— April 9, 2018
You’re no longer allowed to monetarily persuade buyers to change their reviews on Amazon — doing so can lead to you getting suspended or even kicked out. If you’re looking at how to get awesome reviews without breaking the rules, then this is the post for you.
Are You Guilty of Review Manipulation?
This is usually one of those ‘if you have to ask’ scenarios, but just in case you’re truly not sure, it’s a good idea to read what Amazon says about it.
Here’s the short version:
“Any attempt to manipulate reviews, including by directly or indirectly contributing false, misleading or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.”
Essentially, this means you can’t bribe, blackmail and pressure buyers into leaving good reviews, and you can’t alter or tweak reviews to look better. If you do, the penalties can be pretty drastic: Amazon can/will suspend and/or terminate your account. They might also withhold your remittances and payments. And if they feel you acted in really bad faith, they might pursue legal action.
So, review manipulation isn’t good. But what about the grey areas?
Be Really Careful of How You Ask for Reviews
Asking for a buyer to leave a review is okay. But some sellers get creative in how they do so, which can lead to contravening Amazon’s terms and conditions.
Did you know writing something like ‘please leave a review if you were satisfied with your purchase’ counts as trying to influence the buyer into leaving a good review?
Yup, and that’s because you included the ‘if you were satisfied’ part. Amazon sees that as using wording to manipulate the review.
What You Can Do to Colour Within the Lines
There are still plenty of ways you can ask for reviews and not get on Amazon’s bad side. Here’s a little list of strategies you can employ that will leave you in the clear.
- Just ask. It’s well known that unhappy customers need little prompting to write a (negative) review, but you want to focus on the happy people. And by just asking to leave a review, you’ll increase your chances of getting one.
- Remember to send a confirmation email. If you end the selling process once the order’s been shipping, you’re quitting things too early. Keep the contact going past the point, whether it’s emailing them an instruction manual for the product they bought or checking in to see if they have any questions.
- Stress that you’re looking for an honest review. Don’t use language that can influence them one way or the other, but instead say something like, ‘We’d love to hear your opinion on what you bought because it can help future buyers make smart, informed decisions.’
- Following up on the follow-up. If you’ve already sent an email and gotten radio silence in return, it’s still not all over. Send another email in a business week or two, rephrasing what you’ve already said. Sometimes people get caught up in the excitement of using their new item that they’ve truly forgotten to give feedback. A gentle nudge can help spur a response.
- Use Amazon feedback software. Depending on your selling volume, keeping track of individual sales and emailing each and every person might not be practical for you. But if you invest in good feedback software, you can automate this process and not worry about missing out on a single review.
Mistakes to Avoid
Now that we’ve covered what’s good to do, let’s take a look at the things to avoid.
- Don’t use multiple accounts to make it look like different people are saying good things about you. You should only be using an account to ask for reviews that matches your business name and license.
- Stick with one address and one phone number, for the same reason. You cannot misrepresent your company name — this is review manipulation.
- Try to avoid pitching hard for reviews that are given away or sold at a big discount. This can run too close to the line or offering free/almost-free items in exchange for reviews.
- Don’t misrepresent your products. If an item has special instructions for how it should be used, include that from the get-go. Failure to do so can have the appearance of trying to mislead your buyers.
- Don’t direct your buyers towards either an email or a review. If a buyer’s had a negative experience, it can be tempting to ask them to only email you; conversely, if they’ve had a positive experience, the tendency is to ask them for a review. Don’t try and steer them in any direction and offer both options all the time.
- Closely related is asking the buyer to reach out to you before they leave a review.
- Don’t offer ‘thank you gifts’. These are not thank you gifts, they are thinly veiled attempts at bribing the buyer into more favourable feedback.
Request Feedback the Right Way
Knowing how to walk the line can seem confusing, especially when there’s so much at stake. At FeedbackExpress, we’ll send out the emails, we’ll make the emails look professional and friendly, and we’ll make sure they abide by Amazon’s terms and conditions so you don’t have to worry about getting suspended. When you sign up right now, you start things off with a 30-day free trial.
*A version of this article first appeared on the FeedbackExpress blog