Most sellers are at least somewhat aware that Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) prohibits the incentivization of customer reviews. Problem is, some sellers are simply too busy to audit their existing business processes and ensure compliance with these rules. Although they may not be intentionally breaking the rules, ignorance is no excuse. After all, the last thing a seller wants to do is get banned from the world’s top eCommerce marketplace.

In this post, we’ll offer a few tips for complying with the Amazon review incentivization policy.

Understand Amazon’s Rules

In October 2016, Amazon adjusted its community guidelines to prohibit “incentivized” reviews. The company had always prohibited the exchange of compensation for reviews; however, it had previously allowed the exchange of free or discounted products, as long as it was disclosed in the review. Problem is, many reviewers forgot to disclose this tidbit.

And, to make matters worse, a few sellers began to stretch this policy to its limits. Some companies even went as far as to set up “review exchange marketplaces” or “review clubs,” aimed at connecting sellers who want free stuff and buyers who want reviews. Amazon updated its policy once again, explicitly prohibiting incentivized reviews that result from such clubs.

For additional clarity, Amazon cites several examples as no-nos. Here are just a few:

  • Tying the delivery of a free or discounted product (or other benefit) to the customer leaving a review
  • Participating in clubs that require shoppers to leave reviews
  • Writing reviews for your own products
  • Entering customers into contests or sweepstakes in exchange for reviews
  • Promising a refund in exchange for a review

In other words, there are many rules to balance. Even if you’re trying to play by the rules, you might be giving the wrong impression.

Automating Compliance

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “How can a seller possibly ensure compliance with these rules”? Good question. If you’re processing thousands of orders each month, the thought can seem overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re soliciting for feedback on each order (which, by the way, Amazon encourages merchants to do.) Automated feedback solicitation ceases to be very “automated” if you have to manually review each order for compliance.

Here’s some good news: If you’re using our FeedbackFive platform, you get the best of both worlds. Our software lets you exclude certain customers from solicitation, helping you to avoid even the perception of “incentivizing.”

For example, you can configure your review solicitation campaigns to automatically exclude customers who have:

  • Received discounts
  • Received refunds
  • Purchased specific SKUs

Enabling this logic in FeedbackFive is simple. Just select your drop-down options, save your settings and get back to what you were doing. Once enabled, FeedbackFive will never send another review solicitation to buyers that meet your defined criteria.

Even better, FeedbackFive keeps track of all orders that were excluded from solicitation. Just hop over to the “My Orders” tab and filter for “excluded” orders. Within seconds, you’ll have a full list of customers that did not receive a review solicitation from you.

And, for those customers that somehow fall outside of your exclusion rules, you can always manually exclude any order from solicitation.

Stay in Amazon’s Good Graces

Your relationship with Amazon is far too valuable to risk suspension. If you routinely offer discounts or refunds, it might be worth enabling a few simple exclusion rules in FeedbackFive. Sure, you might miss out on a handful of reviews in the short term. But, in the long run, you’ll show Amazon that you’re trying your best to play by the rules.

Ready to refine your review solicitation workflow with exclusion rules? Upgrade to a Pro-level plan and unlock the full power of FeedbackFive.

Colleen Quattlebaum

As the Business Development Manager for eComEngine, Colleen Quattlebaum is committed to helping Amazon Sellers succeed. Colleen reviews the latest market trends and strategizes on how to improve eComEngine’s offerings, so she can pass that insight and value on to Amazon merchants.

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