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Reviewers - a cash cow or Amazon?

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Apr 2010 21:42:39 BDT
I've noticed several of my reviews turning up on other websites.

I've no problem with Amazon selling on my reviews but surely they should be giving us something back.

In the old days of BOL you used to get a voucher for every five reviews, should Amazon do something similar?

Posted on 30 Apr 2010 01:53:09 BDT
Danny says:
When reviews appear on other sites its normally with the option to buy the product on Amazon. On that basis, its just an extension of Amazon, and hasn't actually been sold. Anybody can set up a website and pull data off Amazon. If somebody buys the product from your website, they actually buy it from Amazon, and you just get a cut.

But even if they were flogging them on, so what? Nobody forces people to write reviews. If you want to get money for your reviews, start a blog and include links to the products on Amazon. That way you will get paid every time somebody buys a product based on your review, assuming you have set up an associate account.

Posted on 30 Apr 2010 16:47:32 BDT
Damaskcat says:
I very much doubt if Amazon 'sell' the reviews. There are plenty of people using the internet who copy and paste Amazon reviews onto their own sites for whatever reason.

Posted on 30 Apr 2010 16:55:32 BDT
OEJ says:
Don't build your hopes up with the Associate Account thing, mind. I'm a regular contributor to a forum that installed such an account a few months ago, its traffic is many times higher than any individual blog could hope to generate, but the owner often moans how pointless it is from a commercial point of view. For it to make sense, there have to be heavy volumes of trade.

Vine is easily the best payback model for amateur reviewers, even if it pays in products rather than cash.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2010 21:17:34 BDT
What other websites have your reviews appeared on?

Posted on 1 May 2010 15:52:27 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I love being a member of Vine because I get books that I otherwise wouldn't buy or would have waited until they came out in paperback to afford them. If people are cutting and pasting reviews from here, then you could theoretically prosecute, but it would cost a lot of money, and they would have to be in a position to recompense you. Under the rules I believe that you give Amazon the right to use any of your reviews on any of their sites.

Posted on 1 May 2010 17:30:07 BDT
OEJ says:
You can't prosecute. As soon as you post a review to Amazon, it becomes their property.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2010 17:46:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 May 2010 19:46:17 BDT
JJG says:
I think he meant Amazon itself could prosecute if someone copied and pasted customer reviews from their main website. But yes, because the reviews are their property.

Posted on 2 May 2010 19:49:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2010 19:50:50 BDT
Parka says:
Amazon reviews can be used by Amazon Associates (AA) for their marketing purposes.

E.g. AA can build a webpage, create an Amazon Astore inside that page, and basically that Astore can fetch whatever reviews there are from the main Amazon site.

The worst or unethical form of usage is when some programmers call up these reviews and have them appear as comments when they are actually not.

Posted on 3 May 2010 10:55:09 BDT
M. Dowden says:
Parka, I didn't know that. So you mean like what some film companies do, they cut reviews and just give comments that make their film seem good, but if you read the actual article it isn't what it was saying.

Posted on 3 May 2010 15:37:48 BDT
Danny says:
No, not that. What some people do is take a review with, say 8 comments posted on it, and make it look like a blog article with 8 replies. So to the casual reader they aren't reading an Amazon review, they are reading a blog posting. This give the site in question free content, but unless you have the ability to buy the product from Amazon on the page, and this is by no means certain, then Amazon gain nothing from the activity.

So why would somebody do that? Well, if they are able to generate a blog site on current sale items, then people will no doubt find it in google. If people look at the site, they may also look at the ads which will also be plastered all over the site. Now, a site may only earn 10p per click (picked that figure out of thin air) but if they can generate 10000s of thousands of page views, they will eventually generate enough clicks to turn a profit.

And once you've done it once, whats to stop you doing it again? All the hard work has already been done, so the second site will be a lot easier and cheaper to set up. The key thing you need, above anything else, is content, and skimming info off Amazon or elsewhere is one way of getting that content.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with it, provided you are linking back to Amazon. All you are really doing is providing them with another income stream.

Posted on 3 May 2010 21:53:59 BDT
M. Dowden says:
Oh, Mark I never knew anything like that, thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2010 13:38:44 BDT
Under the Berne Convention you hold the copyright to the review you have written unless you have signed a document explicitly handing over the copyright to that specific piece of writing. To the best of my knowledge, none of us have done this with Az, certainly not myself.

So you can pass your original review on to anywhere you like. What you say in it might be actionable under law, but that is your choice. Be careful.

When you post it on Amazon, by doing so you agree to their T&Cs which allow them to do with it as they will. If they then modify it, they will have gained some copyright and you will enter a grey area, how much of it is yours and how much theirs? If this modified review is passed on elsewhere without consent from you or Az, then there is a faint (but expensive) possibility of prosecution by someone.

But, they still cannot prosecute you if you post your own original review elsewhere. Berne.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2010 23:05:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2010 23:05:46 BDT
Independent Reviews Courtesy of

Posted on 27 May 2010 03:06:51 BDT
As a new reviewer, i write mainly to practise my writing and question my own opinions. Almost all of my reviews have been on obscure (often "currently unavailable") items. Whilst the altruism vs ego aspect of the review dimension of amazon is not wasted on me, reviews can be an extremely valuable to Amazons marketplace. Once you read a review from an amatuer critic and feel an affinity with the reviewer, a purchase is often made with greater confidence..resulting presumably in more purchases. There is a newer Australian website very similar to Amazon which offers the equivelant of about 10p per review, the money is kept in your account and can be used only for purchases from the site... a good idea that highlights the value of customer reviews.
Although the t+c's give ownership to Amazon, i do feel that the review if posted on other sites should be posted in it's original unedited form.

Posted on 28 May 2010 21:10:22 BDT
I've posted quite a few reviews and comments to Amazon. There are pros and cons for them and for me.
If I write a useful review, Amazon can use that to build up their own standing as a reliable knowledge and opinion base.
I am often in need of information on for example tech products, and the opinion of my peers (that's all you lot) is just as important as the stated facts from manufacturers and retailers. I look first to Amazon's vox pop when considering buying tech products.
I'm also using Amazon to reach people I would like to help (or influence). If my comments, made in good faith, are helpful, then both Amazon and I gain, for different reasons.
Amazon have allowed me to criticise products which at times they have promoted. That wouldn't be good business sense unless they had accepted what you might call a standard of excellence, namely, free speech and free comment will allow good products and services to reach their full potential, and inferior ones will get an appropriate reward.
What do I lose? If I write a review for Amazon, they can use it as they will, but as I understand copyright law, I also own rights in the original text and can also use that for example to influence other net users in other locations.

Posted on 5 Jun 2010 12:18:14 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I also like using this site for reviews on tech items. It has proved of immense value in the past. After all makers put down all the details on what the voltage is, and godness knows what else. They don't let you know that the thing will break down or is unreliable, whereas others will let you know. It is the same in a shop that is well clued up, they will let you know whether something gets returned quite often because it is faulty.
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Participants:  12
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  29 Apr 2010
Latest post:  5 Jun 2010

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