Amazon: What is a review, and am I safe to review?

I have received MANY, many questions since my first Amazon post.
“What is a product review”, “How do I get involved in Product Reviewing”, “Am I safe to review on Amazon?”

Product Review

(Please note: this may or may not be considered a “good” review.  Photo used solely for example)

So first, lets start with the easiest question first.

“What is a product review”

Many people, when they think of a product review, will admit that they only leave a product review if the product has issues or if the seller support or customer service sucks.  HONESTLY.. you really should be leaving a product review on ANYTHING that you buy!  

A product review tells the story of the product.  It tells what it is, how it works, IF it works, what features it has that are beneficial to you.  It tells the why; why you bought it, why it works the way it does.  Do you remember high school language arts?  Heck, middle school Language Arts.  When you’re writing a story or in this case a product review, what are the features that you must include?  You want to tell Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.  Including all of these pieces into a review will not only help you to write a good review. but will help the customer to get a better understanding of the product itself.  If the product is good, you’re welcome to say so!  If the product is NOT so good, you’re welcome to say that too!  NEVER give good feedback when you’re writing reviews, especially on Amazon, just so that the seller will continue to give products out!  That is considered a fraudulent review!

Now, another thing to keep in mind.  A product review is exactly that, it’s a review of THE PRODUCT.  It’s not a review of the packaging that it came in.  It’s not a review of the seller or business that sent it.  The packaging, at least as far as Amazon is concerned, is considered Package Feedback.  Information about the seller is considered Seller Feedback.  Those 2 things DO NOT belong in a PRODUCT review.  Including them in there, actually gives the seller AND Amazon the right (and a valid reason) to have your review removed.  Why take the time to write a review if you give Amazon reason to remove it?

Now, for the next question.. “How do I get involved in Product Reviewing?”

There are many, MANY Facebook groups out there; many websites out there, where you can get products discounted or free in which to review.  A quick google search will bring you up a list of options.  Please bare in mind, that if they are giving you a product free or discounted and asking for review, this is considered IN EXCHANGE for a review and most likely the review will be removed from Amazon if you leave one.  This can also get your Amazon account wiped and your reviewing privileges removed.  Reviews “IN EXCHANGE” for product are considered a compensated review.

Now, a group can ask that you do a SOCIAL MEDIA review.  They can tell you that no review is required, and you therefore are then able to leave a review… but you CANNOT leave a review for a product that has been given “IN EXCHANGE FOR” the review.  The review has to be given freely, and without any kind of strings attached.  Strings meaning a promise of additional products, that you’ll get to keep your spot in the review program if you leave a review, or that you’ll get a refund of the products price if you leave a review.  Things such as those are unacceptable, and do not fall within Amazon’s Terms of Service, or Review Creation Guidelines.

What you want to look for in a review group/website?
The group is NOT to ask for your amazon profile link, in which to be able to track your reviews.

The group/website should not be asking for Amazon reviews for products that they are giving with a discount.

This then becomes a what?  Correct!  A compensated review.  And compensated reviews are AGAINST Amazon’s Terms of Service.

Look for groups on Facebook that offer products for Social Media/Blog reviews, or offer products simply at a discount with No Review Required.

Look for groups that offer Hot Deals or Flash Deals.  These items are discounted usually just to get rid of stock, increase sales, etc.  If they are advertised with no strings attached to them, you are welcome to review them.

And finally…

“Am I safe to review on Amazon?”

This question really bears some consideration.

According to Amazon’s terms of service, you can only review 5 unverified reviews PER WEEK.  An unverified review is one in which you purchased the product at a discount using a discount/promotion code that was basically 70% off or more, or you received the product shipped direct from the seller.  If you are reviewing these items, you REALLY want to pay attention to how many you are submitting per week.  Purchase reviews are counted beginning at 12:00 AM Sunday (midnight on Sunday morning) through 11:59 pm on Saturday.  Please note, these are GMT time zone, so be aware and do your research as to what time that would be in YOUR time zone.  If you submit extra, they COULD be removed.

If you are purchasing from DEALS that are posted, these items are NOT given in exchange for a review, a disclaimer is not needed.  If you purchase from a Hot Deal or a Flash Sale, these are also not given in exchange for reviews, so a disclaimer is ALSO not needed.  BUT, be aware that if they are 70% or more of a discount, they WILL count towards your 5 per week of unverified reviews.

If you are reviewing a product in which a Social Media or Blog review is requested, you MUST, I repeat you MUST leave a disclaimer in order to be FTC compliant!  If you review on your blog or social media one of these products, and you then go to leave a review on Amazon.. you MUST leave a disclaimer on Amazon because at that point your discount WAS given in exchange for SOME TYPE of review.  Keep in mind though, that many reviews that have a disclaimer such as “I received this product in exchange for my review” ARE being removed… so my suggestion is to NOT review those items on Amazon.  It is too dangerous for you.

So, to sum this up a bit for you.. YES, you ARE safe to review on Amazon BUT you MUST follow ALL of the guidelines that THEY set forth.

Miss my first Amazon post in this series?  Check it out here.

Do you have specific questions about selling or reviewing on Amazon that you’d like answered?

Tell me in the comments below and I’ll address them in upcoming posts!

Comments

  1. 100% Correct! I would add the whole Pay Pal link too ~ if a seller or group wants you to purchase the item full price, review on Amazon, send them the review link and only then will they release funds into PayPal = huge NO NO on so many levels. Run, do not look back, run. LOL I thoroughly enjoy testing and reviewing; I have only been doing it for a year but, I had been reviewing on Amazon my regular purchases for years. Helped out a lot.

  2. I could not agree more. I sell things on Amazon, so it is helpful when choosing products to make sure that it has a good review.

  3. I’ve done many reviews on Amazon for product exchange and/or paid ad but always disclosed that my review(s) will be honest and only reflect my personal opinion and majority are fine with that. Great read

  4. These are great tips especially because so many people are confused on what constitutes a “good” review and whether or not they should leave “bad” reviews. Personally, I agree with you that ALL reviews are necessary, and ALL products should be reviewed.

  5. This is good to know. I was a reviewer on Amazon for quite a while and once they changed the TOS, the emails from sellers stopped rolling in (I quite the groups because of too much drama and once you get low on Amazon’s list, sellers come to you anyway). When this happened, I pretty much gave up. Now that you have written this, I feel more comfortable reaching out to sellers since they’ve pretty much stopped reaching out to me. What was once an inbox full of offers has dwindled down to 1-2 a day!

  6. Really interesting! I didn’t realize you couldn’t do compensated reviews on Amazon. I haven’t done them, but didn’t realize it wasn’t allowed. Good to know! Loads of great information ~ thanks!

  7. I didn’t expect for Amazon to change their rules on reviewing. Everytime we think we understand the rules they go and change them!

  8. Agree 100%! All of the tips/advice you shared is really helpful. Enjoyed reading 🙂

  9. I have been reviewing on amazon for a little over a year now, and just made top 1000! So many new rules! Great post!

  10. This was an interesting read! Being new to the world of blogging, I haven’t looked into this yet. But when I do, this will an excellent guideline! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  11. Ha Ha! It really annoys me when you click on the only bad review to find that someone is complaining about the size of box the item was posted in! Thanks for posting this, I’ve always wondered how the Amazon Reviews work, I want to give it a try myself now.

    • That is AWESOME! I thought I was the only one that got irritated because the review I read was just about the box size, or I’ll give you a PRIME example (yup.. pun intended giggle). Last year before Halloween, I purchased a bag of candy. It was advertised all over the internet that it was for multiple packages, because it was on a combined listing, but in the description it explained the size of the bag and that there would only be 1 package sent. I didn’t mind because regardless, it was still a good deal for what I purchased and was cheaper than buying it in the stores. But there were 100’S of people that actually left a review because amazon didn’t force the seller to send the additional, and claimed that it was false advertising. So ALL of the reviews said that seller was a scammer. NOTHING about the products, but they were “product reviews”. I just sat there shaking my head.

  12. I have been reviewing products on Amazon for years. I review good and bad products to be fair and I answer questions as well from time to time.

  13. This is so important to know. I will for sure keep this in mind so I don’t get into trouble. I tend to just review books on there.

  14. This is something that I have toyed with the idea of doing but never got around to it. Your “review” of reviewing was well worth the read and very informative.

  15. Jenni Petrey says:

    I’ve never thought about this before. Thanks for all the great tips, will keep them in mind for the futures.

  16. This is great information. I don’t review much on amazon but I do occasionally. This will be great to know for when I review the next time.

  17. I agree. I leave reviews on everything I buy, even the mechanical pencils for my kids.

  18. This is all great advice. I have never personally done Amazon reviews for any sellers but I have heard about others doing it.

  19. I have written many a review. I never thought about what it is actually about though. I just feel I write on what I thought of the product. I didn’t think that so much actually went into a good review.

  20. I tend to leave reviews only for stuff that either exceeded my expectations or when the product has a low quality and misleading description. Thanks for the above and the Amazon rules, that might come in handy at some point.

  21. Great information especially for anyone who is just getting started with a blog as an influencer.

  22. Very informative post! Made me understand it better and im sure it will help many others to! Thankyou for sharing

  23. We make sure to leave a review on every hotel we stay in. Even if we loved it or not. Sometimes all the negative comments people leave aren’t relevant to everyone, so we find it’s nice to see regular comments and experiences as well.

  24. I love leaving and reading Amazon reviews! It helps me figure out that this is the right product for me.

  25. Sherrie Brettelle Jacques says:

    What about all the offers I receive thru instant messenger or email asking me to but it and they’ll give it back via PayPal. I for one don’t trust them and also don’t know if it’s allowed. Or if them mailing it directly to you is allowed anymore. Thank you!

    • Sherrie, if someone offers you paypal for a social or blog review, that’s perfectly fine to do so. Always be sure that the paypal is given FIRST, prior to the purchase. So many sellers say that they want you to buy it and they’ll give it back via paypal, and more often that they’ll give it back after the review. The problem with that is that if the product was crap and you SAY it was crap, the seller won’t want to refund. Then you’re out the money all together. If someone is going to offer paypal, they need to be up front and just send the paypal so that you have it for when you buy it. Then, you know they’re on the level and not going to stiff you.
      As for doing reviews on items that have been direct shipped to you. Yes, those are still okay to do, but keep in mind that you are allowed only 5 unverified reviews per week. An unverified review is any product that you purchase using a discount code, or has been direct shipped. The “timeline” begins on Sunday and ends at midnight Saturday night, so it would be 5 per Sunday-Saturday. Then it resets.

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