraging reviews is just to make sure that everyone who buys a product leaves a review. People who are the most motivated to leave a review are the generally cranky-pants who had a bad experience. The majority of customers are perfectly satisfied with the product or service but don’t leave a review because they got what they expected. If a new seller is only getting bad reviews while they work the bugs out but no one is hearing from the satisfied customers, then the reviews are skewed. Since RK follows up with buyers to make sure they’re happy, see if they need anything and encourage them to leave a review, you are right. They are providing a valuable service, BECAUSE they don’t use pressure tactics to “force” 5-star reviews. Even the 3-star reviews are valuable, because they show the whole picture.

    I do think that for these reasons, this site can still work very well for those sellers who are start-ups and just need to get a foot in the door.

  24. Totally agree with you. Although, some of us long winded reviewers do put in the “review will be updated ASAP if product fails to live up to rating…”

  25. It surely will change the game to a certain extent. However, as a seller, we mainly would like to see our sales are going up to have a better ranking. We will continue to sell at a discount and will always expect a review. It’s just that it’s not “required” anymore. Some reviewers do not bother to write at all which is very disappointing to any seller. Agree with one of the sellers above that it would be great to see a reviewer’s performance as to what percentage of the discounted purchased products they write reviews to so sellers can give away expensive products without much risk. Honest reviewers and sellers will not be impacted much I believe. Scammers will…

  26. If you received it for free or at a discount, it is now against policy to even write the review in the first place. Amazon is going to start banning even more reviewers who continue to write reviews on discounted coupon items.

  27. Your AccountAmazon.comMessage From Customer ServiceHello,

    This is DAVE from Amazon.com Customer Support. 

    Customer reviews are one of the most important and visible Communities functions on our site. They help customers make better purchasing decisions.

    After reviewing the details, I can confirm that you successfully submitted your review on (Wireless Phone Accessory) and upon further research there was no changes on our policy for giving us your feedback. 

    To submit a review of an item on Amazon.com, visit the item’s product detail page and click the “Write a customer review” link.  

    You’ll be asked to sign in to your Amazon.com account. All reviewers must have a password-protected Amazon.com account, used for at least $50.00 in purchases with a valid credit or debit card, from Amazon.com. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don’t qualify toward the $50.00 minimum.

    You’ll find helpful information in the fine print listed on the review submission form. Please also take a look at our Customer Review Creation Guidelines for information about acceptable review content:

    http://amazon.com/help/customer-reviews-guidelines

    Customer feedback like yours really helps us continue to improve our store and provide better service to our customers, and I thank you for choosing Amazon.com. 

    We look forward to seeing you again soon.
    We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

    Best regards,
    DAVE

    Did I solve your problem?
    Yes No

    Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.

    Thank you.Amazon.com

    Original Message
    ————— 
    10/03/16 19:34:51 
    Your Name: K
    Comments:I understand there were some policies changed. Can u clarify…. If I receive a discount on a product and by my own choice choosing to leave a product review the FTC requirements state that i must leave disclaimer…… Do I just not review? Or risk it with FTC?  Please advise how to handle further transactions of this nature. 
    Thanks,  K
    ————— 

  28. Although I am new to this site, I am still willing to write reviews or do video reviews about products, even if it it’s no longer required. Selling a portion of product for discount or giving free samples is still a good way to get your product out there. There are still honest people, including myself, that would happily do a review on a product to get it for free or at a discount, to help promote products they truly support or believe in.

    I am currently in the process of writing a series of books that I was planning to sell through the Amazon e-book marketplace. I am going to need people to read and do reviews on my book and was planning to do that through the free copies option. A site like this would allow me to get (hopefully) honest reviews about it to encourage others to either rent or possibly buy my books. It would also give me a venue that would work better then just e-mailing friends and family and asking them to spread the word around through word-of-mouth. I hope sites like this are around when the time comes to put my books out.

  29. I understand why Amazon did this however they could have gone about it a different way. After much thought I have decided to still leave a disclaimer just reword it to…I did receive this product at a promotional discount but I was not requested or obligated to leave a review. I think this would fall in a loop hole. They never said you can’t get a discount they just said you can’t be expected to leave a review.

  30. I am posting the following verbiage with each review I choose to add comments and not just stars to, until I hear otherwise:

    *****I received this product for free or at a discounted price without any expectations or compensation in return. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I am not affiliated with the seller or company and make no promises of a good rating while reviewing the product. I do not receive any benefit from giving only positive reviews, and I will certainly give a negative review for a product if it should be warranted.

  31. When will the platform be changed to follow the new guidelines? As a new PL seller, I’ve initially been looking at AMZTracker for giveaways, but it seems I’ll be using ReviewKick instead because you guys are the first (or one of the first) review groups to acknowledge this and change your site to follow Amazon’s new guidelines.

    Looking forward to giving away products which may or may not result in a review!

    1. I used to use AmzTracker, which is free for me because we use other of their services and were grandfathered in after they started charging. I vastly prefer Review Kick. There is much more useful information in my dashboard and the reporting is better. I also use Tomoson but find the reviewers here more professional. I do like that I can contact reviewers directly on Tomoson, but end up spending an inordinate amount of time on that platform. Review Kick is so much faster.

  32. I do hope this means sites such as ReviewKick and their wonderful sellers can continue. I love reviewing items but I understand that Amazon is probably taking action because of a few sellers/reviewers that have been a bit manipulative.

    I will continue to post reviews because I enjoy it and it’s a game I play with myself to see my ranking. And hopefully this will take away some of the issues when we review more than one item from a seller and worry that Amazon may think there’s a ‘relationship’. I have found such wonderful products here and such great sellers. Hopefully, this will results in an even better experience for everyone!

  33. I personally believe, at the end of the day, Amazon is OK with what was going on i.e. offering products in exchange of reviews, but since the condition stated that reviewer must disclose it, reviewers had to leave a note. That didn’t sit well with many folks and blog posts started coming up, how it is unfair for some people to get free products. Amazon just doesn’t want that line, at the same time, it doesn’t want to be looked as they are promoting this. This is just a show from Amazon that they are cracking down on free/discounted products in exchange of the reviews. In reality, they are OK with the promotions and the reviews.

    In all honesty, I have personally benefitted from incentivised reviews. Otherwise, there are very few reviewers who review in depth. Just ‘great product, highly recommended’ doesn’t tell you anything.

  34. This is a good change for sellers, we are not screwed, lol. My first products from 3 years ago took a hit this year from multiple product copies that were made in China. All of my reviews were organic. I watched the new product copies come in and blow my review count away in less than two weeks with of them all having a disclaimer. I have just noticed a recent recovery for my products, I think because of the Chinese quality based on their organic negative reviews. Now it will only get better again for my products, especially if they wipe out my competition reviews. I now have a 3 year old product that is back in a number 1 seller position and ranking 1st page for 33 search terms as of this morning. I have never been a fan of reviews for compensation because of the reciprocity placed on the reviewer. Normally, changes made on Amazon benefit sellers that are doing the right thing.

  35. I think we still need to add a disclosure as the government requires it, but we just have to take out some wording and add some new wording. Here is what I am going to be putting in at the bottom of my reviews for right now:

    I did purchase this product with a promotional discount.
    I was in no means required to write a review – I just wanted to.
    The above is my honest opinion.
    I received absolutely no compensation for this review.
    I am in no way associated with the seller.

  36. Speaking from a sellers viewpoint, I do not think this will have much impact on the review sites.
    Amazon is trying to get rid of ‘incentivized’ reviews. That being said websites like RK simply needs to remove the review requirement.
    The process I go through to approve reviewers is:
    1) Sort ‘Amazon Ranking’ Column to show lowest number first
    2) Look at Reviewer Profiles that are average 5*.
    3) Look at the number of ‘Helpful’ votes
    4) Approve the ones I like.
    My suggestion to RK is to now add a column ‘Last Review’ that will show us (sellers) how long ago the last review was left. RK does not need to keep track of whether or not the Reviewer has reviewed their RK products, just provide sellers with the data of when their last review was written. Yesterday, 2 days ago, 30 days ago. etc.
    Sure, we can see this when looking at the Reviewer Profile (step #2) but it will make it more seller friendly by not having to look at certain profiles.
    Obviously the inactive Reviewers will find themselves not ever getting approved.
    DISCLAIMER: Is no longer needed because you were not incentivized by “Leave a Review or Lose Your Privileges”.
    This does not violate any FTC laws!
    Think about it this way:
    If you buy something at WalMart (or where ever) for 75% off. Are you required to leave a review on Walmart.com?
    If you decide to leave a product review……. Do you leave a disclaimer? No, because you were not incentivized to do so and you are not breaking any laws.
    If Reviewers and Sellers don’t come together on something the days of the FREE or Deeply Discounted products are gone. RK will basically be a site where sellers will be covering product costs and FBA fees.
    Personally, I don’t mind eating product cost and FBA fee’s for an honest review. On new products I need the reviews to get the ball rolling so I can begin advertising campaigns via PPC, FB etc.
    That is my 2 cents worth and IMO it this only adds 1 more step for sellers to consider before approving Reviewers.

    1. i love this, perfect reply i coudnt agree any more.

      this is what i was going to add to certain outgoing emails also:

      (your store) is offering 50 products at 75%(or wte off) discount for a limited time to show appreciation for our loyal customers. Please enjoy the savings! Also, if you enjoyed the product and had the time to leave a product review, we would greatly appreciate it!”

      that should work too, but i love your idea for rk to show when was the last time the reviewer reviewed. genius.

      1. Yes Sir!
        This will give sellers (RK’s Income) a simple solution to eliminate the deadbeats.
        They already have ‘Block From My Future Products’ so IMO it’s a great solution without putting RK owners in legal jeopardy.
        IMO this will put RK leaps and bounds above their competitors!
        Realistically, I love to give our quality products to top Reviewers for free……. but………. I do need those reviews to take me to the next leg of our journey which is Amazon, FB and Adwords PPC.
        Now, we are face with a problem………… If reviewers MUST put the DISCLAIMER in their opinion I DON”T WANT THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Reviewers have to realize things have changed and the ‘DISCLAIMER” is no longer required and will actually hurt the seller if not get them banned.
        I’m laying low on RK until the reviewers reach their inner peace with right or wrong.
        Other sellers such as myself know where we can obtain the reviews needed without all this drama.

    2. This is exactly how I see this, too. If we’re not *required* to leave a review, there is no need for a disclaimer if we simply *want* to leave a review, much like if I bought something on Prime Day at a huge discount, I don’t write a disclaimer about that if I’m reviewing that product. I’ve actually done this in the past with another site that specifically states that reviews are not a requirement, thus, no disclaimer is needed (and I always wrote a review, btw).

      1. I thought of Prime Day as well. This is exactly my thought in all this. I leave reviews because I depend on reviews. I hate the fluff reviews as much as anyone. To me it’s a disservice in itself. I hope this lack of requirement works quickly and weeds that kind of stuff out. You an tell when someone was writing because they had to.

    3. You mentioned you look at the reviewers number of helpful votes – are you aware that reviewers who trashed a product often got the most helpful votes?

  37. I wonder if providing products, particularly new products, to “reviewers” for the purpose of independent product testing (rather than reviewing) would allow us to continue operating.
    If the product is provided for the purpose of testing and the results are reported directly to the seller (maybe by a new option within RK), then we’re not violating the Amazon TOS relating reviews. Any reviews that a “reviewer” may or may not leave would be at their discretion. The “reviewer” would probably still have to leave a disclaimer, but as an independent tester. I’m not sure if this would count as a “business associate” under the TOS though…

    ” …not allowed, including:
    Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.”

    Then, rather than watching for reviews, RK could monitor for feedback to the seller and use this to ensure “reviewers” are keeping their accounts up to date.

  38. Posted yesterday on Amazon’s Blog:

    Update on Customer Reviews
    October 3, 2016

    Customer reviews are one of the most valuable tools we offer customers for making informed purchase decisions, and we work hard to make sure they are doing their job. In just the past year, we’ve improved review ratings by introducing a machine learned algorithm that gives more weight to newer, more helpful reviews; applying stricter criteria to qualify for the Amazon verified purchase badge; and suspending, banning or suing thousands of individuals for attempting to manipulate reviews.

    Our community guidelines have always prohibited compensation for reviews, with an exception – reviewers could post a review in exchange for a free or discounted product as long as they disclosed that fact. These so-called ‘incentivized reviews’ make up only a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of reviews on Amazon, and when done carefully, they can be helpful to customers by providing a foundation of reviews for new or less well-known products.

    Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program. We launched Vine several years ago to carefully facilitate these kinds of reviews and have been happy with feedback from customers and vendors. Here’s how Vine works: Amazon – not the vendor or seller – identifies and invites trusted and helpful reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release products; we do not incentivize positive star ratings, attempt to influence the content of reviews, or even require a review to be written; and we limit the total number of Vine reviews that we display for each product. Vine has important controls in place and has proven to be especially valuable for getting early reviews on new products that have not yet been able to generate enough sales to have significant numbers of organic reviews. We also have ideas for how to continue to make Vine an even more useful program going forward. Details on that as we have them.

    The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.

    Thank you.

    – Chee Chew, VP, Customer Experience

  39. I have been a responsible and honest reviewer for over a year now. I ALWAYS leave reviews for products I purchase on Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, Target ect…..

    I just recently (july 2016) got into the review clubs/groups. I have gotten MANY discounted/free items and I have reviewed them just the same as if they were not discounted or free.
    I tell it like it is. If a product is junk I will review it as such. I have NOT been swayed to leave more positive reviews on inferior products.

    I love reviewing products, it is my hobby. I think it fun and I feel like I am helping consumers decide on purchases. As a consumer and not a seller, of course I am on the buyer side of things,. Sellers only benefit from my reviews if the product deserves a positive review.

    As I have reviewed MANY products with the old required disclaimer “I received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review” My main concern as a reviewer with a ranking (as of today) in the Top 3000’s is this…..What will happen to my old reviews with this disclaimer? Will Amazon wipe them out? I have heard people saying they noticed tons of their reviews were GONE.

    If this is the case, how can Amazon get away with erasing reviews that complied with the TOS at the time they were posted? I am just speculating, maybe this is not the case, and I truly hope it is not. But I fear all of my hard work, and other REAL genuine reviewers hard work will be erased. This is VERY concerning to myself and many others.

    I posted quite a few reviews yesterday and 1 of them was not accepted. I could not figure out why…I edited it and resubmitted it 4 times, every time it was denied. Today I resubmitted it WITHOUT the usual disclaimer and VOILA it went right through. I am NOT suggesting that anyone should leave a disclaimer out, but from my own interpretation of the new VAGUE TOS, I have decided to review ALL products, discounted or not, the EXACT same way. I am not going to leave a disclaimer anymore unless I am told by Amazon that it is needed. I do not leave them when I get a 20% or other discount from company advertising e-mails, so what is the difference? **I did receive this product at 20% off with a coupon , but my review is still honest and unbiased**?? LMAO that is just ridiculous.

    Or even better how about this one??? **I did receive this product at a discount provided by Amazon Promotional credits, and those said credits only apply to products that are sold and shipped BY AMAZON” Or “I did receive this product by using an Amazon digital giftcard ect…” Or “I received this product t no charge because I signed up for the AMAZON credit card**
    Think about it…. How many emails to complete amazon product review/ feedback do you get after you purchase an item by amazon??? who is running the biggest promos??? who is getting the most reviews? Are these not incentive’s ? But the loop holes that the big lawyers on Amazon’s side totally have them covered.

    Personally I think it’s BS that the disclaimer was ever required to begin with. If the review sites and the sellers would be a little pickier on who they pick to review products, then there would not be a S-Ton of one sentence reviews from the people that are only in it for the freebies or the discounted products. Plus it also makes certain people disregard ANY review with the disclaimer. It stinks that the bad apples ruin all the good ones.

    I really hope if Amazon is doing review purges that it will only be those one-liner reviewers that get purged. I put A LOT of effort into my reviews, and in the past 4 months I have really improved them. I take this seriously because in my opinion NOTHING is ever “FREE”. Yes I have gotten items for $0, but MY TIME and effort is a precious commodity. I “work” for the products….and I work for the good ones and the bad ones. I could be actually making some money with the time I spend on writing reviews.

    This whole change is VERY disturbing in a lot of ways. Amazons updated TOS should have been completely ironed out and explained before implementing them. I feel confused and overwhelmed with this mess.
    Sorry for the rant, I just sort of WENT OFF over here!

    1. First off, I wanted to say that none of my reviews have gone missing. I think they’re probably doing it on a case-by-case basis, and if you have a lot of reviews that appear “inflated’ (i.e. most of your reviews are 5-star) or the review was clearly just written because the reviewer was incentivized to (those one-liners where the disclaimer is bigger than the review) then you’re in danger of losing old reviews, but if your reviews are honest and unbiased you’ll be okay. Obviously, this is just a gut feeling, as who even knows what’s going on over at ole Amazon today, but this would be the smart way to proceed with a minimum uproar from their user base.

      As far as the disclaimer, it wasn’t required by Amazon, it’s required by the FTC to prevent incentivized endorsements or reviews from skewing public opinion. Basically, the FTC’s wording is “If the discount you received could have possibly influenced what you said about the product in any way, you need to disclose.” Which makes the disclaimer portion of things a super gray area right now. What I’m thinking of doing is disclosing discounts, but in a much more organic and natural way, such as “I got a discount for this, but it is totally worth full price,” or on the other side of the coin, “I received this item for free and still think I paid too much,” lol. At least until I see something official from either Amazon or the FTC themselves about how to proceed in this situation.

      I totally agree that Amazon went about this all wrong. You don’t drop a bomb like this and say “Effective RIGHT NOW.” You give lead time for people to ask questions, voice concerns, get clarity and transparency. Just abruptly changing a policy that is so fundamental to so many sellers (and buyers!) without so much as a peep of warning stinks to high heaven, but here we are.

    2. It appears that Amazon is being very, very inconsistent on what they’re accepting versus what they’re rejecting *sigh.*

      I’ve left 2 reviews since the change in TOS and both have been accepted. I am still attaching a disclaimer, which reads “I am a product tester and as such did receive this product at a discount, however I am not required or requested to write any form of review in order to receive the discount.”

      Amazon having accepted these makes me believe that I should continue to use this disclaimer; however, in your case you’re getting rejected.

      So the saga continues… everyone is left guessing at whether or not we should be announcing that we got these items for free or at a discount.

      P.S. I share your frustration at the 1-liner reviews, which fail to qualify or quantify what was liked vs disliked.

      1. I think the disclaimer tip off is “DISCOUNT IN EXCHANGE FOR REVIEW”. From what I am reading on other forums and it makes sense considering your reviews with your disclaimer does not mention this, and yours were approved.

        I did get the email today stating some of my reviews will be removed. So far (5 hours later) I think if any, maybe one is missing??
        I will paste it below in case you were lucky enough to not get this.

        “Hello,

        Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.

        Your reviewing privileges will not be affected by this action, but you will not be able to resubmit the reviews that were removed.

        To learn about our review policies, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).”

        Oh Amazon, you are so coy with your wording! What exactly do you mean by “excessive” and if we left a disclaimer on our reviews prior to the TOS change, then that would comply with previous policy….right?
        The masterminds behind amazon’s TOS would make for some awesome cult leaders with their manipulation skills.

  40. I’m leaving reviews and writing the sellers to let them know. There is no need for a disclaimer anymore as noted by CJ above. If we get a gift from family or a friend, we don’t have to leave a disclaimer. I’m not a review writer for a living, so why in the world would I be expected to know what the FTC says or wants? I’m just a consumer who buys a lot of stuff on Amazon and gets some discounts for a few things from RK. I like to leave reviews for others because I rely on them heavily for my purchases. I don’t really care if RK sellers send me stuff or not. If I need it I buy it at full price. Writing reviews is fun for me, and helpful for others. I never request products that I think will be junk from RK, that helps me keep my integrity which is way more inportant than getting free stuff. So I think if you are writing honest reviews, just keep doing so–this TOS change is to get rid of the bogus stuff out there, and man there is a lot of it, and that stuff is bad for everyone!

    1. Good stuff K.D.!!!
      We wanted to offer 100% of our stuff USA made but absolutely could not find a U.S. manufacturer for dog collars or other pet products which is truly sad. We sampled samples after samples to find a good quality product from China and it truly is a good product. I’ve seen videos of our Non Waterproof LED collars on dogs in lakes etc etc and they survived.
      Most of our RK items are 100% off and I really enjoy seeing reviews from people like yourself and really enjoy seeing photos/videos of your pet. In my way of thinking……… If we have a good product why should the customer have to even pay a dime to test it for us.
      But, now the tides have changed…………….. As a seller offering you 100% OFF I have 0 guarantee that you will give us feedback. Hopefully as a seller on RK we will have some sort of hint that you are an active reviewer that will provide good feedback to the man/company that just ate $10+ to provide you a sample.
      It’s a sad world for both sides!

      1. CJ I am being very careful with reviews right now. I buy so much at full price that I am writing a review for a few full price things, and then adding in one of my RK items and it has been fine. I’m a little worried about the free things though. I will have one coming up soon and I’m worried they will kick it back. If they do, I think the best thing I could do would be to post it here. I am an honest reviewer and I do not want to break any rules, but I also feel that limiting reviews from the many who are like I am is very wrong on Amazon’s part. I am hoping this is just a knee jerk reaction on their part and they will be able to somehow revise what they are doing to be more fair to everyone while getting rid of the bogus stuff which I find annoying and detrimental. It’s a work in progress, so I am guessing there will be a good solution eventually, but it sure makes me nervous right now. BTW I have had one of that type of dog collar for years. They are very cool!

  41. In addition to my “RANT” I would like to add that I am pretty sure Sellers have Blacklisted me because I have left 1 and 2 star reviews, and that is FINE with me. I have no problem with not being approved for inferior products. If a seller is genuine and looking for a REAL review then I feel they will choose me.

    Also I do feel for the sellers that are trying to get their products out there…product launches are great if the product is great. I have been VERY pleased with quite a few products that I would not normally buy or even think to search for. I of course received these “not so sure about” items at discounts. After getting them and testing them out I have been ecstatic to have tried the product! And found something that I really love, and would/will buy again and recommend to family and friends, buy more as gifts ect….that I would have not stumbled across any other way.

    To serious Reviewers….I am just as lost as you are and worried about these “Changes”

    To Sellers….If you have a good business and a great product (Which many of you do!) I really also feel bad for you too. I sure hope I, and others will be able to find you all and your good product launches in the future.

    Maybe this will all be for the best (and not just benefiting Amazon alone) The proud and great sellers and reviewers will hopefully rise above.

  42. I just added two reviews. On both, within the review I said that I had used a coupon, and nothing more. Both were accepted. I know it’s only the first full day, but I’m hopeful.

    1. Robin, not bashing you by any means but STOP the coupon, Discount, FREE bs!
      Now it is not required by LAW and I would turn you down on my offers if I saw this in your profile because you would be putting my seller account in jeopardy!
      Read Amazon’s statement, compare it with the FTC and none of this applies anymore. Amazon dropped the hammer but they had a dumbass guiding it 😉

      1. That was just the initial reaction to not knowing what to do at all. I was reading all day yesterday. Reactions on Amazon and on Facebook.
        Now I see the way things are going, I’m thrilled to drop all of that! I actually think about the reviews I write and I always thought it made them completely illegitimate. I might even go back and take it out of all my reviews…

      2. I am afraid that if we use a code that Amazon will watch to see if we leave any reviews at all. I is there a way to not use a code. Then I will go back to leaving lengthy product tested reviews with absolutely no disclosure needed. What goes on outside amazon is none of their business.

  43. Every time you buy a product on Amazon that you like, and never leave an organic review, Chuck Norris gets angry which increases global warming.

  44. I was given a code for a product i really wanted to try. I have been following the Rev Kick review policies. When i went to purchase my item the code did not work. So i emailed the seller as i have in the past. The seller said since the new Amazon policy went out they ended there campaign and would give me 20% off. That they really didn’t need the sales or reviews that much.
    So is this what will happen with sellers out there? I hope not. There are a lot of great products i have purchased again at regular price and told my family and friends about. They all have bought what i have recommended. At the full price. They will usually wait for me to order it and try it out before they purchase.
    Well i guess time will tell when it comes to the review sites. I hope they don’t go away. They work the best for sellers and reviewers.

  45. When you review a product that you purchased from a store, do you write “I got this product on sale”? I don’t. Since you are not receiving the product at a discount or for free in exhange for a review, I think no disclaimer is needed.

  46. I’m trying to navigate this like everybody else, and don’t want to add useless radio chatter, but here is my interpretation:

    According to the FTC Endorsement Guidelines FAQ, (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking) the FTC has no authority over gifts or samples, or other free items as long as there were no strings attached. The important wording is, “…Nor is it an issue if you get the product for free because a store is giving out free samples to its customers.” Examples:
    —-You can review a food item you sampled for free at Costco without a disclaimer.
    —-You can review an item you received in a conference gift bag without a disclaimer.
    —-You can review a blender that your parents gave you as a birthday gift without a disclaimer.
    —-You can review an item that fell out the sky onto your front lawn without a disclaimer.

    But what about Amazon? Here’s my interpretation: They are only disallowing reviews for free/discounted products that were accepted in exchange for review, or to put it another way, free/discounted products that were given on the condition of a review being left. That doesn’t mean that you can’t review *any and all* free or discounted items. For example, it’s perfectly fine to review an item that is:
    —-Bought on sale
    —-Received as a free sample
    —-Found in a trade show or conference gift bag
    —-Received as a birthday gift
    —-A hand-me-down, or something donated to you. et cetera.

    As long as you meet their minimum $50 spend for all accounts: you are not required to have bought the reviewed item on Amazon. You are not required to have paid full price. You are not required to have paid at all. Sure, you won’t have the “Verified Purchase” marking, but who cares? I’ve posted many Amazon reviews for things that I felt strongly about, but were purchased elsewhere (positive for lifechanging products, negative for hazardous or pseudoscientific products) because I want people to know. I’ve posted reviews for all sorts of birthday and Xmas gifts and gadgets—and I certainly didn’t pay for those.

    So I think the key phrase is “….IN EXCHANGE FOR….” If there was an obligation, contractual requirement, or expectation that you would write a review as a quid pro quo for a free or discounted product, that’s no longer allowed. But if you were given a gift, a free sample, or it was beamed down to you by aliens, you are still allowed to post reviews, and you do not have to use a disclaimer.

    Hope this helps—and if anyone else has better intel than me, or a more accurate interpretation, then please feel free to correct me—I’m not offended, and I’m looking for answers like everyone else.

    1. I am afraid that if I leave a review for any product purchased with a code or gift card they will flag that purchase. Once again is there no way to purchase these things without a discount code? How I bought it is none of their business.

  47. Something just happened with the last two reviews I posted without a disclaimer as I chose to leave a review (one was positive the other negative) not required, etc., they both got removed as soon as they went live.
    I got the emails from Amazon stating my reviews were live but after clicking the link they were both gone. When I tried to repost I couldn’t due to suspected bias.

    It appears that any product review for an item sold for an amount under the listed price is being taken down if a disclaimer is not posted with it. When I use the FTC disclaimer my reviews have not been removed.

    Side note: Many sellers are now acting really stupidly by asking for reviews via the Amazon marketplace messaging system, which is monitored by Amazon. I would not be surprised if those businesses were being tagged for review removals immediately.

    Last night I received 24 reqests via “follow up” emails from sellers asking point blank for a review.

    If I am going to give a review it will not be to someone who is asking me to violate terms of service…I’m on the fence about reporting them all as Amazon already knows what was reqested of me & if I don’t report them I look like I am just as shady.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      From what I understand as a seller based on Amazon’s TOS it is completely acceptable to send follow up emails to customers to request a review. No doubt some emails are worded better than others, and hopefully sellers sending emails actually care about their product, the customers experience, and feedback. For example, I send follow up emails to customers asking if they would mind leaving a review. . .but I also mention that if they are not happy for any reason for them to please contact me so I may address any issues or concerns they may have. I do this because–yes ideally I would like the customer to leave a review–but it is a way stay in touch with my customers and offer customer service. . .if my customers are not happy with their product, or it arrived damaged, etc, I want to know so I can fix it. So again as far as I know, asking for a review, and offering customer service via Amazon email is ok and common. . .if not PLEASE correct me:)

  48. None of my amazon reviews are missing. However, my product requests are not getting any love. I haven’t received any coupon codes in two days. I think this might be the end of Review Kick free or very low discounted product reviews.

  49. I have had a bunch of old reviews dating back to August removed. It appears as though they will allow me to rewrite some of them – although I haven’t tried – but when I click on the stars the box is there for me to write in. However, many of them when I click on the stars I get this…Sorry, we are unable to accept your review of this product for either one or both of the following reasons:
    Your previous review of this product did not comply with our Customer Reviews Guidelines. Amazon does not permit reviews from customers whose relationship to the product or seller may be perceived as biased.
    I have no idea what they’re talking about, the reviews they removed were no different than any other review I have written in the past.

  50. It would be better for sellers to contact Amazon directly about having your items listed for lightning deals, deal of the day, prime deals, and their vine program! Stop using these middle-man companies who have no affiliation with Amazon at all! WORK WITH AMAZON DIRECTLY and you will profit more!

  51. A sad day for dishonest sellers and a great day for honest sellers. Your practices have undermined the Amazon marketplace and destroyed numerous small businesses who played by the rules while upstart sellers saturated the marketplace with cheap products and fake reviews. I realize many of you do not understand the cumalive impact of sites like this on real sellers, but it has been severe. If you have any shred of integrity and do fully understand the impact, you should be ashamed. It will be interesting to see how sites like Reviewkick try to talk their way out of the lawsuits that are coming.

  52. I just left 3 reviews with NO disclaimer. They were approved. If we get “banned” as some people say….banned from who and what?

  53. As a seller who just recently discovered Review Kick, I am extremely disappointed to arrive at Review Kick at apparently the worst possible moment. We started posting our product prior to the release of the new TOS, and have continued to post our product In spite of the new Amazon TOS. We still offered our heavily discounted products in hopes we could make our Amazon Custom Product launch a success. Hundreds of coupons and products given out at heavily discounted rates, and only 3 reviews posted. I understand that the new TOS do not require reviewers to leave a review, but to have less than 2% leave a review is less than what we expect from our own marketing efforts.

    I can promise you that if results are similar for other sellers, we will not stick around very long.

    1. From a reviewer’s standpoint, at the moment I’m still trying to figure out exactly /how/ to leave a review, if the disclosure is still required, if Amazon is going to flag any reviews left for items purchased at a discount, etc. The information coming from Amazon is very inconsistent right now, so to be on the safe side I’m not reviewing right now, but rest assured, once I get a clearer picture of how to go about reviewing without losing my Amazon account, I will be catching up on the products I currently have and want to review. So I would say the 2% number is probably not what you’ll see overall, it’s more a matter of a lot of us are waiting for the dust to settle so we can go about reviewing in the right way to make all parties happy.

    2. You may want to give it some time. Some reviewers like to test products for about a week to make sure that they give a good, detailed review and don’t prematurely give a glaring review that’s undeserved. It’s pretty rare that I receive a product and immediately review it. I like to spend some time with it first and make sure that it at least has the appearance of quality.

  54. Amazon write: “Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.”

    Which means all of our reviews of products purchased for free or at a discount are going to be deleted? That is not fair…

    1. You didn’t finish-
      Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.

      Your reviewing privileges will not be affected by this action, but you will not be able to resubmit the reviews that were removed.

      To learn about our review policies, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines)

  55. You should delete that whole review. Sorry, but amazon is banning people and the level of banning varies. Two people I know of were completely banned from even shopping at Amazon. I cleared my whole history of coupons reviews since I use my prime account extensively for TV, regular priced shopping, and even groceries.

    Review Kick this is for you – to continue as a business, I would shrink and become a kind of affiliate site. If sellers want to drop the price for so many units they can (I know amazon has pricing rules and I don’t know them). Then you can link to those price dropped items, say when the sale starts and how many units they have for sale. Then the “sale” is open to every amazon shopper, reviewers can still get deals, and it’s a verified purchase within the ToS. Works for more selling platforms than just amazon too.

  56. I have not had any reviews removed as of yet. I have also left several reviews on products received via RK and have had NO disclosure on them. I think this idea has backfired a bit from the folks at Amazon. I don’t think they thought it out well enough because now what you have is a lot of people leaving reviews for products via RK (or other site) and NO disclosure at all. It doesn’t matter either way for me since I’m going to blast a product if it’s truly a POS…free, discounted, or full price. Honestly though, if something has the appearance of that, I won’t request it (who would want to?).

    I did notice that my maximum number of deals has changed twice now. I wonder what changes are heading our way. Either way, I appreciate my time spent with RK and the opportunities that RK has provided. I hope it continues on.

  57. I’ve reviewed maybe 5 RK items. I just started with the site. Suddenly I wasn’t being approved for anything. Amazon deleted every review I’ve EVER made in 10 yrs regardless of if it had a “discount disclaimer”. I also can’t go back and do anything with any of them

    Since sellers won’t approve anyone with no reviews, it would appear this site is now not beneficial to me. 🙁

  58. Does anyone happen to know how you can tell if you have a review removed because of this new policy? I have noticed that I have three items showing up in my “items to review” list on Amazon that I know I have reviewed in the past because I save all of my email confirmations from Amazon. When I click the link to those reviews from the email, I get the “Page not found” with a Dog.

    Obviously this most likely means they have been removed, but it is odd to me that they are there in my list for me to review again. I am not going to tempt fate and try to review them again (sorry, sellers) because I like my account working and not banned. There was nothing special about the three that were removed, though. Nothing “excessive” about them. It seems rather arbitrary that they were removed at all.

    I have a queue of things to review. Some items from just before Amazon swung the axe on the whole thing and a few items I ordered after the fact. I am going to review the items I bought afterwards and not leave a disclaimer because I was specifically told I am under no obligation to review them. The items before the policy change though — I’m having a tough time with writing those reviews. I did in fact buy them in exchange for a review. And knowing now that Amazon is deleting reviews from before the policy change makes me not want to risk it. I was hoping they would allow a “grace period” for those reviews and not be retroactive dicks about it. Alas, they are, and following the rules by the letter means I would be in violation of the TOS if I review those items purchased just before the policy change. Sorry, sellers!

    This change is really a nightmare. I have enjoyed writing all of my reviews and was always “fair” and “honest” about the whole thing. I know there are others who weren’t — those who would have a one sentence review and then six or more lines about “how they review” or a long “disclosure” would particularly annoy the “f” out of me. Those reviews aren’t really responsible for this change but since I’m venting I thought I would throw that in.

  59. I left 5 reviews on amazon with no problem, i included that i got the item at a very low price…bingo my review was approved. i think we just have to be very careful about amazon policy and disclaimer

  60. I contacted Amazon yesterday to get a clear understanding of what we are allowed to do and what we are not allowed to do….. it isn’t as simple as I thought it was going to be. I changed up my disclosure and asked them if I put in there that I was not asked or rewarded for giving a review but that I am leaving it as I would for any other product would that be ok? I also told them that I wanted to stay FTC compliant and I was trying to find a way to do that. This is an exact copy of what I was told in the response email:
    “Hello,

    Thank you for contacting Amazon. Thi​s is Leonard from the Communities team.​

    We do not permit reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including free or discounted copies of the product.

    For more details, please see our Community Guidelines:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201602680

    Moreover, Thank you for sharing your concerns. We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review, whether or not a review is expressly required. These reviews are prohibited, whether or not the benefit is disclosed in the review. We will be taking action against anyone who uses review clubs to manipulate reviews.

    We appreciate your feedback and will continue to improve the Community. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

    We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

    Best regards,”

    So…. as I read this we are expressly not allowed to leave reviews for ANY item we buy with a promo code. It isn’t something I really want to play around with since amazon can tell when we use the promo code. As for those of you who said you left a review that was approved please be careful. I was in the process of doing my daily reviews when these new rules came out. They were all accepted but I got a warning from amazon the next day about it. I hate this as I was an honest reviewer. If the item did not live up to my expectations I said that in my review, if it was an awesome product I said that too. I have spent many hours writing these reviews and it really makes me very upset that they are taking down the hundreds of reviews I have left before this change took place. I followed the rules and now they are taking them away as well. If I was a seller I would be livid!!

    1. I would say that’s incorrect. The whole deal hinges on the FTC stuff, which IMO is completely irrelevant. If that were the case, any time you receive any free sample you’d be bound by law to disclose it, should you choose to review it. Or, in our case, ANYTHING that’s discounted. It’s rubbish. People are over-analyzing this. Disclosures are simply no longer needed. If you mention it, then you’re tying a free or discounted product to your review, hence manipulating reviews. Just continue reviewing items objectively, like you SHOULD have already been doing before all of this nonsense, and leave no indication that you received any discount whatsoever. That’s the only logical conclusion.

  61. I’ve left numerous reviews without a disclaimer with no issue. However, this morning I went to leave some reviews and noticed some older ones were “waiting to be reviewed” that I’d already done. 7 of them to be exact. This is funny considering one of them was ONE STARRED!!! Seriously Amazon? How exactly would my ONE STAR rating have been biased? This is BS…

  62. I emailed Amazon over the weekend inquiring about the review process. I understand that we cannot leave reviews that were given in exchange for a code, obviously. But what I am confused about is whether or not we can still leave a review without the disclaimer, “I received this item at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest review.” According to the policy change you can still leave a review, but according to FTC if you receive an item at a discounted rate you are required to post a disclaimer in the event you choose to leave a review. So I figured; “I received this item at a promotional rate”. Plain and simple. This should appease both Amazon, sellers, and FTC. Plus benefit me as seller will see I am an avid reviewer. Well not that easy. Like I said I emailed Amazon and they responded, which what I think is a cryptic email.
    “Hello,
    Thank you for contacting Amazon. Thi​s is Leonard from the Communities team.​

    We do not permit reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including free or discounted copies of the product.

    For more details, please see our Community Guidelines:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201602680

    Moreover, Thank you for sharing your concerns. We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review, whether or not a review is expressly required. These reviews are prohibited, whether or not the benefit is disclosed in the review. We will be taking action against anyone who uses review clubs to manipulate reviews.

    We appreciate your feedback and will continue to improve the Community. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

    We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

    Best regards,
    Leonard L.”
    So what does that mean? I took it as if you leave a review they will assume it’s a “bought” review and deny it and I assume if you keep getting denied you will be blocked. So I deleted all my reviews that I wrote after the policy change just to be on the safe side. This will ensure that I receive fewer and fewer codes. This is a losing battle for everyone; Amazon will receive fewer orders resulting in fewer shipping and receiving transactions, sellers and reviewers for obvious reasons. Ugh!

  63. I’d also like to point out that I never received an email from Amazon support about them removing my reviews. So far 7 are gone and all were genuine and honest reviews. Such a crock of BS!

  64. The only approach I’m coming up with……… offer an Amazon Gift Card for the discount amount, and have the buyers purchase the item at full price and pay with the gift card.

  65. I’ve had one and that is it. I’m on a few sites and others don’t even have new deals up since the change. Another site all the offers I had pending were deleted. I check a few times a day and have not gotten any offers approved. Been doing this about a year now but not sure for how much longer.

  66. As a seller, I still don’t know if I can offer products on this website or not. Offering promotions still helps sales rankings even if a review is not attached to it. I would never want to risk my business, so I am trying to get an answer as to if I can offer promotions here without any issues from Amazon.

    1. My understanding is yes. They made it clear that promotions are fully allowed from sellers. No mention of 3rd party being restricted either. Many sellers use various methods for sales/marketing/promotions so I would think of this in no different terms. I think people are over-analyzing this. It’s more simple than people think I believe. RK addressed it off the bat by complying and saying “reviews are no longer requested or required”…therefore they are compliant…but truthfully the whole thing is just silly and ridiculous. It’s quite obvious that sellers WANT reviews of their products…why else would they run these kinds of promotions and “give” part of their profits away? It does suck for sellers who don’t get any return via reviews though because people can now take advantage and not review items. Personally, I have benefited from this so far because I’ve not be concerned with any time frames before reviewing things….allowing me to be more thorough in my testing of products.

  67. As a seller using RK, I have noticed on the page where you can choose who reviews your product there is no more details on the the reviewers (average star rating, type of reviews, number of reviews).

    Has this been removed by RK in response to the new Amazon terms?

    Probably yes, but I just wanted to read the responses. Thanks

    1. It is my guess this is because sellers are looking for people that will break the rules and make the posts on Amazon still. If a seller is offering a free item they’re obviously looking for those that will post to Amazon and not those that know it is a violation and won’t. I did not know this was what sellers see but it is something a lot of reviewers feel is wrong to have been shown on other sites and I’d imagine the feel the same here.

  68. I am confused about this sentence “We do not permit tying a free or discounted product or other benefit to a review, whether or not a review is expressly required.”…
    It would seem that even if you leave the disclaimer out… just the fact that you purchased your item at a discount makes you automatically not allowed to leave a review at all.
    As if to say: you can only leave reviews of item purchased at a full price.

    1. Pretty sure that is what Amazon had in mind…only having reviews for Verified Purchases and those done through the Vine Program. There are plenty of unethical sellers and reviewers that don’t care about Amazon policy or the FTC related laws and I’m sure plenty could care less about the ethics of it all. Up to you how you proceed but I’ve been turning down offers left and right unless that are okay with only having reviews on my YouTube channel with a link back to the listing.

  69. If I have an Amazon Seller account can I use my linked Buyer account as a reviewer? With this new change I’m not feeling too good about leaving reviews on products I received at a discount or for free…

  70. Nope. It’s not quite as simple as just giving product away. The algorithm includes dozens of metrics actually, and it’s a moot point, as these freebies and discounted wares given out to the fake reviewers aren’t given as much weight as a genuine sale.

  71. Why Amazon don’t hide reviewers emails on amazon.com ???

    If they don’t want “pro” reviews, they should begin to delete it !

    I think they love reviewers but not disclaimers ! lol

  72. I hadn’t received any notices about reviews being removed, however I just found a product in my history that I know I reviewed previously showing up under ‘Review Your Purchases’. I know I reviewed it previously because it had comments below it, and I compared it to a similar item I had purchased previously.

    I don’t mind that it’s removed, just find it odd that they’re showing it available for review again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *