Why Do Some Amazon Reviews Disappear?
If you're a private label merchant, you probably watch your Amazon reviews like a hawk. After all, product reviews are increasingly important in today's Amazon-centric eCommerce ecosystem. Shoppers love to read them, and smart merchants like you understand the positive impact they can have on Amazon SEO.
With such a keen eye for reviews, you've probably experienced a few circumstances when reviews disappear. In this post, we'll explore three specific reasons why Amazon reviews disappear.
Reason 1: Amazon Community Guideline Violations
Most sellers know that Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") has very specific guidelines governing the publication of reviews. Customers, on the other hand, are usually less familiar with these rules. Although shoppers are prompted to "view tips and guidelines" when rating products, few take the time to do so.
So, what are some common violations that can lead to a review's deletion by Amazon? Here are just a few examples:
- Using obscene language, content or images
- Revealing private information, such as the merchant's phone number or email address
- Posting links to third-party sites, especially phishing or malware sites
- Impersonating other people
- Infringing on others' intellectual property
- Encouraging or supporting illegal activity
- Posting reviews in exchange for some type of compensation or reward
Note: This list only scratches the surface of potential violations. For a full list and detailed explanation, check out Amazon's 1,500-word guide.
For obvious violations, it's safe to assume that Amazon has an in-house algorithm that flags things like profanity. In addition, each published review has a "Report abuse" link that can be used by community members to manually flag inappropriate ratings. Amazon also allows users to report potential violations via email (email@example.com).
Now, as you might imagine, Amazon holds all the cards for determining what is a true violation. Not all situations are clear-cut violations, so it's ultimately up to Amazon to make the removal decision.
Reason 2: Buyers Removed Them
Did you know that Amazon customers can change or remove reviews? That's right. As Amazon points out here, "You can edit or delete your reviews from Your Profile." What's even more interesting, there appears to be no time restriction by which changes must be made.
This is especially noteworthy for merchants selling items with a lengthy consumption cycle. For example, let's assume you sell exercise equipment on the Amazon marketplace. Customers frequently leave reviews within 90 days of purchase, many of which are 5-star ratings. Lately, you've noticed some of your older 5-star ratings (from a few years ago) have completely vanished. In this situation, it's possible that customers have actually retracted their original reviews. Why would your buyers do that? Perhaps the machine isn't lasting as long as expected. Or, perhaps it just doesn't perform as well as it used to.
Either way, customers can change their minds at any time.
Reason 3: Amazon Separated Them
Amazon has one more trick up its sleeve when it comes to disappearing reviews. As we've discussed in other posts, Amazon has very specific rules for creating new product detail pages. Simply stated, "Sellers may not create separate listings for identical copies of the same item." Conversely, truly different products should not be listed on the same product page. As mentioned here, Amazon keeps an eye open for "multiple products (that) were incorrectly listed as the same product." When this occurs, Amazon separates the existing product pages (and associated reviews) so that they show up in the correct place.
In other words, the reviews don't technically "disappear"; rather, they just move to a new product page on Amazon.com.
Manage Amazon Reviews (with Less Effort)
Disappearing reviews can be a blessing or a curse. It all depends on your perspective (and the star rating). You can be proactive by requesting product reviews from buyers with FeedbackFive.
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Originally published on January 4, 2018, updated August 13, 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.