I, and everyone else in the Amazon review world, know that when you email appeals for answers, you get back auto responses. Which is why I thought emailing Mr Bezos himself, may give us some clearer answers. Well, I did get a response, NOT from Mr.Bezos himself but his Executive Customer Relations personnel, Peg Anderson.
The only thing I am left with, is more question. All of you walk on eggshells, I did as well. I followed each and every rule, I was extra careful not to “manipulate” a review, only to leave honest, unbiased, straight from the heart reviews. Which, guess, what? It is also considered “manipulating” the reviews or at least how I understood the response from one, Peg Andersen.
” In other words, if a review is written for a discounted or free product, this calls into question the motive for writing the review and, in turn, it causes customers to question the validity–not only of that review but also on the whole review process. However, while obtaining a free or discounted product in and of itself is not a violation nor creating a review for the same, when there are indications that manipulation of the system has occurred, action will be taken”
It took me a few minutes to wrap my head around this portion of the email. There was a lot of talking in circles, backwards answers, and then this part… If I am understanding this correctly, Peg Anderson is saying that if you write a review for a discounted or free product, it automatically calls into question your motive and the validity of the review. Even though it isn’t a violation, it is considered manipulation. Excuse me, but WHAT? WHAT? She goes on to say:
“Our review appeals team looks into every appeal and while you may not agree with their assessment, these investigations are conducted according to strict guidelines. Just because the response isn’t what you want to see or hear, it doesn’t mean all due consideration wasn’t taken. We won’t share our internal mechanics for the review process, so this question will naturally remain, unanswered.”
Soooo what your saying is, no matter what you do, no matter how BY THE BOOK you are, no matter if the product is FREE or discounted, if there is a review left on a product with the smallest discount, you are pretty much going against TOS because the motive for the review is in question and you are manipulating the listing. WHY in God’s name, does Amazon have Amazon Vine? WHY spend man hours writing up guidelines, for which, there are NO GUIDELINES? (even though they sound pretty STRICT)
I get that Amazon wants to protect their Review system, I myself go to Amazon for reviews when considering a purchase. I understand WHY they have lawsuits against a group of people who were writing reviews for products they never even received for pay. That is complete B.S. I absolutely agree they were going against Amazon’s rules and it was hurting the integrity of their review system. HOWEVER, because I utilize Amazon for the exact reasons, others do. I wrote reviews based off my own personal opinions, and experiences with the products I reviewed. The ratings were from 1 to 5, depending on the product. No matter if I paid $0 or $400. The fact that they took the right for me to review on Amazon away, yet allow people to write reviews on products that DIDN’T even buy from Amazon… not only did they make a portion of every sale I made (no matter the cost), they also received my fees for Prime membership, video orders, music purchases, and a slew of other fees. I have been a LONG time member of Amazon, and after being treated unfairly by their system, I have decided to close my Amazon Credit Card Account, buy from originating online stores, change my streaming membership to one that respects my business and hard earned money, then tell Amazon to eat a freaking Banana… they won’t get another penny from me.
And that’s how I really feel.
Response, word for word, below:
Hello Ms. Jennings,
I’m Peg Anderson with Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your email and asked me to respond on his behalf.
Thank you for taking the time to outline your concerns regarding the removal of your review privileges with Amazon.com. I know this has been a shock and am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.
I see you’re a long term customer and that you have contributed to the Review platform for many years. I can assure you, it was only after a very thorough review of your account that this decision was made and even then, was sent back for another look. We do understand the magnitude of the action taken and again, was not done lightly by any means.
With regard to the things you’ve learned, I can appreciate this view of the review system based on your experience. However, it’s not correct and if we were to act in this manner, it would truly affect the Review platform and our Sellers and Vendors, adversely.
Customer reviews are an essential aspect of our website, and the whole review system relies on customer trust. It is with this in mind that we will take action when the motive behind a review is in question. In other words, if a review is written for a discounted or free product, this calls into question the motive for writing the review and, in turn, it causes customers to question the validity–not only of that review but also on the whole review process. However, while obtaining a free or discounted product in and of itself is not a violation nor creating a review for the same, when there are indications that manipulation of the system has occurred, action will be taken.
Our review appeals team looks into every appeal and while you may not agree with their assessment, these investigations are conducted according to strict guidelines. Just because the response isn’t what you want to see or hear, it doesn’t mean all due consideration wasn’t taken. We won’t share our internal mechanics for the review process, so this question will naturally remain, unanswered.
Our review platform is an essential and integral part of our website. We’d be doing a grave disservice to our customers if we only allowed positive reviews which is why we don’t suppress reviews based on the positive or negative aspects of the review itself. Simply put, if it doesn’t align with our guidelines, it won’t be posted and that is the same for the reviewer.
Lastly, we want people to question our Review platform. We want to know when it’s working and when it’s not and how the reviews affect our customers, their buying and their trust in the Amazon site. Recent changes to our reviews and review platform, mirror that feedback.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Andrea. Again, I’m sorry we’re unable to reinstate your privileges nor will we offer further comment or action regarding this decision. Thank you for your time and for writing to Amazon.com.
Executive Customer Relations