Imagine you read a customer review online for some impartial validation for the latest gadget. How would you feel if you knew that this customer was incentivised to share their experience? Would this impact your decision to buy?
Online customer reviews are paramount. Companies like Tripadvisor, bank their brand on it. Recently it was reported that Amazon use incentivisation to help endorse products on their site. While knowing this may dissuade potential customers to part with their hard earned cash. It is being reported that both 'real' and incentivised reviews are being aggregated in the same pool and there is no distinction between customers who are given products to try and those who review products of their own accord.
So much for the online community - right? Well, if you think about it, it's just another version of the focus group, or a survey. Amazon are smart enough to use their facility to capture and engage both buying groups.
PS - I was not incentivised to write this article!