So it happened. It wasn’t difficult to see this coming. When I started off about a year ago, there weren’t many products you could find that had “reviewers.” Then the subreddit came around. Facebook groups formed, websites were made, advertising was done.
And we made it to today. An Amazon where most products have made it to the part where anything less than 4 stars is a crap product that shouldn’t be bought, and “reviewers” are on almost every product. Amazon claims that “reviewers” are a “very tiny fraction of the Amazon community.” If that were true though, would they really change their policies to exclude us?
The change in guidelines that hit earlier today basically eliminate any honest reviewers, and do little to stop those with more shifty morals. Amazon added one line into their guidelines that has ended the reviewing for a hobby that I like to do. They have banned the following:
Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
So now all sellers are prohibited from giving out product to people like me in exchange for a review on their platform.
What will this change in the long run? It will run new sellers away from the Amazon platform. The old guidelines allowed a new seller confident in their product to send out copies to get reviews to let their product be able to stand a chance against established giants in the industry.
Why would a person bother making their own portable battery pack when Anker has over 20,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating on their packs? They would never do that! But if they could give out their packs to review, and it soon became the listing right under Anker, then they may enter the business and eventually become a big name in portable charging.
What Amazon is doing is running new sellers away from their platform. Wish.com has no such restriction, and nor do places like Walmart or any other store. The issue is that nobody looks for reviews there. Amazon has become the place to go to for quality reviews on products. But what was Amazon like before they had “reviewers?”
The average product without people like me has very few reviews. This is because if you buy, say, a GoPro, you are going to use it and think “Yup, this is a GoPro, glad I bought it.” Many people expect a product to work, because they buy from established brands, and so there is no need to write a review. In the other hand you can buy a product from a lesser known brand. You go out on a once in a lifetime adventure and your GoPro knockoff goes with you to capture the experience. You get home, and you get ready to look at your videos, only to see that the camera looks fuzzy and your videos all turned out pretty terrible.
You will then likely write a review, seething with hatred. Your review will berate the product and you will be one of very few people to review. When someone looks at the product, they will notice that the only person who bought it had a bad experience, and they will avoid it. What you did not know, was that 100 other people bought the camera and had a great experience with it, but felt no need to review it.
That is what the old Amazon was. If a product had more than 3 stars, it was a good product, because it meant people reviewed the product positively more than negative. In essence, the product had more people wowed enough to write a review than people pissed off enough to write a review.
In the end, there is nothing a guy like me can do to make Amazon change their policy. But there is nothing stopping me from now reviewing for pay. Now that Amazon won’t take my reviews, I can take products for free to make YouTube videos, blog posts, Facebook posts, and the like. Nothing stopped me before, but I couldn’t use affiliate links since that was against Amazon TOS. Now, there is nothing stopping me from profiting from reviews.
In addition, nothing stops me from getting direct ship items, or PayPal refunding. PayPal refunding is a shady tactic, but Amazon has no way to detect it without the disclaimer. Which is now banned, so if you pay full price, then Amazon has no way to tell you got your money back on the side. That is why this system is now benefitting the shill or biased reviewers. If you disregard the rules in favor of the loopholes, then the changes only affect the sellers who also play by the rules.
Amazon has changed their rules to weed out the honest and give more ways for the dishonest to prosper.
That being said…. Check out my YouTube channel! I made a video explaining this, and I bring up a few more points there. I will be putting affiliate links into the rest of my posts here now, and I hope none of you mind. Any comments or questions? Smash that comment button and let me know.