Amazon Bans Glamorizing Reviews to Stop Fake Opinions About Products
Amazon is littered with inaccurate product reviews. However, the company announced that it would no longer be like this — the retail giant just banned any comments about products where the customer gets goods for free or with discounts in exchange.
Previously, users were required to disclose the fact that they received the product for free or at a reduced price when they write a review. Lately, Amazon noticed that while they could give a positive or negative comment about an item, the majority of reviews were glamorizing the product. And even the items were often very average; they were ranked higher in ratings.
The research of over seven million reviews, carried out by ReviewMeta, showed that incentivised reviews were rated 0.38 stars higher than non-incentivised reviews. Even with this small emersion, products could be boosted from the 54th percentile to the 94th percentile and the product can easily jump to “Top Rated” list.
The study also found that these “honest” reviewers were nearly four times less likely to leave negative comments and 12 times less likely to give a 1 star rating for items they are reviewing. It is happening because these people are hoping to receive more free or discounted items in the future.
“Consumers have growing distrust and even disdain for incentivised reviews, especially when it seems every single one is a glowing five-star review,” said ReviewMeta.
Unfortunately, Amazon isn’t deleting older “too positive” reviews. As the company’s spokesperson told, it “wouldn’t be retroactively removing incentivized reviews unless they are excessive and don’t comply with prior policy.”
However, now Amazon is taking an action against all companies that are distributing products for free in exchange for reviews. The retail giant will get rid of vendors that are violating its rules and in some cases even suing the individuals that write them.
“Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including by contributing false, misleading, or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited. If you violate our Guidelines, we may restrict your ability to use Community features, remove content, delist related products, or suspend or terminate your account. If we determine that an Amazon account has been used to engage in any form of misconduct, remittances and payments may be withheld or permanently forfeited. Misconduct may also violate state and federal laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act, and can lead to legal action and civil and criminal penalties,” is written in Amazon’s updated community guidelines.
“We encourage anyone who suspects that content manipulation is taking place or that our Guidelines are being violated in any way to notify us. We will investigate the concern thoroughly and take any appropriate actions,” Amazon continue.
The prohibition shall not apply to Amazon’s Vine program that is its own incentivized review system. With Vine, Amazon is trusting reviewers and gives them free or yet unreleased products that have been provided by participating companies.
“Vine has important controls in place and has proven to be especially valuable for getting early reviews on new products that have not yet been able to generate enough sales to have significant numbers of organic reviews,” Amazon said. “We also have ideas for how to continue to make Vine an even more useful program going forward. Details on that as we have them.”
Amazon isn’t the only company that is trying to cope with “glamorised” reviews. American video game developer and digital distributor Velve also has changed its response system on Steam. Now, if the user once received a game or CD-distributed licence key, he/she is not able to write a review and rate this product. This change also affected comments from Kickstarter backers that received a Steam key as part of a backer reward.
Unfortunately, these changes received a strong and adverse reaction by a large group of Indie developers – those that succeed on Kickstarter. Since then Velve partly brought back the previous rules of rating games. Now, there is a review section on each product page showing comments written by all users, and it doesn’t matter how that game was acquired. However, these reviews still don’t have any impact on an overall rating of the game.
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