Where Are My Amazon Reviews - Part 2
Where have all the Amazon product reviews gone?
Back in February, Reviewbox customers began reporting that they were missing Amazon reviews or that they had not received reviews on product listings for at least 1-3 days. After investigating, Reviewbox determined that Amazon was, in fact, holding reviews on many best selling products, including their own products. The hypothesis was that Amazon was screening reviews to ensure that none of their terms and conditions were being violated. The issue cleared up for a time but we are once again hearing that customer product reviews are being delayed on Amazon.
Where is the data?
Have no fear, your data is still here with Reviewbox. It's just delayed. Since the increased scrutiny on reviews began in early 2019, we've updated our data collection process to look for reviews that have been posted in the past several days as well as capturing the new reviews posted. We've also modified our alerts so that you'll get an email notification for reviews that were posted after they were originally submitted.
What do the delays look like?
To understand how prevalent this problem is, we looked at four different categories as well as Amazon’s own Amazon Basics. Data shows that prior to November of 2018, the minimum delay for reviews was typically zero days. However, between November and December of 2018, the delay jumps to around two days. This means that at a minimum, across these categories, reviews are delayed at least two days.
The reason for this is relatively unknown, but the problem has been mentioned by sellers in Amazon’s Seller Central forums, indicating that the problem exists across the entirety of Amazon. Further, it is interesting that the delay is occurring on Amazon’s own products. This could indicate that Amazon is using some process to ensure the reviews meet a certain quality prior to posting them.
How will this impact customer care teams?
Since best practices for negative reviews, including three-star reviews and below, is to respond to the customer complaint as quickly as possible, customer care teams should be on high alert for these late coming reviews. Reviewbox will push out a new alert to customers as soon as new reviews are collected. Be sure all of your notification settings are up to date.
However, customer care managers should be aware of the collection time - not the input time - to measure the success of their teams. The input time indicates when the review was left by the customer while the collection time indicates when Amazon pushed the review out for Reviewbox to collect. This information is available in your Reviewbox export.
Has this been seen on other retail sites?
While the sudden disappeance and delays of reviews is Amazon specific this time, we do know that other retail sites regularly hold reviews to check for obscenity, verify purchase, and ensure that posts aren't spam. Walmart, for example, states in their product review guidelines that reviews can be held up to 7 business days.
What is Reviewbox's solution?
We have added a couple of small features to our Reviews page to help you identify when the review was written versus when it was released by the retailer and captured by Reviewbox. We hope this alleviates any confusion for our customers regarding their product reviews. We will keep a close watch on this data and notify our customers if we see any additional glitches coming from Amazon (or other retailers.)