What you definitely shouldn’t do to get reviews on Amazon.

In our latest four blog posts we have discussed many of the ‘Dos’ when gathering reviews on Amazon. In this post, we will cover all the things you shouldn’t do, if you want to stay friends with the e-commerce giant. Anything else could be a costly affair if you rely on Amazon sales and your account is suddenly shut down.

The good thing about Amazon’s guidelines is that they are quite precise about what you can and cannot do. This means that whenever something is phrased more vaguely, chances are that Amazon intentionally has left room for interpretation.

And with no further ado: here is the list of things you are NOT allowed to do when gathering reviews on Amazon.

You are never allowed to review your own products.

As a seller, you are not allowed to review your own products. This includes reviews written in your own name and using an alias. Similarly, you are not allowed to use your own account or an alias to write reviews on any competitor’s products.

And no, you are not allowed to use your mother or your intern to write reviews for you either.

As a seller, you are not allowed to categorize different products as variants of the same item ex. if you are selling a high-ranking bag which has many positive reviews, you are not allowed to add shoes as a variation of said bag to sell more shoes. That is confusing to the customer, which Jeff hates!

You are not allowed to pay for reviews

You are NOT allowed to pay customers to give you reviews. Payment includes monetary rewards, discounts, products, and refunds. Perhaps you’ve heard of Facebook groups where sellers offer free products in exchange for reviews? That is against the rules. You can learn more about this scam in the ‘Reply All’ podcast – the episode is called ‘The Magic Box’.

It is against the rules to return products in exchange for reviews, nor are you allowed to offer refunds to get customers to withdraw bad reviews. You are, of course, allowed to replace broken products, when a review has notified you of an issue, whereafter you can request the review to be amended, but the customer shouldn’t feel obliged to do so.

All customers should have the opportunity to review your products – even the angry ones!

As a seller, you mustn’t stand in the way of customers – including ones with bad experiences – leaving a review ex. if you only encourage satisfied customers to review your products or refer unhappy customers to other review sites outside Amazon.

You are not allowed to put a label on your products asking for reviews ex. a sticker offering a 20 % discount if customers leave a positive review.

It is against the rules to manipulate the ‘Helpful’ and ‘Not Helpful’ buttons underneath any product review as this may hinder actual helpful reviews from being shown to customers first. We have written about this topic here. The rules applying to the helpful/not helpful buttons are a bit vaguer, however, as it’s not specified what is meant by manipulation. Again, not involving your mum or intern is a good rule of thumb.

Find the full list of rules applying to customer reviews here. If you are interested in reading the Amazon community guidelines, you can find them here.