I was paging through reviews this evening for new phones, a process I both love (new tech yay) and hate (I get lost in the minutiae, researching specs I didn't know existed and actually don't care about), when I came across a review with a small badge that said "Early Reviewer Program".
I hadn't noticed that one before, and clicking the link next to it just led to the generic "Customer Reviews" help page, which mentions absolutely nothing about such a program. Well, the nice thing about having your own corner of the web is that, after you dig up a deleted page, you can repost it. 😏
tl;dr - From what I gather, it was a program that sellers could opt into, which rewarded "early" (first 20? first month after launch? before 6 am?) purchasers of their products by "encouraging" them (frequent emails? frequent calls? creepy notes in block lettering, slipped under the front door?) to leave a review. After which the buyer may or may not be rewarded with a randomly insignificant amount of money.
What is the Early Reviewer Program?
The Early Reviewer Program encourages customers who have already purchased a product to share their authentic experience about that product, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. Amazon shoppers depend on reviews to learn more about products, and this program helps to acquire early reviews on products that have few or no reviews, helping shoppers make smarter buying decisions. Customers who have purchased a product participating in the Early Reviewer Program may be asked to write a review and those customers who submit a review within the offer period will receive a small reward (e.g. a $1-$3 Amazon.com Gift Card) for helping future shoppers.
1. Can I trust these reviews?
Yes. We are not giving free products or discounts to these reviewers. We only ask customers who have already purchased the product to share their authentic experience, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. This program is not limited to elite reviewers - we want to hear from all of our customers as long as they have no history of abusive or dishonest reviews.
2. How are reviewers selected for this program?
We want authentic reviews, and we want them from all of our customers, not just a select few. We select at random from all customers who have purchased products participating in this program, as long as they have no history of abusive or dishonest reviews and meet our eligibility criteria. We do not disclose at the time of purchase whether a product is participating in the program because we want to hear from customers who have authentically chosen to buy that product without any knowledge of a future reward. Not all products are participating in this program and not all buyers of participating products will receive reward offers to write a review. We want this program to generate enough reviews to help shoppers make smarter buying decisions; this is not a rewards program intended to encourage purchases. Amazon employees, participating sellers and their friends and family are not eligible to participate in this program.
3. How are reviews rewarded.
Reviewers will receive a small reward (e.g., a $1-$3 Amazon.com Gift Card) after they have submitted an authentic review within the offer period which meets our community guidelines. This small reward is given to thank reviewers for sharing their authentic experience, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. The nature of the review does not affect the reward or the chance of getting future rewards.
4. How will I know if a product has a review from Early Reviewer Program?
Early Reviewer Program reviews are identified with an orange badge that reads "Early Reviewer Rewards".
5. Can sellers influence these reviews or reviewers participating in this program?
No. Sellers can select products to participate in this program but they do not have any influence over which customers are selected to receive the reward offers or the content of the customer reviews. Sellers are also prohibited from communicating with customers about their reviews. Amazon does not modify or remove reviews from the Early Reviewer Program, as long as they comply with our community guidelines.