Don't be an Amazon Serf


I don’t leave reviews on Amazon.

And I don’t think you should too.

You see, leaving reviews seems to be the right thing to do, the honourable thing to do. Tell other people if the product is good or bad, help each other out.

But whilst I agree with the principle, I don’t agree with the execution.

You see, when you leave a review on Amazon, you create something of value. Your opinion may be helpful to a purchaser. It is also helpful to Amazon because in theory it helps them sell more good products and fewer poor products.

But ask yourself this question. Why does Amazon not allow you to insert external links on reviews?

The answer is because they are making money off your comment i.e. your content. It has value. And they don't want to share.

Who benefits from the value that you have created? The buyer benefits, because your review helps them establish trust in the product. Amazon benefits, because you are giving them your attention, time and effort to craft a review that ultimately helps them to sell more products and thus make more money.

And you?  What do you get?

You get nothing of real value, just some kudos or karma.  You my friend are a serf.

You are working unpaid for Amazon.  Just try putting in a link to your own website in a review. See how long it takes to disappear or be "edited". Now in a fair exchange of value you would think that this would be the least that Amazon would permit. You help them and in turn they help you by a little link from your useful review to something of yours. But this is not allowed. You are not allowed to benefit.

What if Amazon paid you (and me) to review. For example what would happen if every time you provided a review that was helpful or insightful, then you received a micro amount of Amazon vouchers?  That, my friend would be a fair exchange under the usual rules of work. You exchange your skills or time with me and I give you something of value in return.

Don't be an Amazon serf.  Instead, there is a way you can help out other people reviewing products that you feel are worthwhile.  Next time you find something that you really endorse, write a review on your own blog then put an affiliate link to Amazon. Be honest about this link to your readers. Then if what you have written provides value you will be rewarded.  In addition to this, when readers find your blog, they will be able to judge whether or not they trust you before believing your review.  Blogs can demonstrate your honesty and humanity, and so help your readers avoid fake reviews on Amazon and similar sites.

This, to me seems a much better and fairer way of rewarding good and helpful reviews.

Like I said, don't be an Amazon Serf.