How do I get Amazon Reviews, And How Can I Do An Amazon Launch In 2019
A lot of Amazon sellers are running for the hills when it comes to getting reviews and doing launches in Q2 of 2019. Why? Because Amazon is starting to flex their muscles when it comes to sellers who appear to be trying to game the system. Amazon’s TOS is ambiguous at best, but here are some of the Amazon terms of service they are starting to enforce. So if you’re asking things like “how do I launch an Amazon product in 2019” or “how do I get Amazon reviews in 2019” you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s first start with why Amazon is doing this. Well, the simple answer is, that it’s been against Amazon TOS for more than 2 years to ask for a review in exchange for any type of compensation. It’s just coming back to the forefront because of people getting their accounts suspended because of it.
Review asks via a follow-up email, or chatbot after giving a discount.
The chatbot flow:
Here’s how the story usually unfolds. Seller does a facebook messenger ad for their Amazon product, and the user opts into the chatbot to claim the discount as advertised in the ad. Shopper opts in, then it sent the code, along with a link to buy the product. The link is usually a computer-generated link (search, click, buy) that simulates a real interaction with Amazon’s site, or a 2 step URL. After clicking on the link, the user then buys the product.
Now two things will happen after this process is complete. The product will usually increase in rank for the keyword(s) targeted in the URL, and the user will now be in the seller’s chatbot automation (funnel). So what’s wrong with this? This has been a no no for a while, but Amazon is starting to enforce it heavily. Especially if the ask is via email or chatbot. Here are some of the specific relevant TOS items:
Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products, refunds, or reimbursements) or on behalf of anyone else.
Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
The follow-up email flow:
It’s similar to the chatbot process above, but it gets even more convoluted. The Amazon shopper buys product on Amazon with a discount code, which they got from a launch service, paid ads, landing pages, etc. If the seller is using any type of follow up email software, this shopper will get sucked into the follow-up automation (EG: email the shopper on delivery of the product, and then 3 days after). On the second email, the shopper is asked to review the product. Even if you’re not asking for a positive review, Amazon sees this as a policy violation, because that user was given a discount.
The issue is with automation
What it comes down to is the lack of control on the automation, and not segmenting your customers correctly. For chatbots, what you need to do is build in smart segmentation, and use something like a tag “discounted”, to make sure that the customer you’re following up with didn’t receive a discount. Here’s how to create tags on Manychat:
You will have to edit the flow, but the gist of it will be to tag any user that’s ever received a product at a discount. Then when doing any type of follow-up, you can exclude all users with the “discounted” tag.
As for email, it’s going to get a lot harder to segment users, and why at this time I would not use any automated follow-up email system if you are using discounted promotions unless your email follow-up software has smart segmentation and can exclude users who have ever gotten a discount (don’t know of any that can do that currently).
How to Launch a new product on Amazon with the Q2 2019 enforcement
Once again, there are a lot of rumors out there, but most of the industry leaders are in agreement. Steep discounts (90% or more off), and velocity are now being tracked (or watched more closely). If you are a new seller, you will be especially vulnerable to these metrics. The TOS that could be tied to this enforcement is:
Misuse of sales rank: The best seller rank feature allows buyers to evaluate the popularity of a product. Any attempt to manipulate sales rank is prohibited. You cannot solicit or knowingly accept fake or fraudulent orders, including placing orders for your own products. You cannot provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers for the purpose of inflating sales rank. In addition, you cannot make claims regarding a product’s best seller rank in the product detail page information, including the title and description.
How should launch moving forward?
Well, there are a lot of opinions out there, and I’ll give you mine, which I’ve been talking about for quite a while now. You need to launch with a diversified Amazon marketing plan, which should consist at the minimum of:
- 100% fully optimized product listing.
- Very aggressive Amazon PPC.
- Discount promotions with a max discount of 65% off.
- Paid offsite traffic using 2-step urls (Facebook ads, Google Ads, etc)
- An army of micro-influencers that review your product on video, and link to your product with a discount
- Amazon early reviewer program (to get your first few reviews safely)
- Diversified off-site links like blogs and social media posts
All of this marketing should be happening simultaneously, and aggressively, for at least the first two weeks (but up to a month) that you launch.
Just give me the breakdown of how I can try to avoid suspensions.
You just want the click notes eh? Here are some of the things you should avoid doing if you want to stay out of Amazon’s crosshairs:
- Don’t use any form of automation that asks for reviews, unless you have airtight user segmentation in place.
- Do not use discount promotions with very high discount rates (EG: 90%).
- Don’t send out a large number of discount codes per day.
- If you are going to do Amazon promotions, “drip” them out, and increase the volume as your organic and PPC volume increases.
- Keep an eye on the type of URL you are using to send the customer to Amazon. As of now, I don’t know of anyone getting in trouble for using this technique, though Amazon could decide to change that at any time on a whim.
- If you’re a new seller, start slow with your marketing, and then ramp it up each day. This will look more natural to Amazon’s TOS bots.
- Communicate with Amazon seller support. BEFORE you start marketing, ask Amazon if it’s within TOS.
- Stay up to date on all the latest information, one of the best ways to do that is in Amazon FBA facebook groups.
As you all know, all of this guidance can change in the blink of an eye. If you want to stay up to date, we highly suggest you listen to our Weekly Podcast “Seller Round Table” on iTunes, Android, and All other major podcast platforms.