Amazon Reviews: My tale of frustration over paid reviews

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Over the last week corresponding with Amazon.com has been a frustrating process when contacting them. On April 6, 2018, I received an email from a company called Admire My Skin on my business email account. I didn't see the email until April 7 when I replied to decline. I could have let it go there but considering that people have to trust reviews, and reviews must be FTC compliant, I eventually decided to contact Amazon.

I originally did contact Amazon via their chat option about the matter but after a few days of mulling it over I ended up tracking down an email address (community-help@amazon.com) on the very bottom of the Amazon.com Help page and emailed that address along with cs-reply@amazon.com. That was on April 11, 2018.


I never heard back from community-help@amazon.com but cs-reply@amazon.com DID reply back to me on April 16, 2018, which led me to become incredibly frustrated because the customer service rep didn't bother to read the email I forwarded.

The original email:


Amazon's rules on promotions and reviews.


The two rules that paid reviews - even as a thank you - would fall under would be these two rules:

  • 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.

So the reply I got back on April 16, 2018 was this:


Like, seriously? Seriously?! Obviously, no one at Amazon bothered to read the original message. I get it. They're too busy and have to meet quotas in answering customers and so they're not trained to be anything but to answer with pre-written responses. Still... very frustrating when there is a lack of comprehension or even care.

I replied back with this (no screenshot) on April 20, 2018.
This has nothing to do with an order I placed, it's a forward from a company in your Marketplace ( "Admire My Skin " reviews@admiremyskin.com ) that offered me a $5 Paypal bribe to purchase their product on Amazon and leave a review of their products. The bribe is a clear violation of your TOS. Had I accepted it your company would never have known since my email account associated with my actual Amazon account is not the same as my Paypal account or even my (this) email account. Please take the time to review the original email forward and the Marketplace account in question. The company name is Admire My Skin.

https://www.amazon.com/Admire-My-Skin/b/ref=w_bl_hsx_s_be_web_17166177011?ie=UTF8&node=17166177011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Admire+My+Skin
I admit, it's not like a pressing thing for me to check my business email since I haven't been an active blogger in a while but still, the least Amazon can do is take the time to read the emails rather than blow it off to meet quotas.

So this morning at 12:33 AM Eastern I get an email back from Amazon again, this time not from cs-reply but from merch.service05@amazon.com which is a dead end email address. Can't reply to it which basically means Amazon doesn't care if companies pay influencers, bloggers, or the everyday person money to post reviews.


I've taken to Twitter about this [here, here, here and here]. I've posted on their Facebook wall about this. Now this third blog post on the matter. You can read my first two blog posts here and here. So frustrating!

The thing is, I don't want to see a business shut down (named Admire My Skin) BUT I want honest reviews on Amazon not paid ones and any new review on Admire My Skin's Amazon products are ALL to be suspect of being paid reviews.

Since Amazon already has rules in place then they need to make it easier for people to report when they're approached by a company to be paid for reviews. Like I said to Amazon, at one point, if I was about being paid for my reviews I'd have taken the money (after negotiating for more than $5) and they'd NEVER know since my business email account is not the same as my Paypal account email nor the same as my Amazon account email!

Note: This blog post does not contain any affiliate links.

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