Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Amazon's New TOS and What It Means For My Reviews *UPDATED*

**UPDATE**

So today 10-6-2016 I received an email from Amazon.

"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."

So I went and looked and they deleted over 100 of my reviews. Poof! Gone. Completely uncalled for. I'm sure I'm not the only one, I'm sure hundreds of people are getting this email and completely shocked that their reviews are now gone too.

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So yesterday Amazon changed their Terms of Service so that they no longer accept reviews for products that were given to people free or at a discount. A few people tried to submit reviews yesterday anyway and posted the email they received which said something like, "We're sorry, we could not accept your review because we no longer accept reviews for products that were given free or at a discount."

Others have said that over the last year that Amazon has decided to erase all of their reviews and in some cases ban them from writing anymore reviews at all.

Here's a link to the new TOS in case you're wondering what I'm talking about.

But here's an excerpt from the new TOS.

"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."

So from this point forward, I will no longer be posting reviews on Amazon for products or books whether I purchase them or not. I don't want to get banned, be sued or have any problems with Amazon since I do purchase from them quite often. I will however still post reviews on my blog so before I accept a book or product for review from this point forward, I will be informing those sending me products and books to review that the review will no longer be posted on Amazon. Sorry but I won't be taking any chances with my Amazon account getting banned.

32 comments:

  1. I heard about this yesterday. It's a shame amazon is so strict with things like this and it's sad that with their measures against the ones who abuse the system they also harm a lot of legitimate reviewers. I do hope you can still review products on your blog as I always enjoy reading your product reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll still review on my blog but that will be the only place.

      Delete
  2. I saw your post on Facebook. Now that I'm visiting blogs, I learned more from reading your whole past. I haven't been very good about posting reviews on Amazon, but this will prevent me from doing it anymore. It will be interesting to see if Audible does the same thing, since they are owned by Amazon. I review for them, but I post my reviews on Audible for those reviews.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know that audible was owned by Amazon. It will interesting to see what comes from this.

      Delete
  3. Amazon is sure making it a pain now to post reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't posted on amazon in a while...must check

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I won't be posting on there anymore.

      Delete
  5. Another headache, I used to bum for reviews lol and offer free books and such for honest reviews, I used to review too a bit, never again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like getting free books but they'll have to suffice with just a blog review from now on.

      Delete
  6. Interesting. I wonder how that will affect the ARC world of books and blogging then? Does it apply still? Things to think about I guess, especially since isn't Goodreads now also owned by Amazon? Yikes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the bottom of their new TOS is this, "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."

      But I won't be reviewing books on their anymore either. I don't use Goodreads much at all so I'm not sure if they'll be channging.

      Delete
  7. It's a shame they've moved the goalposts. I wonder how this will affect amazon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it's going to affect them in a good way. My Prime membership was set to renew on the 12th of this month and I changed it so that it's just going to cancel instead of renew. I've seen on fb and Twitter that hundreds of people are saying they're doing the same thing. Plus they're looking for other sites to buy their products from.

      Delete
  8. It's frustrating when the goal posts keep changing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is. I think Amazon is going to see sales drop off because a lot of people are mad.

      Delete
  9. The only exception to this rule is books provided by publishers, authors. I am disappointed as I reviewed products all the time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know books are still allowed but after seeing so many reviewers have their reviews wiped out because Amazon said that they had a relationship with an author..I've decided not to post any reviews, books or otherwise on Amazon.

      Delete
  10. Wow! I kinda think they're cutting off their nose to spite their face with this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do too because a lot of reviewers are mad.

      Delete
  11. Oh jeez, I don't even post reviews on Amazon anymore. I've seen quite a few people posting about this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not a good situation at all.

      Delete
  12. Oh I didn't know about that but I understand. not fun at all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it's not. I doubt I'll be offered another free product now that I can't post a review on Amazon.

      Delete
  13. You know, I've never had an issue--even when they started banning reviews. I think it's because I have a good approval rate on the reviews I've written. Plus, I have a separate account from my author account for writing reviews and purchasing things. I wrote two reviews just yesterday and didn't get an email. I wouldn't say all hope is gone yet. Just don't mention you were given the book for review purposes. I'm not even kidding here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've just decided for the time being to not post any reviews, not even books on Amazon. I'll still post book reviews on my blog but that's the only place.

      Delete
  14. What a mess, huh?Thanks for sharing this valuable information! Hugs...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow. This is kind of a surprising change. I certainly understand your stance, but Amazon's?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think they changed it because there are so many companies out there giving away their products in exchange for 5 star reviews.

      Delete
  16. I was just reading an article a few days ago that said many reviews on Amazon and Trip Advisor are fake......that the good reviews are often written by people who have never bought the product or been to the place reviewed. Is this new TOS in response to that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of the reviews on Amazon are written by people like myself who get a free product in exchange for a review. But some people think they have to write 5 star reviews for everything they get free or the companies tell them in order to get the free product they have to write a 5 star review. I've never promised a good review and have written reviews for products I've received anywhere from 1 to 5 stars and if a product didn't work for me I said so. But others are inflating their reviews and Amazon knows this.

      Delete

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