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Amazon TOS Update

Buckle in. This one’s a doozie.

On October 3rd, 2016 Amazon released a massive update to their Community Guidelines. This ground shaking release came with it’s very own press release.

Here’s the scary part:

Under new guidelines, “creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else,” is now prohibited.

The critical sentence causing all the fuss:

Amazon Terms of Service Reviews Update

Conclusion

Basically, Amazon prohibits “incentivized reviews” unless they are facilitated through Amazon’s Vine program. ( Ever play Monopoly? ) Effective immediately, Amazon does not allow any product reviews that are given in exchange for a discounted or free product.

This is for new reviews only and will not affect existing reviews.

SoOOOooO…. let’s calm down for a moment and think about what this actually means to us. As a professional community that works closely with Amazon, we must accept these changes and adapt. Your business still exists and your products still need promoting. That will never change. The way we do that just has to adapt to comply.

The not so scary reality:

Jonathan Norberg, Amazon’s Executive Customer Relations, sent out the email below to our community stating that as long as there was no attempt to tie a review to the discounted product, it is perfectly safe for the buyer to not only leave the review. He also says that no disclaimer is required. So, FEAR NOT, because our partnerships with sellers and buyers alike reflect that no one is attempting to manipulate reviews by correlating them with discounted products. There will be no actions taken against either party as we are 100% compliant.

amazon tos compliance

 

Reassurance to LaunchZon Sellers who have previously used our service:

Both LaunchZon and (previously existing) RateZon are not and have never been either the vendor or seller – We identify and invite trusted and helpful buyers on Amazon who may choose to post opinions about new and pre-release products; we do not incentivize positive star ratings, attempt to influence the content of reviews, or even require a review to be written.”

RateZon/LaunchZon community guidelines have always prohibited compensation to reviewers in exchange for reviews, with an exception – reviewers could post a review in exchange for a free or discounted product as long as they disclosed that fact as was allowed by Amazon TOS. We have always focused on being within compliance to Amazon’s ever changing guidelines.

 

How does this affect you?

The Brass Tax for Amazon Sellers:

Amazon’s update announcement affects the process of generating reviews from promotional giveaways by outlawing review for discount reviews. You are still allowed you use promotions and discount to increase sales as long as those interactions do not imply a review is automatically provided. The inspiration for review must be authentic of the buyer based on their experiences and not the incentives of the promotion applied. Effective with the timing of Amazon’s update, we no longer request or require our users who purchase products through RateZon at a discount to leave a product review. While this will have an impact on the volume of reviews received it should guarantee a higher quality review that comply with Amazon’s Terms of Service.

As a seller on LaunchZon, you can still give away products at a discount, if you choose.  Historically, we have seen the incoming sales through our RateZon users (regardless of the discount on the product) does in fact lead to much improved search engine rankings and an increase in organic sales.

This is still the best platform on the web to send product campaigns to organic buyers and will continue to get better.  Post sale follow-up emails will now become more important than ever for listings to get the reviews they need.  You can expect LaunchZon and RateZon to continue to get better in this aspect, including an updated new sophisticated seller dashboard coming soon.

The Brass Tax for Amazon Buyers:

This is still a legitimate and compliant platform to get amazing deals and discounts on Amazon products. Existing buyers will be notified that we no longer request or require them to leave a review.  Sellers will be notified of the new policy as well. We will continue to listen to feedback you all so generously give and remain diligent in our goals to stun you with amazing opportunities.

What have we been doing?

We have been chugging caffeine and Redbull talking with our community in an all nighter session. Together our seller and buyer communities have come up with some solutions moving forward. We have been pouring through all of the resources available we together still believe that this change is not as detrimental as the initial scare we all interpreted.

Both RateZon and LaunchZon have always made a priority of ensuring that buyers and their actions are evaluated fairly and not based on incentives offered.  The community has always feared something of this caliber would occur since Amazon launched Vine years ago. As a result of the inevitable, we have put in the time and worked hard to become a complete Amazon reviews management system. Our custom analytics and follow up email campaigns have and into the future will provide incredible value to Amazon sellers looking to boost rankings, organic sales, and product reviews.

As an entire organization, the Ratezon/Launchzon duo has had the goal to provide sellers and buyers a solution that best suits both parties while always complying with Amazon guidelines Terms of Service. Sellers did and still need to promote their new Amazon products, this change does not change these needs.

Our goals moving forward will be the same as they always have been in providing a cutting edge solution that is easily accessible to everyone. This means an overhaul to our promotional structures that put emphasis on the promotion and not on the review. Great products get reviews. This is proven and is still a foundation of any promotion online. Our advantage is our huge network of engaged buyers who are well versed in Amazon Terms of Service and online promotional requirements.

Happening Now:

  • Starting today and over the course of the next week, you’ll see some of the verbiage on our website and social accounts to reflect this policy.
  • We will be merging RateZon into LaunchZon at Promo.Launchzon.com to increase the transparency of our entire network and activity.
  • We will be emailing all users on both Ratezon and Launchzon to update them on the changes.
  • We will continue to update you as the effects of the policy become more clear.

Note**

If you have any questions or advice moving forward into this exciting new era please leave a comment on this post below. We don’t know all the answers yet but together we can create a solution that provides the best results based on all of our requirements and needs ( and amazon terms of service updates .)

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  • Heather Coppock

    maybe I received this product as a sample and are not reqired to leave a review but I choose to help other buyers.

  • Joseph Kelly

    It’s not allowing me to update this site with my review information (http://promo.launchzon.com/completed-review-form/ says that page is down). Is this intentional?

    • Kim Barshaw

      Yes as this time it is intentional. We are still editing the sites for the update

    • Kim Barshaw

      Yes it is intentional until the sites are completed updating

  • Kim Barshaw

    The Ratezon team is working diligently to update the website. Please remain patient

  • Kim Barshaw

    The changes in the code take time to work out, RateZon/LaunchZon has let everyone know that a review is not requested or required

    • Crystal Ann

      Ok thank you! Just wanted to make sure I didn’t want to lose my account here. To be safe to keep my Amazon account I don’t wanna review anything that in any way implies I have to review.

  • [email protected]

    I have a few reviews due. I want to review them. What should I write with this review instead of a disclosure?

  • gotfish

    This is easy. Amazon says no review will now include the disclaimer. If you receive a product at a discounted rate, it’s a gift. If you like the product, or if you want to, simply review it. I depend upon people reviewing items irregardless of whether or not they paid full price. A good review is a good review and we should all continue to do them.

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