New Amazon Verified Review Policy - Discounting the Value Of Reviews For Discounted Products

AbeAbe
edited February 2016 in General
This just came to my attention recently. I noticed one of our products dropped in numerical ranking quite a bit (Dropped from a 4.8 to a 4.6), and I couldn't figure out why since we didn't have a lot of reviews come in on that one recently. I dug a little deeper, and realized that ALL of the reviews we by people that we gave big discounts to ($1-$2 per product) lost their "verified review" status, and all of these purchases and reviews are NOW classified as unverified.

This status is critical, because it shows prospective buyers that people actually bought the product from Amazon and used it. It is nearly impossible to prod a full price buyer to leave a review unless they are angry at you (we get far less than 1% of the people that buy at full price to leave a review). Additionally important, is that Amazon gives greater weight to verified reviews in the rankings as well as their value in the overall product rating.

So it looks like a major sea change on their part to discount the value of these reviews. If you read Amazon's verified review standards, it now states that products purchased with a "deep discount" will no longer be considered verified. It also looks like they went back and retroactively unverified all the previously verified reviews. Hence the immediate loss in ranking of this particular product.

First of all, this stinks because of everyone here that has put so much effort in reviewing products, and of course the loss that is absorbed for merchants to give discounts. Aside from that, some kind of solution needs to be found going forward so reviews still have some kind of value for both sides.

I would ask merchants, anecdotally speaking, what level of discount percentage can you offer a reviewer for product so it doesn't qualify as a "deep discount" by Amazon's standards so the review can still be verified? This is something we all need to pay attention to going forward.

Comments

  • This has actually been going on for months now, you must just now be noticing it though.
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    1. Amazon is trying to prevent THE FLOOD of review for free or deeply discounted product. So it is the excessive usage of this that they are trying to wipe out.
    2. I have heard that if the discount is more than 50% (anyone care to confirm this?) then the review loses the verified purchase status. On this I have been thinking.... Say the product normally sells for $20. If we put it on sale on Amazon for 3 days at $10.05 and then offer a $5 coupon on AMZT, free shipping for all - then technically the discount would be less than 50% COMPARED TO PRICE ON AMAZON and those reviews would qualify as verified purchase. I am going to test that theory on my next promo.
    3. We find tremendous value in unverified reviews as well. Consider this: Amazon does not let us post enough pictures and videos. The reviewers do great job posting photos and videos and that alone enhances the listing tremendously! At least in my eyes. I did a promo on a product that had dozens of reviews already in hopes that the reviews will contain photos and videos. They did. Sales increased significantly.
  • It was strange, because it only hit us very recently to affect the product rating.
    RootGirl said:

    1. I have heard that if the discount is more than 50% (anyone care to confirm this?) then the review loses the verified purchase status. On this I have been thinking.... Say the product normally sells for $20. If we put it on sale on Amazon for 3 days at $10.05 and then offer a $5 coupon on AMZT, free shipping for all - then technically the discount would be less than 50% COMPARED TO PRICE ON AMAZON and those reviews would qualify as verified purchase. I am going to test that theory on my next promo.
    Great idea. Let us know what you come back with!

    This is the key point for me. If we can determine WHAT the exact discount we can offer where it will retain that verified purchase status, that would be incredibly valuable. Of course there will be less review offers if we aren't offering something for $1-2, but it will allow us to continue to get a mix of reviews, with the verified ones obviously being much more valuable.

    I agree that some unverified can be very helpful, but I just don't want our customers to see a huge amount of unverified reviews in our profile. It hurts our credibility and makes it look a little questionable.

    Anybody have any other suggestions for making sure the reviews they get are verified?

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