Amazon should implement a rewards program that gives it's customers incentive to leave reviews for products they purchase.
I love Amazon as a customer and as a merchant selling wares on their platform. 99.9% of the books I've sold as a self-published author have come courtesy of Amazon. I also love getting reviews for my books. Each one I receive is like a tiny morale booster, urging me to keep writing. Nothing feels better than a complete stranger gushing over the work you created. I even enjoy reading bad reviews, as sometimes they literally make me LOL.
Unfortunately, very few readers leave reviews, despite me practically begging at the end of each of my books. The Kindle app also gives them the opportunity to do so when they've finished. How few? I did the math once and based on my own sales, the figure was around .016% of people who bought my books left a review.
Reviews serve a purpose, other than stoking the author's ego or slapping them across the face and letting them know they're a no-talent hack. Have you ever bought a product with dozens of similar competitors simply because it had the largest number of positive reviews? I know I have. It's a little different when you're dealing with books, but when there are so many to choose from, sometimes it's easier to make a decision considering books that only have hundreds of reviews. As a reader myself, I'm guilty of that too.
So I think everybody can agree that customer reviews are a good thing, so Amazon should make some effort to motivate customers to do so. Why do only .016% of my readers review my books? Simple. There's nothing in it for them.
Amazon should implement a Reviewer Rewards Program, giving out points for each review written. Points earned could be redeemed for:
- Free shipping
- Free upgrade to next day shipping
- Free music downloads
- Free Amazon Video rentals
- Amazon gift cards
- Discount Prime membership
Those are just some examples that came to mind as I write this.
There are some possible downsides to everything, and this is no exception. Overnight a cottage industry of scammers would try to come up with all sorts of ways they could game the system to get free swag. Obviously, Amazon would need a way to prevent people from sitting at their computer all day writing bogus reviews.
There is a system in place already that marks reviews verified purchase to those who actually bought the product they reviewed. Obviously only those reviews would be eligible for rewards. Some sort of human intervention would probably be needed as well to disqualify reviews that aren't deemed helpful, such as the picture I posted above. Would that make my idea cost prohibited for them to implement? Only the Amazon bean counters would be able to answer that.
What say you, internet? Is there a huge down-side that I haven't considered? Is this a good idea or am I just a big dope? Let me know in the comments below.
Robert Brumm is the author of several books in need of review and is indeed a big dope.