“It’s all good, man” — Amazon removes the option to mark reviews as “Not helpful” in a trial period. What’s the eCommerce giant planning? What does this change mean for merchants and customers? We’ve given it some thought.
Amazon is apparently testing the removal of downvoting.
Up until recently, customers were able to vote on reviews by clicking on “Helpful” or “Not helpful”. Customer ratings thus receive an added value because “helpful” information moves up in the rank of reviews.
This also adds an element of trust to the evaluation. More trust supports a faster purchase decision — for better or worse. After all, negative evaluations are also “helpful” if a buyer is on the fence.
How negative ratings climb up the rank
This could soon come to an end. Amazon is obviously testing an exclusively positive evaluation of reviews. Instead of selecting “Helpful” and “Not helpful” there is only a “Helpful” button — or even just a thumbs up or a smiley to click on. Users can only share their enthusiasm for a review, naggers go away empty-handed.
What’s the point?
Though smiley and thumb are already very popular in US and UK marketplaces, this is still a test, there is no official announcement from Amazon. We are within the scope of speculation. But there are a few likely reasons:
Amazon wants to prevent manipulation
The ranking of reviews can be abused. If positive reviews are overly often rated as “not helpful”, they slide further down and customers might see more negative comments than usual.
This could lead to a loss of sales. On the other hand, it was previously possible for merchants to sweep unpopular negative reviews under the carpet by clicking on “Not helpful” as much as possible. A thorn in the flesh of Amazon.
The retailer lives from “honest” competition, it’s the only way to maintain trust with its customers. The removal of a potentially manipulative, negative influence appears to be a sensible move.
To displace unwanted ratings within the new scenario, users would first have to provide a whole series of other reviews with a particularly large number of “helpful” votes. These reviews, however, still end up at the top — the potential for manipulation remains a possibility.
Reviews are few — Leave one, would you?
Amazon takes continuous action against the misuse of ratings. Various measures are in place to prevent fake reviews. Since the end of 2016, products may no longer be offered in exchange for reviews, and customers may only post five reviews per week, with the exception of verified purchases.
The quality of the ratings is, therefore, higher than it was when merchants were openly advertising free products in return for ratings, and service providers were offering professional reviews for a fee.
With their elimination, however, the number of reviews also dropped. Still, buyers must somehow be encouraged to leave reviews, they are essential for Amazon’s merchants and business model.
It’s especially difficult for new products now: Without reviews, the organic ranking suffers. Without ranking no visibility, without visibility no purchase, without purchase no review.
But how do you get customers to leave reviews without coaxing them? The best way is through good customer service — package inserts are one example of this.
Read this article to find out how.
A more positive environment could also lead to more reviews. Customers should be rewarded for the effort they put into writing a review — a “not helpful” vote, on the other hand, could be seen as a punishment that prevents a second review.
The new smiley could be an attempt by Amazon to spread a positive mood: A smile is for free, a good mood contagious.
Have you ever marked a rating as “Helpful” or “Not helpful”? Why do you think Amazon is testing the smiley? We look forward to your comment!
(Editor’s note: At the time of this release, the smiley could no longer be found — looks like Amazon is testing quite extensively. Where did you last see it?)