5 REASONS WHY I STOPPED TAKING UP ‘AMAZON REVIEW’ CAMPAIGNS

Amazon review campaigns are those collaborations which involve buying products and reviewing them for brands, so that the brands can improve their quality or increase their sales (if the review is good). The amount is then reimbursed to us at a later date. Many a times there are middle-men called PRs who coordinate this collaboration between the influencer and the brand.

While it was initially quite exciting to review products and get them for free, it became quite a pain in the **** towards the end. Finally, for my sanity, I decided that it was best that I resisted the temptation of getting free products and stayed away from such collaborations.

So, here are the main reasons why I stopped taking up Amazon Review campaigns specifically:

amazon review campaign
Star rating on Amazon.com
  1. FIVE STARS IN A WEEK: Brands and PRs are always in a hurry for you to put up the review as soon as possible. For hair care products, how can anyone give an honest review within a week? For an Onion Oil, I had written an honest review at first (after the PR pestered me to write it ASAP), but then the PR asked me to edit it and write something nice. Then, he asked me to write everything nice and give the product 5 stars despite the way I felt about the product. His reasoning was that the brand had given me a free product and I had to give the product a 5 star rating. I was in no mood to deal with such PRs or brands ever again.
    Khadi Mauri Herbal Onion Oil – Rating 2.5/5 – Original Review on Amazon – It’s a little unfair to review an oil over one time use, but anyway, the oil is not that greasy and stays light on hair. It does have a pungent smell, and kind of stays even after 2 washes. But guess that’s a given as it’s an onion oil. I deal with frizzy hair, so I would like something which can help me manage them but this oil does not help me on that front, not in the first use at least. Hair gets a little soft after the wash but that’s it. Not much luster as well which I was expecting. Overall, an average product per my experience.
  2. UNNECESSARY PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS: Some brands write you a pretty email, ask you to buy their product and review it. In a few days, they have internal issues and stop responding to all your emails. While it is a gain for the brand, the influencer, on the other hand, suffers a loss for no fault of his. He may not even enjoy the product but he has paid for it as well as given a review for no gain. Does this seem fair?
  3. INNUMERABLE DELIVERABLES: Many brands believe that if they are providing you with free products, they have the right to ask for numerous deliverables like being creative and posting your picture with the product on FB, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Zomato and their own website. So, even if one deliverable is not completed (eg. Amazon review has been deleted), they refuse to reimburse you. Is this worth one free product? So, when we are at a loss, we are naturally going to delete our brand posts from Instagram and all other social media platforms! On what basis can you complain about it?
  4. DELAYED/ DEDUCTED PAYMENTS: I have bought a product that I got reimbursed for after a month of following up. Imagine having to follow up for small amounts every time you review a product. Also, there are some campaigns where they reimburse you for live reviews but they deduct Rs. 50/- from the amount. I found it totally pointless to do this for an unknown brand. Unless I actually want that product, I don’t see why I should even lose Rs. 10/- for merely reviewing it on Amazon.
  5. DELETED REVIEWS: Last, but most important point for today. Most brands will give you the refund only once your Amazon review goes live. But, Amazon has their own protocol for rejecting reviews. So, if your review is deleted, you have lost your money. I have honestly reviewed products like Dabur Hand Sanitizer, Rage Coffee, Karma Kettle, etc., but my reviews had gotten deleted and therefore I did not get reimbursed. The worst part was that I wasn’t sure which party to blame, for this loss of mine.
    Sometimes, if there is a sudden boost of purchases made for one particular product during a time frame, all those reviews are apparently rejected because Amazon flags all those accounts under ‘unusual activity’.

    What does “unusual activity” mean according to Amazon?
    This account’s ability to contribute may have been removed for one or more of the following reasons:
    — Elements of the account indicate a relationship to sellers, publishers, or other reviewers of the products you review.
    — Reviews were posted in exchange for compensation, such as gift cards to purchase the product, product refunds, review swaps, or free or discounted products.
    — The account requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.
    — A previous review from this account was removed because it did not comply with Amazon’s Community Guidelines, which states accounts may not submit multiple reviews on the same product.

I also recall having to buy a white Debock power bank which did not work. When I informed the PR that it wasn’t charging my phone properly, they asked me to put a 5 star rating because I will be getting the product for free. Instead, we assumed it was a defected piece and applied for a replacement. Even the replacement did not work well and further damaged my husband’s phone’s battery (because we assumed it was a good product and he needed a power bank as he was running late for work). Whom do we blame for this loss? We finally just returned it and got refunded by Amazon itself. Check out my husband’s detailed review in the image below.

amazon review campaigns
Genuine review of Debock Power Bank (White)

Another annoying campaign is the bulk reviews for Rs. 100/-. Here, all the products have to be given 5 stars without having used them. Do people really do such campaigns? I did not take up such a campaign but I got requests for many like these, therefore, I felt the need to mention it here.

Then there are the rude PRs we have to deal with, again because we got that precious product, that costs Rs. 200/-, for free. I agree that sometimes we get the product for free, but does it mean that we are slaves of these campaigns?

amazon review campaign
Pin it like it’s hot!

After going through this mental stress, and realizing that many brands do not want honest reviews, I decided to quit accepting such campaigns. When I got to know that others are also going through this, I curated this informative blog to help them understand what they are getting into.

So, next time a campaign comes as an opportunity, make sure to rethink before you accept the same. Currently, I take up such collaborations only if I know the brand and will surely use the product. Yet, I prepare myself for loss just in case my reviews get deleted or the brand shuts down.

Here are some of the items I have bought from Amazon, and DO recommend! MY STOREFRONT

This is part of the blog train #LetsBlogwithPri Season 2. You can check out Rahat’s blog on Navrathri fasts for Diabetics and Urvashi’s blog on teaching children how to handle failure.

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Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :)You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

54 Comments

  1. Jyoti says:

    This is amazing post and eye opener for many This is ugly truth that Sometimes the products are not good enough for a 5 star rating but brand wants it.
    Its better to avoid these campaigns .

  2. Humaira says:

    we as influencer or blogger need to understand the responsibility and take up only those products in which we truly believe in!! Great thoughts.

  3. You had written so well and this is freaking true.
    Will share this post with my family and friends.

  4. Mrinal Kiran says:

    I absolutely agree with you! I too stopped taking up amazon review campaigns because of these issues..

  5. Siddhi says:

    I so agree with you on this and writing about it wad much needed. I feel it’s worthless to take up such products. Deducting 50 rs for “mehnat” is what I was told. I have shifted focus solely on books for a reason

  6. I am totally with you on this. I think from the perspective of a real buyer. One fake review could make someone purchase something which doesn’t desrve 5 stars. I too believe in reviewing honestly. I don’t review a product that doesn’t work for me or my family. Thanks for speaking up about this.

  7. Vaishali Sudan Sharma says:

    Glad someone spoke about this. PRs do treat influencers and give them peanuts for their work. Only an influencer can take a stand about it and change the whole scenario.

  8. Really appreciate the fact that you have shared your experiences here. It is really useful and a warning to those looking to work with the company, so that they can make the right decision.

  9. So true. Any influencer who is honestly reviewing products is doing so in order to alert the prospective buyers about genuine feedback for the said product. But if these reviews are to be fudged, it loses its integrity and so does the influencer. It is a much-appreciated gesture on your part to come up with this post. I hope brands are listening.

  10. Even I fell into the trap of Amazon review campaigns but only after writing 2-3 reviews, I realized this was not right. As an Amazon customer myself, I now doubt the reviews and ratings before buying a product because I know the brand must have got the numbers with the help of influencers. So yes, these campaigns are a no no for me as well.

  11. Judy says:

    Honestly I have been there , done that and dusted that long ago. the points you mentioned all are so damn hitting the nail. Yes there are endless deliverables even for 900-1000 rs products and payment or reimbursement is often delayed.

  12. I dunno about Amazon but I was asked to endorse a hairdryer which had absolutely negative reviews and I checked the company and all its products were either not working or didn’t have the product any longer. I refused to do it and I was told that I won’t get further reviews. And like u pointed out shampoos and stuff don’t show results in one wash. So I just left it at that.

  13. Snigdha says:

    You are right. These are the reasons,I have also almost stopped Amazon review thingy. Brand only want 5star review and that too within 2-3days of receiving the product.

  14. Varsh says:

    Been there done that, Cindy. I’ve been in your shoes and know exactly how frustrating the whole experience can be. Rejected reviews have cost me too. I’m not into these anymore as well.

  15. Actually, facing such issues is really annoying. It is hard as a content creator to be honest in your reviews and also fulfill the brand expectations. Indeed an eye-opener post!

  16. More and more influencers should read this post to know what goes behind these Amazon review collaborations. I remember doing it once and that was the time I decided that this should be the last too. Hats off to you for coming up with the real picture.

  17. Archana says:

    Omg! your post has come as an eye-opener for me, did not have any idea about this bitter truth behind the reviews. This compelled me to think twice before heading for any paid reviews on Amazon.

  18. I agree with you, such campaigns are usually annoying and so are the other barter campaigns. Amazon reviews are useful only when you agree to work with your set of conditions. However, I agree to the overall sentiment.

  19. Ruchi Verma says:

    I am so happy you have written this, trust me we as influencer or blogger need to understand the responsibility and take up only those projects in which we truly believe in!!

  20. Yes brands want to write us only nice things about their products and as a honest person we can’t do that if products is not upto the mark. I had similar experience with barter association for blog posts and now I had stopped taking them.

  21. The tasks that don’t add value to our blog shall definitely be dropped. I am in sync with your thoughts on Amazon reviews, looking for your thoughts on barter activities too.

  22. Shreemayee Chattoppadhyay says:

    I have also stopped doing Amazon reviews. The main cause is the mandatory 5 star review and that’s also within 5-6 days. This can never be an honest feedback and it seems like cheating the buyers. Others are also the causes though.

  23. Tina Basu says:

    I do this rarely now because of similar reasons and i dont want to recommend random things to people.

  24. Beyond a point, its a menace to manage the items. The review are not mostly biased and so agree with your views. The deliverables are just so many. I consciously decided to not get into this from day start.

  25. Really enjoyed reading this post, even though I don’t do review campaigns and get insights into this. Till a few years ago I used to do mystery shopping audits and really enjoyed them. Of course free stuff was a puller, but the main thing I enjoyed was that these reviews had to be honest and the purpose was to ensure better customer experience. These kind of fake reviews are a real put off!

  26. Amrit Kaur says:

    I am totally against doing paid or biased reviews over shopping platforms. We should be true and give honest genuine reviews.

  27. Kavita Singh says:

    I never understood the concept of it until they contacted some diaper brands. It was a new brand and I thought of saying yes but it was a horrible experience and since then I never agreed to any such project.

  28. Ishieta says:

    oh my! this is an ugly side to PR and reviews 🙁 and this is so sad! also, are the PR folks unaware that MOST people can make out fake reviews from real ones. also, how can any business build a sustainable presence if they take shortcuts?

  29. I have never been a huge fan of Amazon Reviews in any case, that is why I didn’t bother when some brands got in touch for such reviews. Brands should not contact bloggers if they think they can dictate views.

  30. I have never done this so not aware about anything. Thanks for sharing this so that I will be more cautious if I get to do any reviews in future.

  31. Amazon review sometime is very painful. Even I lost my money when review doesn’t go live.

  32. Gunjan Upadhyay says:

    This is awful, earlier reading reviews and buying products was in but amazing is losing its value, glad you pointed out this

  33. Loved your post!Facing the same issues!

  34. You have just busted out the myth. Great job indeed. There are products on Amazon that do not deserve a 5 on 5.

  35. I feel you! Amazon campaigns are super annoying but I feel that way about all barter campaigns. I very rarely accept an Amazon review campaign but only for the products that I genuinely need/want to try and with the disclaimer that I will be completely honest! As you can probably guess, I don’t get too many of them!

  36. That’s a really important decision you have taken , it’s not right to misguide your customer by false reviews.
    Thank you for putting up your points really helpful .

  37. Ghazala Naseem says:

    Agree with all you have written.
    Sometimes the products are not good enough for a 5 star rating but brand wants it.
    I also avoid such campaigns.
    Want to give honest reviews.

  38. Alpana says:

    I have been getting amazon review requests but somehow wit never attracted me. Now after reading your post I feel, it was a right decision. I would rather put the effort in pitching to brands directly or create a new post for my readers.

  39. Sundeep says:

    You stopped reviewing Amazon products after a point when it ceased to be fun anymore. Wise decision I must say. Can totally relate to the pressures of the brands and PRs to rate the products 5 on 5. By doing that they are making their client’s products and ratings look dubious. I really love the fact that you chose to write about this topic with full honesty. It takes courage.

  40. Unnecessary collection of things is seriously waste, even we don’t take up.such campaigns as it takes most if the energy with less payback.

  41. sonam jain says:

    awesome post dear.. glad you spoke the ugly truth…always there are so many people who want genuine reviews .. but we dont donjustice sometimes

  42. Disha says:

    That’s the sad reality no one wants to speak about. I have faced similar instance too when I start blogging, too many deliverables for a product and on all social media. I also refrain from it now mostly.

  43. Nosh says:

    It was great reading this, thanks for sharing!

    I used to get a lot of requests from PR agencies in the past, and I refused because, as you pointed out they want 5 ⭐️ reviews only! When I questioned that, the arrogance and aggression they expressed was pitiful. I never did a single review for anyone, and reading your blog post, I’m thankful I never did.

    That being said, I love your reviews, which I can tell are real 👏🏻😊 Do keep writing and sharing!

  44. Vaishali says:

    Omg u have broken the truth…. I was also on the same train but then my Amazon account is blocked now and I cannot review anything now.. Apparently they have even blocked my dad account as it is the same house address or payment method… I have finally stopped it..

  45. Well written Cindy. I stopped taking amazon reviews too much earlier. The harassment of the so called mediators, oops PRs and few brands to rate the products as 5stars are way too much for a free product. And to be honest, I used to end up having random products that I never wanted to use in the first place at home. Awesome pointers Cindy!

  46. Urvashi says:

    Oh my God Cindy. Being a content creator is as such a touch job. and facing issues like these is Annoying and energy consuming. I cannot imagine after all the hard work if the reviews were deleted how would someone react. Still you have been posting honest reviews. Love ur dedication

  47. […] week I am collaborating with Cindy from blogaberry and Amritha from […]

  48. Truth be told, this was the ugly truth of reviews, which we so innocently trust, before buying any product. everything is rigged and nothing can be trusted. true eye opener.

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