Strategic response to Amazon’s ban of incentivized reviews

Solutions to help you grow stronger
Seth Kniep
Oct 23, 2016
Grow your Amazon store
When Amazon announced they would no longer allow incentivized reviews, it put the seller community up in arms. Some sellers were angry, some were terrified, and some were just full of questions. But this announcement didn’t have to be bad news – not if you knew how to respond.

On October 3, 2016, Amazon announced that they would no longer accept incentivized reviews. Here’s the announcement itself.

The key is not to give up. You need to have the right mentality. You need to have the mentality of an entrepreneur. When you encounter an obstacle, don’t give up. Instead, find a solution, and grow stronger in the process. That’s how you succeed.

What’s an incentivized review?

An incentivized review is just what it sounds like – a review given by a buyer in exchange for an incentive, whether that incentive is a free or discounted product, or just cold hard cash. There are people who make careers out of incentivized reviews, constantly being paid and receiving free merchandise in exchange for their feedback. Many sellers will approach these people for their reviews, because more reviews mean more sales and better rankings for their product.

If you’re worried about the loss of incentivized reviews, I have one question for you: what are you going to do about it? How you respond makes all the difference. You can do one of two things: you can give up, or you can find a better way.

Alternatives to Incentivized Reviews

Now that Amazon no longer allows incentivized reviews, we’re on a level playing field. We all have the same disadvantage.

So, how do you get ahead of the competition? Instead of spending time worrying about the change, put your energy into finding solutions. Here are three solutions I’ve come up with:

#1: Contact every buyer with a letter; thank them for their purchase and request a review.

When a customer buys a product, send them a letter or an email thanking them for their purchase, and then politely request a review. Now, you can’t ask for a good review, but if the customer is happy with their product and the service they received, you should have nothing to worry about. You can simply write, “If you love your purchase, I would appreciate it if you left me a review. If you are unhappy with your purchase, please let me know so I can make it right for you.”

As soon as I started contacting buyers, I saw an increase in my reviews. I suggest waiting about a week before you send the buyer a message. That gives them time to receive their purchase and enjoy it for a few days before they review, so they can give honest feedback.

#2: Do a full-purchase exchange with other sellers.

If you know another seller on Amazon well, and you trust them, you might be able to make a deal. You’re selling your product, and they’re selling theirs, so why not help each other out and purchase each other’s products?

There’s no incentive; nobody is getting anything for free. But you can agree to review each other’s products, so you both benefit from the transaction. There are even online communities of Amazon sellers, on sites like Facebook, where you can connect with other sellers and arrange to exchange reviews.

#3: Offer the product to a few people for free.

Amazon still allows you to do giveaways. You just can't say "I'll give this away for free if you give me a review in return." Pick a few friends and family members you trust, tell them you’re trying to promote your product, and offer it to them for free. Later, ask them to give a review if they enjoyed the product. Just make sure not to try this with people who live in the same home as you, because Amazon can track your IP address. You can’t have someone who lives in the same household review the product.

This strategy is toeing the line a bit; it’s a gray area. But there’s a subtle difference. You’re not saying, “I’ll give you this product for free if you give me a review.” Instead, you’re giving them the product for free, then asking for a review later, if they like the product.

Here’s an extra tip: provide amazing customer service. Blow your customers out of the water! I like to include a little card with every purchase, saying something like, “You’re awesome! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make your day a little better,” and I always include my name and the store name. Something that simple can make the buyer’s experience much more positive, making them more likely to leave a positive review.

As you can see, there are ways to work within Amazon’s requirements while still getting reviews. Don’t think about the negatives; instead, focus on the opportunity to try something different and find a solution. How you respond to a problem can make all the difference.

In our training program we have a very strategic process for generating reviews on your product without running and incentivized coupon code or dropping the price and risking losing your buy box. It's a community of online sellers on fire to help each other crush it on Amazon.

What strategies have you come up with to work with Amazon’s new policies?


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Seth Kniep

Married a pearl. Fathered 4 miracles. Fired his boss. Turned a single dime into $104,857. Today, a self-made millionaire, Seth and his team of 8 badass coaches teach entrepreneurs how to build passive income on Amazon.

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