Reviews are a fundamental part of being a success selling on Amazon, so the idea that yours could be blocked or deleted is worrisome. How do you know if it’s happening to you? This post uncovers what’s going on with product reviews on Amazon and what you can do to avoid that pitfall.
Are Amazon Reviews Actually Being Deleted or Blocked?
Just as with almost everything that has to do with Amazon (and how it operates behind the scenes), there’s no surefire way to say what exactly is going on. They haven’t come out and issued any official statements on deleted or blocked reviews, so what’s known has come from firsthand accounts from sellers.
It looks like three common situations have emerged that users have reported.
- 1. Deleted Reviews: Sellers have seen their sales numbers go up, but the number of reviews goes down. This can be extremely frustrating to sellers who are methodical and don’t skip any steps, like using an Amazon feedback tool to request a review from every buyer.
- 2. Blocked Reviews: This situation can be a tricky one, as sellers don’t usually know about it unless the buyer has told them they can’t leave a review. Shoppers have reported getting messages that tell them the product is ineligible to receive reviews, however, it’s unknown how long that is before the block has been lifted.
- 3. Throttled Reviews: The consensus appears to be that when a product has a review limit on it, it tends to be around 3-5 per day. There also seem to be different throttle limits depending on if the review is verified or unverified.
Why Would Amazon Block or Delete Reviews?
On the surface, it doesn’t seem to make much sense that Amazon would block or delete reviews. After all, one of the updates to their A10 algorithm is that more weight is given to seller authority, with the number of reviews comprising a big part of that. And because feedback is one of the top ways a buyer makes their decision, blocking reviews seems a little illogical.
However, digging beneath the surface turns up a couple of valid theories for why this could be happening to you.
Amazon Has Flagged a Listing for ‘Unusual Reviewing Behaviour’
The term ‘unusual reviewing behaviour’ doesn’t really spell out much, but there are a few causes as to why Amazon could flag a listing.
- 1. The product listing has too many unverified reviews. A verified review means that the product was purchased on Amazon and it wasn’t at a deep discount. A review without that badge doesn’t necessarily mean the opposite, only that Amazon can’t confirm that it was both bought on the marketplace and for a normal-ish price.
- 2. Reviews with odd or suspicious words or phrases in them. This could be caused by review bots flooding a product listing with essentially the same reviews, artificially boosting that product’s calibre — a practice Amazon is trying to crack down on.
- 3. Markedly higher sales or reviews out of the blue. Again, this could be a sign of review bots flooding a product listing if it has a ton more buys or reviews popping up overnight.
The Accounts That Left the Reviews Could Have Been Banned or Erased
Since 2016, Amazon has been coming down hard on people who have taken part in bought or incentivised reviews. A common consequence of that is having the account suspended, banned or outright deleted, which means that all the reviews left by the account could be gone, too (even if some reviews were legitimate ones).
An unfortunate casualty of this could be you and the reviews for your products. If a shady account has been suspended or deleted, its reviews can go with it, meaning that any left on your product listings would be gone as well. This sucks if the reviews the shady account left for you were honest ones, but it’s one of the effects of Amazon trying to clean up messy reviews in the last few years.
What Can You Do?
The biggest thing you can do for yourself is play exactly by Amazon’s rules. Don’t try and get into grey areas in their Terms of Service, as it could leave you standing on the sidelines, bleeding from injury. This means avoiding things like:
- Using coercive phrasing in feedback emails to get buyers to leave you a positive review.
- Paying or offering incentives for reviews, such as telling buyers you’ll PayPal them a refund after they purchase and leave a review.
- Outright asking a person who left a bad review to change or remove it (work instead on righting the situation and being better in the future).
As for what you can be doing, that includes:
- Leave a bit of time in between review request messages. A feedback app like FeedbackExpress is excellent for this, as it automatically spaces out the time between messages sent.
- Take part in the Early Reviewer Program. It costs $60 for Amazon to try and get reviews on your behalf by offering buyers little incentives for products without reviews. It lasts a year or until you get five reviews, whichever comes first, but all reviews are completely legitimate. Note, Amazon has announced it plans to cancel its Early Reviewer program from April 25.
We’ve outlined just how impactful Amazon feedback software can be to staying compliant and strong on Amazon, and eDesk leads the way with an all-in-one customer service solution that centralizes all your marketplace messages and takes care of your feedback requests. It’s free for 14 days, easy to set up and we don’t need a credit card for your free trial period.