Amazon: Be wary of reviews

Monday, April 16, 2018

When you shop on Amazon* you expect reviews for products to be honest. For the most part some are but unfortunately, it's becoming more common to find "verified purchases" that are 4 or 5 starts to be highly suspect. Sometimes a product's reviews seem to be a bit "too good to be true" and there's a reason for that.

As a consumer blogger, I'm still approached by companies to try their products and review the products. While other bloggers, aka social media influencers, are compensated - some very well - I do not take financial compensation for my opinions. I'll take a product for testing and review purposes but I disclose that the item was sent to me for free, if I'm using an affiliate or referral link in my post, or if I purchased the item. As such I'm free to give my full opinion without having to censor myself which can lead to companies to be upset that my reviews on their products are not stellar. This is partially why I left Brandbacker in 2014 because it became increasingly difficult to write reviews as companies wanted to review it before it was posted and would "encourage" me to lean towards a more positive spin.

Recently, I was approached by a company called Admire My Skin via email with an offer to purchase their products on Amazon^ for $1 each and in return, they asked that I review the products and once completed they would pay me $5. I'm not offended by the small financial compensation of the "mere" $5 but I AM offended to be offered ANY compensation at all because that violates Amazon's TOS and that can lead to my account being permanently banned without notification. Needless to say I did reply back to this company and turned them down stating just that - it's a TOS violation of Amazon's policies.

On Amazon there is a rule in their Terms of Service, it's more clear on their Community Help page, that a person cannot be paid for reviews.

Promotions and Commercial Solicitations
In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:

  • Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative's, close friend's, business associate's, or employer's) products or services.
  • Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your competitors' products or services.
  • Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products, refunds, or reimbursements) or on behalf of anyone else.
  • Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
  • Posting advertisements or solicitations, including URLs with referrer tags or affiliate codes.

So buyer beware that reviews on Amazon might not be totally up and up. So do more research on a brand or a product especially if you never heard of it and they have stellar or near stellar overall reviews on Amazon.

The link marked with an * is an affiliate link while the link marked with a ^ is not an affiliate link.

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