New Amazon Guidelines Prevent Customer Reviews For Free/Discounted Products – Except Books

New Guidelines Oct 3In all this election fever, you may have missed that Amazon has changed their Community Guidelines on October 03, 2016 prohibiting authors from seeking Customer Reviews by offering a free or discounted product. As website ilovetoreview.com reports, “Specifically, Amazon sellers can no longer give a discounted or free product to anyone in exchange for a review, honest or otherwise.” This is a huge blow for sellers – EXCEPT AUTHORS! Good old Amazon adds, “The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books.” Yay Amazon! Thanks for helping indie authors! You can read more here.

However, all those wanting to leave a Customer Review will have to adhere to Amazon’s other new rule:

To post Customer Reviews or Customer Answers, post on Customer Discussion Forums, or submit content to followers, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card.

This seems to be an attempt to get to safer and fairer ground with spam reviews, and will help authors continue to get real reviews for their books. However, it may hit those who review in exchange for free books. There is a new tilt to offering books for review, however,

Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

So in other words, you cannot expect a review, only hope for one. Amazon thought police? Hmmm.

  • InklingBooks

    With Amazon, it’s almost always about the money. Amazon isn’t banning incentivized reviews. It’s banning them from anywhere but its Vine program.


    The book exception means little. The free books that Vine offers reviewers are typically little-known. Popular bestsellers don’t need to trade free books for reviews.

    Nor does reviewing Vine books make much sense financially. Books are cheap and a legitimate review means hours of reading. Get a $12 book, spend four hours reading it, and you’re earning a mere $3 an hour. Contrast that to getting a free $150 WiFi router and installing it in a hour because you needed a new one anyway. That’s $150 an hour. The latter is the market Amazon wants to make exclusive to them.

    Amazon’s rules will only drive these paid-for reviews underground. I’m on some of Amazon’s top reviewer lists. About two or three times a week I get an offer for free stuff for a review. I trash the email, but if those review spammers weren’t getting some takers, they wouldn’t be sending out those emails. Banning only means those paid reviewers will no longer mention that they’re paid, making the deception even greater.