Amazon.com is doing holiday PR a little differently this year. They’ve announced something called the “Holiday Customer Review Team,” which is comprised of “six of its top reviewers.”
From Amazon’s press release:
These tell-it-like-it-is consumer advocates will provide fellow Amazon customers with top gift picks for the season as well as helpful tips on cutting costs over the holidays. They have also been given exclusive, early access to some of Amazon’s top Black Friday deals so they can share their favorites with fellow shoppers beginning today.
They haven’t been paid, says the NYT, but they have been flown to Seattle to do interviews on behalf of the company — and were given free products to review and keep.
From the NYT:
The freebies are part of the Amazon Vine program the company started last year. Top reviewers get free products if they promise to write about them.
Despite the potential for conflicts of interest, the program seems to be run the way customers would want it to. Amazon says it does not weed out negative comments…
What do you think of this? Can these people really be called “consumer advocates?”