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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 28, 2016

Seven in ten reviews deleted by Amazon were 'incentivized'

Earlier this year Amazon said they would address the problem of incentivized reviews and new research carried out by ReviewMeta appears to show they have made good on their promise.

by Helen Leggatt

Incentivized reviews, where people receive free or discounted products in return for writing an "unbiased" review, were shown by ReviewMeta's research earlier this year to be anything but "unbiased". That was probably due to many reviewers hoping to be given further free or discounted products in the future. However, ReviewMeta's research found that incentivized reviews were not significantly hiked registering, on average, 4.74 stars out of five as opposed to the average of 4.36 stars for reviews that were not incentivized.

Nonetheless, ReviewMeta's recent analysis of 65 million reviews across more than 32,000 products in all categories found that 71% of the 500,000 or so reviews deleted by Amazon of late were incentivized. The result is that there has been a slight decrease in the average star rating across the site - from 4.73 to 4.65.

So, why only a slight decrease? According to Bruce Brown at Digital Trends, "Amazon wasn't counting incentivized reviews in calculating overall product ratings, and instead utilized reviews and ratings from "Verified Purchasers" (except with brand new product where there weren't yet many reviews that were not incentivized)" adding that "Shoppers could pretty much depend on the overall star ratings coming from people who actually paid for the products they reviewed".

Tags: Amazon, fake reviews, product reviews

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