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General Chat - anything Goes > Amazon bans 'incentivised' reviews

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message 1: by Rosen (new)

Rosen Trevithick (rosentrevithick) | 2273 comments No more reviews in exchange for copies of books.

Does anybody know what happens to existing incentivised reviews?

message 2: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments I think books are not included in this new change of rules. Here is the Amazon announcement:

The key bit for us is at the bottom:

"The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books."

That's good news for us scribblers. As to the rest of it, I'm in two minds. It's good that Amazon are cracking down on the industry of giving freebies to reviewers, but it feels a little odd that they are continuing their own incentivised review thingie.

message 3: by Jim (last edited Oct 05, 2016 12:38AM) (new)

Jim | 21872 comments I saw the article, and wondered what it'll mean in practice. How does Amazon know a review is 'incentivised'?

As far as I could work out the only way they could be sure was to delete all reviews that were not 'verified purchase'
So it you want to review a book on Amazon, you have to buy the book on Amazon. (which does fit in with their business model)

Even then Amazon cannot know whether the author has bunged you a cheque in the post to cover the cost of your credit card transaction

Also as pretty well every review published in print with be, by their definition. 'incentivised' they're going out on a limb. I suspect Guardian book reviewers rarely have to buy the books they review out of their own pocket

message 4: by Rosen (new)

Rosen Trevithick (rosentrevithick) | 2273 comments Ooh! Interesting about books. I hadn't seen that. Drat - wish I hadn't just changed!

In some cases, products have dozens of reviews by top reviewers, accompanied by photos and videos. This is a dead giveaway. But yes, in other cases, it would be hard for them to tell.

message 5: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments I don't think they will be able to prevent all incentivised reviews. That would be impossible to do because they can't know what contacts might happen between the reviewer and the retailer.

What they are doing is to change their terms and conditions to state that incentivised reviews are not allowed. This then means that when they police the reviews they will be able to point to the Ts and Cs if anyone quibbles.

It won't stop all incentivised reviews, of course, but it will stop a large proportion. That's probably all that they could wish for.

Doesn't include books. We can still give review copies for free.

All in all, not a bad move by Amazon. Quite a reasonable thing for them to do. It just feels a little odd that they're allowing their own incentivised review programme to stand.

message 6: by Rosen (new)

Rosen Trevithick (rosentrevithick) | 2273 comments I get around 10 emails a day from companies offering me products to review. I wouldn't mind better that that continues.

message 7: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25061 comments As I interpret it, a book can be offered to a reviewer, free of charge, as long as the author/publisher doesn't demand a review in 'payment'. Which has always been the case, I thought. If you read and don't review - an option with Netgalley, they ask that you contact the publisher and say why. Only polite. I had to do it once. One bit of pretentious claptrap I couldn't get through, though I tried it three times.

Gingerlily - The Full Wild | 36808 comments This change has been done to combat a massive problem in the US with 'coupon clubs', where people sign up with a club specifically to get discounted products and review them. The products are flooded with literally thousands of 5 star reviews, and the clubs have all sorts of tricks to maximise the impact of the reviews. Most of the products involved are cheap crap imported in bulk from china. This hasn't happened with books, which is probably why they have been exempted.

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