Firstly let’s address the intentions of the Amazon review policies. Shoppers want to feel confident about purchasing on the Amazon platform and this is ensured by the contingencies of the review system.
The reason why Amazon has become a secure and safe platform to buy from is because customers rely, want and love the honest customer reviews.
The last major review policy update happened at the start of the 4th Quarter—October 3, 2016 to be exact. Many news outlets were talking about the policy update. Amazon’s PR team achieved what they wanted with click-worthy headlines that stated they are cracking down on incentivized product reviews. Amazon typically makes these types of policy changes and then uses technology to enforce them.
One such technology is Amazon’s machine learning algorithm. Machine learning crawls through millions of product reviews looking for patterns that could be policy violations. If your business or product is flagged, someone at Amazon will often look at your account in depth. This is why you want to do things the right way.
Just to be clear, Amazon is not on a witch hunt to suspend accounts for no reason. The number of policy violations regarding review manipulation has been relatively small. A seller who is flagged for violating Amazon’s TOS has flagrantly disregarded it. Regardless, we want to make sure everyone knows how to ensure they stay compliant with the new policy and keep their accounts in good standing.
How to avoid a review manipulation policy violation
Don’t give away discounted or free products in exchange for reviews
You can sell discounted products but you need to make sure there is no obligation or expectation to leave a review. You should also avoid platforms that allow you to select and approve deals for individual Amazon shoppers.
Don’t ask buyers to only leave positive reviews
You should never ask a buyer to leave you a positive or five-star review. Leave that language out of your emails. You should also avoid language like: “If you have a problem with this product please click here to contact customer support. And If you are happy with this product please leave a review.”
Don’t give shoppers review suggestions
Some sellers will email buyers several examples of reviews they could write. Providing these suggestions will also get you into trouble.
Don’t spam shoppers
Keep your messages about the order. Ensure you are offering great service and then ask for a review. Don’t spam shoppers with multiple review requests. Remember the golden rule of marketing—market unto to others as you would have them market unto you!
You can not ask friends, family, employees or paid influencers to write reviews.
Amazon clearly states that no one who has financial interests in a product can review it. This means all of the above.
Be cautious when messaging buyers who were given discounted products.
In light of the recent policy updates, Amazon’s algorithms are going to be looking at reviews where the product was purchased at a discount. If you’re discounting products, especially at large discounts and getting lots of reviews, it could trigger a manual account review. In this case, you want to make sure your account is squeaky clean. If the language in your emails is questionable, Amazon may suspend you for it. And if you want to be extra cautious—our automated buyer-messaging tool—Feedback Genius has a filter that lets you exclude or write unique messages for buyers that purchase products at a discount.
Offer great customer service
Focus your buyer-seller messages on great customer service and not on asking for feedback or product reviews.
Don’t trick sellers into not writing bad reviews
Amazon wants honest reviews. Language that used to be OK can now be considered questionable. By directing the good comments to reviews and the bad comments to customer service could be viewed as manipulation. To avoid this, simply ask the customer if they need to speak with a customer service representative in one email. In a second email, ask for a review. This will give you a chance to blacklist anyone who contacts you for customer service.
Make sure that the shopper has the option to ‘opt-out’ of an automated message. Shoppers do not appreciate the bombardment of extra messages. Feedback Genius makes it easy for buyers to opt out of future messages.
This is an example of an approved letter to a shopper?
Subject: It looks like your [product name] was just delivered!
The tracking for order X shows that the item was recently delivered. I’m super excited that you purchased our awesome [product name]. If you have any problems at all, don’t hesitate to reply to this email so we can help you out. We would also love to know your honest opinion of the product. Please [click here] to leave a product review on Amazon.
This message is concise and has a clear call to action regarding a product review. Amazon would read this message and see that you are offering great customer care and therefore not flag it up as manipulation for leaving a positive review.
What do I do if I get flagged for a policy violation?
Most of the time Amazon will send a violation before it suspends you from the platform. If you get a policy violation you should take it seriously. You should clearly look at any rules Amazon says you have broken and create a plan of action to resolve the problem. If you want professional help I highly recommend eGrowth Partners. They are experts in Amazon violations and suspensions.
They work with many Amazon Merchants and they take a conservative approach to ensure your Amazon business is compliant. If you want to read their opinion on how to stay in compliance with regarding review manipulation click here. Some sellers will choose to take an ultra-conservative approach while others may be willing to take more risks with their business. As the ever-changing Amazon Terms of Service evolves, all sellers should reevaluate their messages and make the necessary changes based on their own risk tolerance.
From the above article, you should have understood that Amazon business cannot be learning through a Simple Course. It’s a journey, which requires ongoing learning. To learn more the Amazon business, look at the Amz Trainer website.