Amazon sellers keep a watch on their reviews like a hawk and why not, Amazon reviews are worth their weight in gold. Reviews are a competitive advantage that provides customers a proof that your product is better and worth the money they are paying. They are the first thing a shopper sees on your product page and they have a significant impact on your sales. Recently one thing that confused many sellers was that their reviews disappeared overnight. So where did they go?
The Good News Is That It’s Not Just You
Yes, Amazon isn’t just targeting your listing, thousands of other sellers are facing the same issue as you are and they are just as helpless. Just like every time, Amazon has without any formal statement or giving a reason left us, the seller community in darkness. So many sellers reached out to me asking what could have gone wrong, how will I get those reviews back and what is the best way to move forward.
Amazon seller forums and Facebook groups have been running wild as to what must have happened and very few actually have a grasp on the situation. This is the reason why I was prompted to write this blog post in the first place. It will clear the fog about the mystery of missing reviews and will explain to you how you can remedy this problem.
Why Do Your Reviews Disappear?
Obviously, that’s because Amazon thinks that review does not comply with its rules, guidelines, and policies. But there are several reasons for it and we have rounded out the six most common reasons. Let us discuss each of them in detail:
Reason #1: Amazon Community Guidelines Violations
Amazon has stringent guidelines that govern the publication of reviews. However, not many customers are familiar with it. Shoppers are always promoted to view the tips and guidelines, but very few take time to do that. Here are some common violations that can delete the reviews:
- Using foul or abusive language or images
- Revealing merchant’s personal or contact information such as email address or phone number
- Posting links to third party sites
- Infringement on other’s intellectual property
- Encouraging illegal activity
Amazon has a wide range of systems through which it can track down and flag such reviews. Reviews also have a “Report Abuse” link which can be used by anyone to report a review.
Now if the review was negative, then you might be happy, but if it was a good review, then it might come as a real blow. You can complain and explain your query to Amazon, but their judgment will be final.
Reason #2: Amazon Suspects That The Reviews Are Fake
Amazon wants authentic, unbiased reviews and so do the customers. There are a few things that tickle Amazon’s suspicions. Reviews that might feel fake, biased or too good, will be removed and Amazon’s decision on this is final. Well-intentioned friends and family members will happily agree to help (let us be honest, we ALL have done that, haven’t we?). While their intentions are really noble, if Amazon finds that review too vague, or if the review reads like the buyer has not actually used the product, then it won’t do you any favors. Similarly, multiple reviews entered from the same IP address will be viewed as suspicious.
Reason #3: Buyers Changed Their Minds
Amazon customers have the ability to edit the reviews. According to Amazon, “You can edit or delete your reviews from Your Profile,” and there is no time restriction to that. Now, this may work for or against you. For instance, you are selling an acne cream and in the first few weeks, the buyer had amazing results and he wrote a five-star review. But after some time he was allergic to it. He changed his mind and wrote a one-start review describing how bad your product is. And believe me, people are more likely to go online to post their experience when they are unhappy rather than when they are happy with their product.
However, this freedom can work for you, as well. If a buyer has left a negative review and you helped them resolve the issue, then they may willingly amend or remove the negative review.
Reason #4: Amazon Separated The Reviews
Amazon has specific rules for creating new product pages. Like rule number 1: “you cannot create multiple listing for the same product.” Conversely, rule number 2: “you cannot list multiple different products on the same product page.” When any of these occurs, Amazon separates the existing product pages and the associated reviews so that they show up for the correct product. So it might appear that the reviews have vanished, but in reality, they are moved to their respective product pages.
Reason #5: Technical Error
Amazon frequently and unpredictably changes its algorithm. And as a result of that, reviews can mysteriously disappear from the product page, sometimes to return later. That is why if you see some of your reviews disappear all of a sudden wait at least two to three days before contacting Amazon. Because there is a possibility that they might come back.
Reason #6: Review Splits Because Of Variation
Believe me, I have been there and I have done that. And this is the most scariest thing ever. While creating or separating parent-child variations, there is a possibility that the reviews get disappear. You thought you did something wrong, but it is actually Amazon’s technical error and they will resolve it in some time.
Also, recently, there have been some changes in the variation policy. Previously it used to be that if you have a listing with three ASINs – A (5 reviews), B (10 reviews) and C (15 reviews) and if you create a variation for them then each of the listings would show an aggregated review and star rating count. So each ASIN would show a total of 30 reviews. But now each ASIN will have its review individually and if the ASIN has no reviews, it will show “We could see that there are no reviews placed for ASIN XXXXXXXXX (color: Blue). However, there are 10 reviews placed for ASIN YYYYYYYYYY (color: Pink).
Why Is Amazon Doing All This?
There was a time when Amazon was not so rigid for reviews. There used to be an underground subculture that traded reviews for free products and incentives. But times have changed now and Amazon is getting stricter with every passing day. In an effort to make the review and rating system fairer and more trustworthy, the world’s most customer-centric company has been taking strict actions against reviews that look purchased or fake.
These new rules were implemented in 2016 and since then Amazon has remained unforgiving for sellers who temper with their review TOS. And the actions are not just limited to removing the reviews, but in the worst situations, it can also lead to account suspension. Amazon isn’t just targeting the sellers but the fake reviewers too. According to Viral Launch till June 2018, 4892 of the Top 10,000 reviewers have been removed.
My Reviews Got Disappeared, Now What?
You basically have two choices:
- Get upset about it and do nothing
- Find a proactive way and a practical solution for it
Smart sellers would choose option 2. The harm is done and now all you can do is find a solution to it and learn from it. Here’s what you should do:
1) Contact Seller Support Immediately:
Call Amazon Seller Support and ask them for assistance. Be very polite and don’t yell at them as to why were your reviews removed without informing. Whenever Amazon pulls out a review, it doesn’t always mean it’s gone forever. It can be a technical glitch or a misunderstanding and the issue can be resolved if handled correctly.
2) Keep Track Of Your Reviews:
Whether you get one review in one month or get ten reviews a day, make a habit of keeping a track of all the reviews. When you get them and if possible, check them weekly. You can also take screenshots of every review you get. This way, it will be easier to explain to seller support when the reviews are gone.
3) Don’t Stop Asking For Reviews But Always Be Ethical:
While selling on Amazon, before doing anything, take a moment to check what are Amazon’s thoughts on that matter. Don’t just do it because it worked great for your friend. If it’s not legal, ethical and right, it isn’t going to work long for your friend too and he is going to be suspended from selling on Amazon. I have seen such cases where playing too smart with Amazon did not turn out to be too good for sellers. And while you have so many white-hat tricks for getting reviews, why put your seller account in danger. Click here to know all the Amazon approved tricks to get reviews on Amazon.
Manage Amazon Reviews (With No Effort):
Being an experienced Amazon Expert, my suggestion and policy were, is and will always be to abide by Amazon’s TOS. We have helped many sellers Sell On Amazon and get reviews on their products and all the techniques were 100% white-hat. Contact Us if you are also interested in getting some reviews on your listing. And if you have been prey to this racket of disappearing reviews, feel free to reach out to me and share your query. Maybe I have a solution for you.