Piggybacking off of yesterday’s article about Amazon removing “incentivized” reviews–that is, reviews that were based off of receiving a free or discounted product, as opposed to the notorious paid reviews–the retailer sent out an email last night announcing another change to its consumer guidelines. This time, the goal is to limit the number of reviews an Amazon user can post that are not directly linked to a verified purchase.
For some time, Amazon has given more weight to reviews that were based off an actual purchase. While some critics argued that it was just a tactic to make people spend more, the company has insisted it is all part of its efforts to make customer reviews trustworthy again.
However, the company recognizes that there are respected reviewers who receive products–especially from smaller manufacturers who are trying to build up their brand recognition–and are capable of writing an honest assessment of that product. This change is meant to strike a balance between verified product purchases and solicited reviews.
According to Amazon’s emailed announcement yesterday, “Shoppers consistently tell us that they value reviews from other shoppers who they know have purchased the product on Amazon. As a result, we are introducing a policy change around customer reviews. Customers can now only submit a limited number of non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week. The count is calculated each week from Sunday at 12:00am UTC through Saturday 11:59pm UTC. Your ability to submit Amazon Verified Purchase reviews will not be impacted. This policy also does not apply to Vine reviews or reviews on digital and physical books, music, and video.”
So where does that leave the book bloggers mentioned in yesterday’s article? Not to worry. As if they didn’t have enough trouble with having their book reviews called into question and removed from the site, Amazon did acknowledge that its new policy will not apply to digital or physical books, movies, or music.
Mercy Pilkington is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of a hybrid publishing and consulting company.