amazon_banMajor news from Amazon today. Effective immediately Amazon has banned ALL incentivized reviews.  

This means NO more:

  • Discounted Reviews
  • Free Product Reviews
  • Review Services
  • Review Clubs
  • Review by Family or Friends

Click here for the Amazon announcement.

I’ve been predicting this would happen for the past two years. I suspected it would happen before Q4 2016.

It finally has and it’s a good thing.

This had to happen because too many ill-intentioned sellers abused the review system. And it’s killing the credibility of the Amazon marketplace.

For the past few years I’ve been preaching about not relying on promotional reviews.

The Amazon marketplace is flooded with them and it was only a matter of time before Amazon had to take action.

Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long.

Buyers don’t trust the product reviews any more.

And reviews have ALWAYS been a cornerstone of the Amazon marketplace.

But in 2011, there were courses that started teaching people to get hundreds of incentivized reviews to manipulate sales rank.

That process has always been wrong.

It’s just that a new generation of sellers were taught that this is how you compete.

And it’s not.

In fact, if I ran Amazon, I would remove all the current incentivized reviews from the marketplace and level the playing field for ALL products.

Now, the product and the seller will have to earn sales the old-fashioned way – with a good product, a good product page and using external traffic to drive sales.

Is This the End of Private Label/Branded Products?

This  absolutely DOESN’T mean the end of private label or new branded products. Just the opposite!

This is the best thing that can happen for all marketplace sellers.

It means that  ALL products will start from a level playing field of 0 reviews.

It means that sellers and products will have to EARN real reviews.

It means that new sellers need to learn how to run a real ecommerce business:

  • How to write product pages for search and conversion
  • How to take good photos of their products
  • How to price and position their products
  • How to source products that aren’t saturated
  • How to drive external traffic to those products to generate sales
  • How to write a good post-sale followup email that will inspire the customer to WANT to leave an organic review.
I’ve sold on Amazon since 2001, have launched  thousands of new products – both wholesale and PL products, and have never launched any with incentivized reviews.
I’ve always taught my private clients and students not to rely on incentivized reviews and if they feel they MUST get some free/paid reviews to keep it to no more than five.
Pre-2011 when certain courses taught new sellers to amass tons of incentivized reviews on their page, Amazon sellers didn’t use this practice to manipulate search and sales.
Sure, some did, but it was not common practice.
Post-2011 with the influx of “gurus” teaching black hat Amazon strategies, the number of incentivized reviews on Amazon skyrocketed.
Not only that, it’s SALES that drive rank. And customers have wised up to the fact that a product with 55 free/paid reviews on the page and NO real consumer reviews is something they don’t want to buy.
This move by Amazon is GOOD. It means those who want a get rich quick, easy way to make money will move on to the next opportunity.
Those who want to stay and build a business asset using Amazon as a sales channel will not have to deal with all the black hat strategies that have been in use the past 5 years.
Don’t give up on your business, if it’s what you want to do!
The cleaning up of the Amazon marketplace is the best thing that can happen for professional online sellers.

What to Do Now

  1. On Tuesday, I held a 90 minute Facebook LIVE training on how you can sell successfully without getting promotional reviews.

Click the link below, Like my Facebook page and view the video!

2.  If you have incentivized Amazon reviews in progress, DON’T have them posted. This policy is effective immediately and Amazon will suspend accounts that post incentivized reviews from here forward! 

Contact your reviewer NOW and tell them not to post their review.

If a post-policy change review appears on your page, proactively contact Amazon and tell them that the review had been in progress prior to the policy change and you’d like it deleted.

DON’T leave it on your product page and risk account suspension.

I have a LOT more to share with you to help you learn a new way of doing business on Amazon. Let’s start with the Facebook LIVE event today!

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

4. There ARE no workarounds! Already there are posts on Facebook on how to get around this. No means no. A red stoplight means stop.

DON’T try and look for another way to scam the Amazon system. Learn how to build a REAL business WITHIN Amazon’s Terms of Service. Something that you can run and be profitable with for the long haul.

Amazon will continue to shut the the black hat strategies. 

SPAMMING buyers with post-sale follow up emails is next. 

They have to clean up the marketplace or there will not be a marketplace. It’s taken them WAAAAY to long to crack down on this stuff, but they are awake now and on a roll to clean things up.

5. Always remember: “You don’t need to cheat to compete.” – Lisa Suttora. 

Here are just two examples of my clients who have built a multi-six and seven figure business by staying completely within Amazon’s TOS.