In response to Amazon’s announcement, some sellers and clubs changed to a policy that reviews would now be optional and, therefore, permitted under Amazon’s new rules. They also said that because reviews are optional, no disclosure of the freebie/discount would be required. That is NOT correct. The FTC Guidelines still require a disclosure that the item was received for free or at a discount and who provided it, even if the recipient can choose whether or not to write the review. What’s more, Amazon’s executive customer relations staff have stated that a review “tied to” a free or discounted product is not permitted and that making the review optional doesn’t change that.
The rest of this post was written when incentivized reviews were permitted, provided the sellers and reviewers complied with other rules, including those against manipulation.