Amazon will start capping the number of product reviews any customer can submit in a given week, limiting each person to five/week except for products that have been verified by the company as purchased by the reviewer.
Books, music and video are exempt from the limit, but the new cap applies to the rest of Amazon’s vast online selection of products.
It’s the latest move by the e-commerce giant to police its online reviews, a critical resource used by many online shoppers to assess products before buying. The news comes during the peak holiday shopping season, the most important time of year for Amazon, as the company tries to get more people comfortable with doing more of their shopping online.
Some of Amazon’s more prolific reviewers received emails this week informing them of the new cap, as reported by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the changes in a message to GeekWire, and they’re spelled out in Amazon’s updated Community Guidelines.
“We are introducing a policy change around customer reviews,” said spokeswoman Angie Newman via email. “Customers can now only submit a limited number of non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews a week. The limit is five and the count is calculated from Sunday at 12:00am UTC through Saturday 11:59pm UTC. Customer’s ability to submit Amazon Verified Purchase reviews will not be impacted. This policy also does not apply to Vine reviews or reviews on digital and physical books, music, and video.”
She added, “We’re always innovating on behalf of our customers and shoppers consistently tell us that they value reviews from other shoppers who they know have purchased the product on Amazon.”
Amazon’s review system has been in the spotlight in recent days as the company reportedly suppressed some negative reviews and ratings of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s new memoir, politically motivated commentary submitted by people who hadn’t been verified to have purchased the book. That situation wouldn’t have been impacted by the new policy given the exception for books and other media.
The new cap is part of an ongoing effort by Amazon to weed out fraudulent reviews and ensure the authenticity and reliability of reviews by customers. While Amazon says the vast majority of reviews are authentic, the company previously filed suit against the alleged operators of businesses that sell fake online reviews, as well as merchants who buy them.
In addition, Amazon put new restrictions on reviews by people who received free or discounted products, and has reportedly been deleting many of those “incentivized” reviews.
Amazon last year also changed the algorithm for displaying reviews and ratings — giving greater weight to newer, more helpful and verified customer reviews (written comments) and ratings (the 5-star system) when determining top reviews to display, and when calculating a product’s overall rating.