Amazon Vine is an internal service of Amazon.com launched in 2007 that allows manufacturers and publishers to receive reviews for their products on Amazon. Companies pay a fee to Amazon and provide products for review. The products are then passed to Amazon reviewers who are then required to publish a review. Past and present participating companies include Logitech, Harper Collins, Philips, Samsung, Bose, Sony, Tefal, Microsoft, Breville, Bosch, Garmin, Dyson, Remington, Case Logic, Creative, Braun, Sennheiser, Olympus, LG, Black & Decker and Walker Books. Reception for the program has been mixed with some people criticizing the program's use of non-professional reviewers while others cited this as a benefit. The Vine program operates independently on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr and Amazon.de.
Vine members (known as "Vine Voices") are selected from the Amazon reviewer base with the site stating that the selection criteria is "based on the trust [the members] earned in the Amazon community for writing accurate and insightful reviews". Members also have access to forums devoted to Amazon Vine, where they can discuss matters related to the Vine program, Amazon in general and non-Amazon matters. All Amazon customers have access to the forums.
Previously there were two Vine newsletters every month. The first newsletter appeared on the third Thursday of the month and the second appeared on the fourth Thursday. Leftover items from these newsletters went to the "Last Harvest" list, from where Vine members could choose an unlimited amount of products.
Products available for review can include books, furniture, movies, electronics, appliances, sports equipment, food items, jewelry and other sundries. In return for products received, members are required to post a review within 30 days of delivery. Members are prohibited from selling or giving away products received and are instructed to recycle or destroy any items that they do not wish to keep.
The Vine process is changing on 21 July 2014. It will be known as "Infinite Vine" and "Last Harvest" will be renamed "Vine for All." Instead of receiving newsletters Vine members will check the website for a changing array of items. This change is thought to be a response to increased vendor interest in this program.
The program has been met with criticism over the program's lack of transparency and the professionalism of its reviewers. Kristen McLean, formerly of the Association of Booksellers for Children, commented that Amazon did not initially disclose that publishers paid to have their products listed and that "Amazon is not specific about how many people are in the program, how they’re chosen." The program was also initially met with criticism over the visibility of the reviews, with librarian Elizabeth Bird (author and Top 500 Amazon Reviewer) commenting that her reviews were sometimes "shuffled off to the side" while Vine reviews were more prominently and visibly placed. Bird further commented that some of the reviewers were choosing and criticizing books that they were "not the best representative readers for" and that this highlighted the difference between lay readers and professional reviewers, that latter of who would be more able to "give insightful commentary and acknowledge a book’s intended audience".
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