Amazon Reviews: Vine Voice and Unusual Reviewing Activity
Amazon Ranking: #12,153
I purchased a beard-care gift-set for my bearded male associate, and after two weeks (and several tests of the product) wrote an extensive amazon review detailing the loves and eh’s of the product. I went to press “submit” and an Amazon error message popped up
This seemed odd, as I’ve had reviews that were flagged before (for language the algorithm didn’t like) but I’ve never had a review stopped dead in its tracks.
So, why wasn’t this review accepted?
After a little research and poking around, I discovered that this product had been reviewed by a significant number of people tagged as “Vine Voice Reviewers”. This is something that I had heard of when I first started researching Amazon reviews but hadn’t until this past week when a commenter on this blog asked about them.
BBC wrote an article back in 2016 about Amazon’s end to incentivized reviews (aka the Vine program) but it looks like they’re starting to bring it back full-force. A Vine Voice is someone in Amazon’s reviewing program that receives the product for free. This program has been established since 2007 but honestly I thought it was dead until now. Maybe the products I usually buy don’t participate in the program, but this one certainly did.
The product had 23 reviews written in the past month, with 22 of them being the “Vine Voice” reviews. As I was allowed to review a different product I’d ordered, my guess is that Amazon prevents people from reviewing products that have a suspicious amounts of reviews on them – even if the reviews are from people who are in Amazon’s own reviewing program.
Since Amazon reviewers have long been limited to 5 unverified reviews per week, I’m wondering if those reviews left by the “Vine Voice” customers don’t count as verified purchases since they were incentivized, and if a certain number of unverified purchases on a product’s reviews could potentially prevent genuine reviewers from leaving their comments on the product because it looks suspicious.
All speculation, but anything’s possible.
Tried to review a product and couldn’t. My current running theory is that Amazon flags products with a certain number of unverified (or incentivized) reviews over a certain time period, preventing anyone else from submitting a review.