Amazon Cancels Incentivized Reviews

In a blog post, Amazon announced the end of incentivized reviews.

Amazon Reviews

Although the incentives were limited to customers who disclosed that they received a free or discounted product, the reviews were sponsored by companies, and Amazon will change that. Putting the reviews in perspective, Amazon wrote, "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."

The move is part of Amazon's goal of increasing trust in reviews. In the past, incentivized reviews meant better reviews: 4.74 stars out of 5 compared to 4.36.

Amazon will continue its Vine program, which encourages reviews but doesn't have the same reward system:

"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 incentivise 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."

Discussion Starters:

  • Analyze Chee Chew's blog post. Who are the primary and secondary audiences? What are the communications objectives, and how well does Chew achieve them? 
  • How would you describe the distinctions between the incentivized reviews and the Vine program? Are you convinced that Vine reviews will be objective?