Buying something on Amazon can be quite confusing. Before buying something on Amazon, we look for certain features in the product and arrive at a budget.
However, I wasn’t always satisfied with what I bought and many times, I had to return the stuff and seek a refund or try something else.
Was Amazon to blame? No. Because Amazon allows confirmed customers of any product to write an honest review and post it on their website. It allows Amazon customers to give negative and positive feedback that helps other shoppers.
So how do Amazon review program work? Here’s some basic information.
Amazon Review Program
Actually, the system for becoming an Amazon reviewer is extremely simple. Let’s say you bought something from Amazon. A few days later, you’ll get an email from Amazon requesting your review.
There are three ways the Amazon review program works.
Meaning you can rate a product from one star to five stars: one being the lowest and five being the highest. This system allows shoppers to select the best products- that have five-star ratings.
Additionally, Amazon also displays how many people have given a specific star rating for a product.
Therefore, some products would have a few five-star ratings but a higher number of four, three or lower ratings. This means only a few people are happy with the stuff while others have different experiences and opinions.
The Star Rating system makes it easier for shoppers to identify the product they wish to buy. Star Ratings are also useful when you’re comparing two or more similar products.
Millions of shoppers compare products according to features, cost and of course, Star Ratings.
You can write a brief review about your experiences with the product that can help other shoppers take a decision. Amazon has certain rules for confirmed customers to write text reviews.
The first being, you cannot use offensive language, regardless of how dissatisfied you’re with a product and after-sales service.
Secondly, you cannot compare the product you bought with another you’re using or believe would be better. This means, your comments can only contain your personal experiences about price, quality, and performance of the product.
And finally, Amazon moderates your reviews to ensure it complies with their standards. That’s understandable since a review cannot contain biased opinions or objectionable content that may harm either the seller or the manufacturer.
However, Amazon appreciates honest reviews, regardless of anything else.
Question & Answers
There’s also a third review system on Amazon which most of us are unaware about. And that’s asking questions. You can post a query about a product.
Confirmed customers, sellers or even a representative of a manufacturer will usually respond to your query.
Personally, I’ve often posted such questions when unsure about a brand or a product’s performance. And if there’re no responses within a reasonable time span, I skip buying that stuff.
Whenever you ask a question about a product on Amazon, the seller, manufacturer or a confirmed customer gets an email. And you get email alerts when someone responds.
Often, a new product doesn’t have customer reviews. If you post a question about this product, the response should come from the seller or manufacturer.
Whenever I don’t get a response to my queries, I consider the seller or manufacturer isn’t really interested in the business or is trying to palm off something inferior using Amazon. You can use this system by framing precise questions to get a genuine response.
Seller’s Response System
Amazon’s product review program is also fair to the sellers. You can post a very damning review about a product and its after-sales service. At the same time, Amazon allows the seller or manufacturer to view your comments and respond.
This system is very useful for shoppers. If a seller or manufacturer responds within a reasonable time span, it’s clear they’re interested in the business and retaining customers.
Some sellers also offer to take returns long after the official Amazon returns policy isn’t valid.
And as a policy, I ensure that I don’t ever again buy products from a seller or manufacturer that doesn’t respond to my query or post comments on a negative review.
What does it mean for You?
The above things are very important for you and me as a shopper on Amazon. But moreover, the review program allows us to become responsible shoppers and members of the community.
We can encourage people to buy stuff that truly matches expectations, comes at a reasonable price and delivers what it says.
And we become responsible by helping people know what they could avoid buying and ending up with disappointment after losing money.
It also helps Amazon to weed out unworthy sellers and stop substandard products from creeping in on its portal. Furthermore, these reviews help us get the best value for money.
This brings several questions to our mind. Who are these reviewers? Are Amazon review programs really all that honest as we’d expect?
And can I become an Amazon Reviewer?
Stay with me as I answer all these questions.
Becoming an Amazon Reviewer
As you can see above, any genuine customer or prospective buyer can become an Amazon reviewer. That’s the best way to become an Amazon reviewer, if you have the time and inclination to help others.
Becoming an Amazon reviewer in the above manner doesn’t fetch you any money or gifts. Instead, you can expect some hearty appreciation for your efforts from buyers.
However, there’s another way to become an Amazon reviewer and make money and get free gifts. You can also get extremely high discounts on shopping from Amazon in exchange of a positive or favorable review.
Sounds interesting right? Fair enough. So let’s start with one major shocker.
Shockers for Paid Amazon Reviewers
So, if you’re considering or want to get paid or avail heavy discounts and gifts in exchange of positive and favorable reviews of products sold on Amazon, here’s the first shocker.
America’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in a landmark case, filed a lawsuit against a company and its paid reviewers for posting fake reviews on Amazon.
And anyone living in USA will definitely know that charges levelled by a government organization can wreak your entire life. It involves hiring expensive attorneys and meeting other legal obligations.
In addition, a lawsuit for writing paid reviews can also cause you to lose your current employment or severely damage the image of your business.
Depending upon the nature of the lawsuit, you may have to pay a heavy settlement amount to someone who read your review and suffered losses. And worse, you might face a jail term for writing a paid review.
But, there’s a legit way to become a reviewer- a professional and legit reviewer- on Amazon and for Amazon. Therefore, I suggest you try this method to become an Amazon reviewer.
Try Out Amazon Vine
Maybe you haven’t heard of Amazon Vine. Fair enough. Because Amazon Vine is an ‘Invitations Only’ program that enrolls honest reviewers that have large followers in a particular product category.
Amazon Vine isn’t a way to make money. No. Amazon Vine’s official page specifically says the company or a seller or manufacturer cannot pay you money to write an honest review. So, if you’re having any ideas about using Amazon Vine to make money: forget it.
How Amazon Vine works for Amazon Reviewers?
If you’ve written several honest and unbiased reviews on Amazon, the company will invite you to join the Amazon Vine program. When you accept the program, Amazon will assign you a confidential username and password.
You will be a member of a select group of people or clubs known as Amazon Voices. And you will be known as an Amazon Voice.
Usually, companies and sellers that want honest reviews for their products will approach Amazon for its Amazon Vine service.
Depending upon the nature of the product, Amazon will send the stuff to some Amazon Vine members to write an honest and unbiased review for the seller or manufacturer. This unbiased review will appear on Amazon website.
The seller or manufacturer cannot find the identities of the reviewer or Amazon Voice. Hence, they’ll be unable to contact you and make any offers.
While Amazon clearly states that Amazon Vine doesn’t pay its reviewers, there’s no mention about what happens to the stuff you receive for testing for writing a review.
Most likely, you get to keep the stuff, especially if it’s a consumable item, I would guess.
Remember, as Amazon Voice, you are free to write an unbiased and honest review. Therefore, there’s no need to worry even if a specific review is very negative.
Amazon emphasizes that it puts customers first and hence, doesn’t want them to end up with low quality or poor grade stuff.
Before concluding, I would suggest everyone reading this article to avoid looking for discounts or write paid reviews for cash. The reason is very simple.
With Federal Trade Commission now accepting complaints about fake or incorrect reviews, you might land in serious legal trouble.
And that can cost you much more than any amount of money you’ll make through discounts or freebies or cash paid for writing positive reviews.