Amazon Vine

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Launched in 2007,[1][2] Amazon Vine is an internal service of Amazon.com that allows manufacturers and publishers to receive reviews for their products on Amazon.[3][4][5] 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, Acer and Walker Books.[6] [7] 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.[8][9] The Vine program operates independently on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,[10] Amazon.fr,[11] Amazon.de,[12] and Amazon.ca.[13]

Membership[edit]

Vine members (known as "Vine Voices") are selected from the Amazon reviewer base with the site stating that the selection criteria are "based on the trust [the members] earned in the Amazon community for writing accurate and insightful reviews".[14] As of October 2017, Amazon has ended all customer online discussion boards, including the ones that previously existed for Amazon Vine program members.[15] 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, home decor, baby items, office supplies, art and craft supplies, movies, video games, toys, clothing, electronics, hunting gear, fitness equipment, small appliances, sports equipment, groceries, vitamins, homeopathic medicine, over the counter medicine, personal care products (shampoo, soap, hair products), makeup, jewelry, purses, luggage, and other sundries[16]. In return for products received, members are required to post a review within 30 days of delivery.[14] Members are able to sell or give away products received after six months.[17]

The Vine process last changed October 2016. Vine members voluntarily can check the website for a changing array of items and can select an unlimited amount from both their targeted Vine offers or from Vine for All. This change was a response to increased vendor interest in this program.[18]

Beginning 1 July 2015, Vine members in the USA are required to provide tax identification numbers to Amazon before receiving any new materials to review. Amazon uses the estimated tax value (ETV) of products as non-cash, taxable payments to Vine Voices for their services. Ownership of each Vine third-party product transfers to the respective Vine Voice six months after the order date, and it is then that the ETV applies for tax purposes; Amazon issues a 1099 to Vine members. Exceptions to this usually pertain to consumable items such as food, vitamins and makeup, which are valued at $0.[19][20]

Criticism[edit]

The program has been met with criticism over the program's lack of transparency and the professionalism of its reviewers.[21] 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."[5] The program also initially met 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.[22] 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".[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amazon Vine and Early Reviewers". Library Thing. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Amazon Offers Early Galleys, Online Payments". GalleyCat. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  3. ^ "What is Amazon Vine?". Amazon Vine. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Amazon's Army". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Vetting Vine Voices". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Publishers grasp Amazon's Vine". Bookseller. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Like Writing? Here's How to Get Free Products from Amazon Vine". Skint Dad. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  8. ^ "More online shoppers take the word of anonymous product reviewers". Seattle PI. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  9. ^ "Los mil comentaristas de Amazon". El País. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  10. ^ "What is Amazon Vine?". Amazon Vine. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Qu'est ce que le Club des Testeurs Amazon?". Amazon Vine. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Was ist Amazon Vine?". Amazon Vine. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Amazon.ca Help". www.amazon.ca. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  14. ^ a b "What is Amazon Vine™?". Amazon Vine. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  15. ^ https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201929720
  16. ^ "Like Writing? Here's How to Get Free Products from Amazon". Skint Dad. 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  17. ^ "Amazon updates Vine participation agreement". ZD Net. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  18. ^ "Amazon Sign In".
  19. ^ "Vine Tax Information". 2016.
  20. ^ "Vine Voices Participation Agreement". 2016.
  21. ^ "The Double Life Of Betsy Bird". Forbes. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  22. ^ a b Bird, Elizabeth. "Said I heard it through the Amazon VINE™". School Library Journal. Retrieved 23 February 2013.