Amazon Early Reviewer Program: An Introduction

by Becky Trowbridge

After banning incentivized reviews in October 2016, Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) assured third-party sellers that a program like the Amazon Vine program (which is only available to vendors) would be developed.

The Early Reviewer Program was rolled out quietly and now appears in the Seller Central dashboard under the “Advertising” dropdown menu. In this blog post, we’ll explore this new program.

What is the Early Reviewer Program?

Launching a new product in a competitive marketplace can be tough. Amazon offers several paid options for spreading the word, but costs can climb quickly for products in some categories. The Early Reviewer Program offers an alternative way to generate buzz with a fixed price. SKUs with less than five reviews are eligible for participation in the program at the cost of $60 per SKU. This is charged after the first Early Reviewer Program review is received.

In a recent webinar, FeedbackFive Product Manager Laura Pugliese spoke about the program. “Amazon is randomly selecting people who have already made a purchase. So if the product is in the program, Amazon is going to look at who has purchased it," she said. "All buyers are eligible...the only people they exclude are buyers who have a history of leaving abusive or dishonest reviews.”

What Makes This Program Different?

Customers will not know that an item is enrolled in the Early Reviewer Program until after they have made their purchase. In fact, they may never learn that the product is in the program if they are not asked to leave a review. They do not receive discounts or free products. If they choose to share their experience with the item purchased, they will receive a $1-3 Amazon credit. On the help page dedicated to this topic, Amazon states: “This reward is to thank reviewers for sharing their authentic experience, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. The nature of the review does not affect the reward or the chance of getting future rewards."

Reviewers are randomly chosen from all customers who have bought items participating in the program. Again, from the Amazon statement: "We want authentic reviews, and we want them from all of our customers, not just a select few. We select at random from all customers who have purchased products participating in this program, as long as they have no history of abusive or dishonest reviews and meet our eligibility criteria." Not all buyers who purchase these items will receive the Amazon credits in exchange for their review. This should help alleviate bias, which was a major concern with incentivized reviews.

“The products in the program aren’t identified prior to purchase, so someone purchasing them doesn’t know that they might be asked to leave a review," Pugliese said. "If they do leave a review, there would be an orange badge called ‘Early Reviewer Rewards’ so there’s transparency that the person was part of some special program.” Some astute buyers could notice that there are other Early Reviewer Program reviews for the item, based on the orange badge, but there is no easy way to search for that.

How to Participate

Getting started with the Early Reviewer Program is simple. Simply select the program in your Seller Central dashboard and start uploading your SKU(s) to enroll. You can submit up to 100 different SKUs for the program. Child ASINS are automatically enrolled with the parent ASIN.

In order to be considered for the program, a product must:

  • be brand registered
  • price the ASINs above $15.00
  • be based in the United States

Both sellers and vendors may submit SKUs for the Early Reviewer Program.

Originally published on June 23, 2017, updated February 26, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.

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