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Amazon customer video reviews often don't come from actual customers

submitted on October 30, 2013 by YanBz in "Stores / Merchants"
NPR just posted an interesting podcast where they discuss Amazon's practices related to customer video reviews. It turns out Amazon has an invitation only Vine program where customers who post video reviews get access to free stuff every week. The products are mailed out to them for review and even though Amazon restricts the reviewers from selling or giving the products away, the products are never requested back.

The sad part is that these reviews are then flagged as “customer reviews” where the people reviewing them are not true customers but rather interested individuals “working for Amazon” to get the next sample. Take the time to listen the podcast, they really did some good investigative work there interviewing top video reviewer and also some experts in the area.

Episode 492: M. Erb's Amazon Empire
The Vine program at Amazon:

The podcast summary:

We recently became obsessed with a strange, select club: The top rated reviewers on Amazon. These are ordinary people — not Amazon employees — who write and record hundreds of astonishingly detailed reviews on Amazon.

At this moment, Amazon's number 1 reviewer is Michael Erb (Amazon screen name, M. Erb). He's has reviewed more than 850 products, ranging from telescopes to facial wipes. On today's show, we talk to Erb and another top reviewer, and we try to figure out: Why do they spend so much time and effort reviewing stuff on Amazon?

  • 184702
    Posted by HouTex on October 30, 2013 [reply] 0 0
    Wow, that's disappointing! Shouldn't these "reviewers" have to disclose that they have been compensated for the reviews? Hopefully the exposure by NPR will help keep them honest.
    • HouTex
      Posted by HouTex on October 30, 2013 [reply] 0 0
      Apologies, I made my comment before I read everything thoroughly and I didn't mean it to be misleading. So just to set the record straight - the vine reviews have a green text message across the top that shows the products were received for free. And, after further research I see that these reviewers were customers who wrote reviews about a lot of their purchases before they were invited to join the Vine program.
  • 184703
    Posted by JackBauer on October 30, 2013 [reply] 0 0
    I want to be a vine reviewer and get free stuff to try Big Grin

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