Yesterday saw Amazon update the community guidelines when it comes to reviews. The target was what is referred to as “incentivized reviews” or reviews by customers on a product that they got for free or at a discount from the product maker.
Usually when these write-ups are done, they pick up favorable reviews in the four or five star range. Amazon pointed out that paid reviews were prohibited and that prior to the update, incentivized reviews were allowed on the site if it was mentioned in the review that they got the product for free to review or at a discount.
While it seems that incentivized reviews weren’t a large part of overall reviews for most products on Amazon, they could bump up the initial appeal of products that wouldn’t get those favorable reviews.
The replacement for this will be Amazon Vine which will allow for retailers to take part in incentivized reviews as long as they pay a fee. Vine is meant to remove bias—such as being obligated to leave a positive review because one was paid or got a product free—by only showing a few positive reviews that come through the program.