While Amazon has long looked down on reviews that were written in exchange for free or deeply discounted items, these write-ups were allowed so long as they followed the rules: The review must be honest, and the compensation must be fully disclosed. But... a number of compensated reviewers were gaming the system — posting hundreds of reviews a month, almost universally positive, and for products they sometimes couldn’t possibly have used. Now Amazon has announced a nearly full ban on compensated reviews.
There are a number of sites and social media groups that promote these free and discounted items, with the condition that the person receiving the product write an Amazon review within a given timeframe.
Yesterday, Chee Chew, Amazon’s VP of Customer Experience, explained the reason the company had previously tolerated these incentivized reviews is that they were seen as a way for little-known products to build up a base of customer feedback.
However... some reviewers were leaving very questionable reviews. For example, we found multiple reviews for a phone case for a Lumia 650 — all of them positive and many of them referencing how well the case fit onto their device. Problem was, that phone had not yet been released.
See also the story from GeekWire