Elance is no longer allowing any product review article

39 replies
It comes to my surprise that Elance is not allowing any job related with product reviews anymore, it's too bad because I always use Elancer to write product reviews for Amazon products.

Here's their reply on this issue
Hello
Thank you for your continued correspondence.
Please be advise that writing fake or paid reviews is a violation and is not a good practice for business. Endorsements and testimonials must be truthful and should not be misleading.
Regards,

So composing a product review without purchasing and test the product yourself will fall under the term of fake and paid reviews.

How many of you actually buy and review the product yourself?
So for all AMAZON affiliates, you need to buy the product first before you write any review. It's not even April yet.
#allowing #article #elance #longer #product #review
  • Profile picture of the author Geeked Labs
    I don't buy them because it's illegal and the FTC will bring serious charges against you resulting in lots of money lost and possible jail time if you are caught. Getting a real testimonial isn't that hard.
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    • Profile picture of the author swayman
      I'm sorry for not being too clear about the issue, it's not about asking people for a fake testimonial but asking people to write product review for amazon product, it's actually a common practice among Amazon affiliates.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamemma235
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author swayman
      Originally Posted by williamemma235 View Post

      Actually It is good for everyone. If one paid writer make many good reviews on any product, many people will believe these reviews. So it is 100% illegal. You need to be honest, polite & gentle in the public place. You should do any other legal works, in the freelancing sites there are many works, so please do the legal works. Thanks for understanding.
      The review is based on customer satisfaction rating pulled out of the AMAZON site, all product reviews on the AMAZON site are from real people who already bought the product.

      If one product has 5 stars and I ask someone to write a product review consisting pros and also cons, I'm practically was just echoing what people had already experienced in the past when they bought the product from AMAZON.

      I'm an AMAZON affiliate not some product owner who has a real product and ask around people to give fake reviews about my product.

      So please read my post carefully before replying anything.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
        Originally Posted by swayman View Post

        The review is based on customer satisfaction rating pulled out of the AMAZON site, all product reviews on the AMAZON site are from real people who already bought the product.

        If one product has 5 stars and I ask someone to write a product review consisting pros and also cons, I'm practically was just echoing what people had already experienced in the past when they bought the product from AMAZON.

        I'm an AMAZON affiliate not some product owner who has a real product and ask around people to give fake reviews about my product.

        So please read my post carefully before replying anything.
        That is naive. You are assuming that the other reviews are real too. Amazon if full of fake reviews.
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        • I think the best policy is honesty. If you have not bought/used/tried/seen a product, how can you do a "review"? Personally, a review to me is a discussion of a topic, or item, that one has direct knowledge of or experience with.

          With that said, I think you can (and I do) promote items you have not used yourself. But, I do not classify that as a review. I classify it as an article or discussion. Or a rating of the pro's and cons. Something to that effect.

          I think you could probably get away with calling it a review if you haven't used it if you explicitly state in the article that you have not personally tried the product.

          With all that said, I cannot speak for Elance as I have not attempted to use their service for affiliate marketing.
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          • Profile picture of the author DrRandi
            I think it is an honest effort by Elance and must be followed by Odesk,Freelancer.com,Fiverr.com .

            As these practices are unethical ,so they should be banned .

            Thanks
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          Originally Posted by Ghoster View Post

          That is naive. You are assuming that the other reviews are real too. Amazon if full of fake reviews.
          Not so much anymore. Due in large part to the FTC, a couple of years ago Amazon cracked down and purged en masse what they considered to be "fake reviews". And I do know of several people who have been banned by Amazon for violation of TOS for not fully disclosing their affiliate status in such "reviews".
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          • Profile picture of the author swayman
            I always create a review based on reporter view. I've never used sentences such as "When I tried this product", "When I bought this product" or any other sentences that implying the ownership of the product. I always using the sentences such as "Many people had reported" or other sentences which include summarizing, rewriting the product descriptions. Would that be a fake?

            What if you want to create an informational website you know nothing about? Should one takes a short course first before eligible to create such website? This is the end of creative writing.
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            • Profile picture of the author discrat
              Originally Posted by swayman View Post

              I always create a review based on reporter view. I've never used sentences such as "When I tried this product", "When I bought this product" or any other sentences that implying the ownership of the product. I always using the sentences such as "Many people had reported" or other sentences which include summarizing, rewriting the product descriptions. Would that be a fake?
              swayman,
              This sounds perfectly legit to me.

              I do not see anything you have to worry about


              - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author miklanderson2
    This one doesn't bother me at all...I'm surprised Elance has allowed them for this long.
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    • Profile picture of the author swayman
      Originally Posted by miklanderson2 View Post

      This one doesn't bother me at all...I'm surprised Elance has allowed them for this long.
      I bet you're not an amazon affiliate.
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      • Profile picture of the author miklanderson2
        Originally Posted by swayman View Post

        I bet you're not an amazon affiliate.
        How much do you want to bet? It isn't my main source of income, but I do make money from the Amazon affiliate program.
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        • Profile picture of the author swayman
          Originally Posted by miklanderson2 View Post

          How much do you want to bet? It isn't my main source of income, but I do make money from the Amazon affiliate program.
          And you bought the product you're promoting I assume.
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          • Profile picture of the author seoboyz01
            Originally Posted by swayman View Post

            And you bought the product you're promoting I assume.
            In a perfect world, an affiliate (for Amazon or Clickbank or where ever) would have purchased and used the item they are promoting. Only by using the actual product you are promoting, can you truly know if it's really worth using.

            You might imagine or think the product is good, but once you have used it and find out that it's not, then would you still promote it?

            That's why you need to buy and use the product first. That's why fake reviews are not useful as the person making them doesn't have real experience with that product.
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            • Profile picture of the author nik0
              Banned
              Makes me wonder why Amazon allows their affiliates to build and link from fake review sites. Might be in their tos but it doesn't seem they care to take action when people cross the rules.
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          • Profile picture of the author miklanderson2
            Originally Posted by swayman View Post

            And you bought the product you're promoting I assume.
            I have real-world knowledge and experience with many of the products I promote. I never post a "review" of a product that I haven't actually used or seen myself.

            I do have products that I post articles on that I haven't purchased, but those aren't product reviews written from a customer's viewpoint. They're simply informational articles about the product.
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            • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
              Originally Posted by swayman View Post

              If one product has 5 stars and I ask someone to write a product review consisting pros and also cons, I'm practically was just echoing what people had already experienced in the past when they bought the product from AMAZON.
              The problem comes when that review is presented as the actual experience of the person posting the review, usually with pen name and phony bio/hero story.

              Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

              Makes me wonder why Amazon allows their affiliates to build and link from fake review sites. Might be in their tos but it doesn't seem they care to take action when people cross the rules.
              It might "seem" like it, based on the sheer volume of phony review sites. But you just have to ask the people who have had accounts frozen and/or closed for violating the TOS how much Amazon cares.

              If you're running a phony review site, and your conscience doesn't bother you, it becomes an exercise in risk/reward analysis.

              Originally Posted by ArielT View Post

              My doubt is if a review as a reporter telling about the pros, cons etc is really ok, can anyone answer?
              When you take the reporter angle, it really isn't a review, per se. It's a piece of journalism, perhaps mixed with editorial. Calling it a "review" might not fly, but calling it a "product spotlight" or similar is fine.

              Bottom line, tell the truth and follow the rules, and you should be safe.
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              • Profile picture of the author nik0
                Banned
                Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                It might "seem" like it, based on the sheer volume of phony review sites. But you just have to ask the people who have had accounts frozen and/or closed for violating the TOS how much Amazon cares.

                If you're running a phony review site, and your conscience doesn't bother you, it becomes an exercise in risk/reward analysis.
                I don't know anyone that got banned at Amazon while there have been plenty of cases where people had their Adsense account banned and most are quite vocal about it. Still I never saw a thread like: "Help Amazon banned me".
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                • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                  Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

                  I don't know anyone that got banned at Amazon while there have been plenty of cases where people had their Adsense account banned and most are quite vocal about it. Still I never saw a thread like: "Help Amazon banned me".
                  I do know a few, but they got banned after ignoring warnings from Amazon. That's one difference between Amazon Associates and Adsense. Amazon will usually warn you before taking action while with Adsense your first warning is an inability to get into your account.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    The review is based on customer satisfaction rating pulled out of the AMAZON site, all product reviews on the AMAZON site are from real people who already bought the product.
    Paid endorsements (here in the USA) have to be revealed as such.

    If you haven't bought the product, how could you possibly do a "real" review?

    Go try to post a "review" on a WSO you haven't purchased.

    Elance is not allowing any job related with product reviews anymore,
    No doubt they don't want to be connected with illegal activities. I think it's a wise move on their part.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      Paid endorsements (here in the USA) have to be revealed as such.

      If you haven't bought the product, how could you possibly do a "real" review?

      Go try to post a "review" on a WSO you haven't purchased.

      No doubt they don't want to be connected with illegal activities. I think it's a wise move on their part.
      One way to write a review on a product is something I call "The Honest Review". You simply admit you haven't bought the product and instead are writing about which product you want/want to buy.

      Do research of features, functions, prices, and reviews and tell people which one you'd buy and why.
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  • Profile picture of the author Geeked Labs
    If you wish to use real reviews that other people wrote that's fine as long as you present them how a reporter doing an investigation would. That's what reporters do. But make sure to say that they aren't YOUR review and list that you obtained the reviews from the public amazon site. If you're going to do this stick to the reporter format and just report the news. If you want to write a first person review then actually use the product.

    Anyway as for Elance it's a very smart move on their part to stay in compliance.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cali16
    Originally Posted by swayman View Post

    So composing a product review without purchasing and test the product yourself will fall under the term of fake and paid reviews.
    Um, yeah. That would be considered a fake review.

    Let me put it this way. Let's assume your mother (or someone you care about) was looking to buy a particular item on Amazon, and was swayed by a positive review from someone who hadn't purchased or used the product. Now, your mother doesn't know this, because the reviewer makes it sound as if he or she did actually buy and try the product.

    Now, your mother gets the product and soon discovers it doesn't work like it's supposed to - like the reviewer claimed it did. Is that really okay with you? Now your mother has to go through the hassle of returning it (if she's able to) and finding a replacement.

    That's essentially what you're doing when you write fake reviews. You're lying to those who believe your review is legitimate and have no idea that you never actually bought or used the product. The fact that some affiliates do this doesn't make it okay.

    As for Elance, I'd say this is a very wise business move on their part.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by swayman View Post

    How many of you actually buy and review the product yourself?
    I wouldn't ever "review" a ClickBank product I hadn't seen, myself.

    When I "review" private jet-hire, the people reading my "review-articles" don't expect me to have hired a private jet (which I haven't), but I don't write about it in a way that suggests or implies that I've used the service myself, so that isn't really a "review". An article discussing the advantages, convenience, and much lower-than-expected cost of private flying isn't implicitly claiming familiarity with the service.

    Like so many of these issues, it's partly semantic, and depends on exactly what you mean by "review".

    What matters is your intention, and whether people reading your "review" might be misled into imagining that you have personal familiarity with the product/service "reviewed" when you don't. That would be deceptive, clearly, wouldn't it?

    Cheryl's post just above will help you to understand it, if you read it carefully.


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  • Profile picture of the author ArielT
    My doubt is if a review as a reporter telling about the pros, cons etc is really ok, can anyone answer?
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeMallin
    I don't condone fake reviews, but I also don't think it would be terribly hard to write your Elance job description so that it flies.

    Having said that, there are umpteen places to hire writers - why not try some of the other freelance writing sites?

    Better yet, put an ad on Craigslist. I've found some excellent, and very reasonably-priced writers through Craigslist.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    In a perfect world, every single review written for a Clickbank product, WSO, etc, would be written by someone who has actually purchased the product.

    In the REAL world we live in, I would say at least 90% of review sites out there have reviews written by people who have not used or purchased the product.

    I know of dozens of blogs that do WSO reviews and have a review video on them for almost every single WSO, Clickbank, JVZoo product released. There is no way the blog owner/affiliate marketer has purchased and/or tried out every single product.

    The cold, hard truth is that you can do a Google search for just about any popular digital product and you will undoubtedly have to look through pages of results before you actually find a review that appears to be written by someone who actually owns/uses the product.

    If Elance doesn't want to allow review articles anymore that's their business, but it's nothing to get upset over because there are literally hundreds of other places to get reviews written.

    And as far as the FTC putting people in jail for it, I doubt that's happened yet and I doubt it ever will happen. I think the harshest punishment you'd get would be your website taken down and a fine.

    If the FTC were to go and try to lock up every single person who owns a review site with "fake" reviews, they'd have to put up a new prison in every state just to house all of those people.

    Furthermore, as long as you have the proper affiliate disclosures and other legal pages on your blog, I think you are pretty much in compliance.

    As far as ethics go, as long as you aren't coming right out and lying in the review by saying you own the product when you don't, I don't think you are doing anything morally wrong. You can even put a disclosure right in the review post saying that you don't own the product but that you have researched the opinions of others and that is where you got the information. Then, cite all of your sources just like you would in a bibliography.

    Heck, I've even come across courses that teach you how to make review videos for products that you don't own by using information off of the sales pages and re-wording it.

    The fact is the FTC has great ideas and we should all be happy they exist because in the end they are trying to protect all of us as consumers. I'm not saying they are not doing a good job of it, either. I'm just saying that the Internet is far too big to be policed for something like this.

    I look forward to and welcome the day when all reviews on the Internet were written by people who actually purchased the product, but I don't think I'll be seeing that happen any time soon. Just my two cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author swayman
      Originally Posted by nicheblogger75 View Post

      In a perfect world, every single review written for a Clickbank product, WSO, etc, would be written by someone who has actually purchased the product.

      In the REAL world we live in, I would say at least 90% of review sites out there have reviews written by people who have not used or purchased the product.

      I know of dozens of blogs that do WSO reviews and have a review video on them for almost every single WSO, Clickbank, JVZoo product released. There is no way the blog owner/affiliate marketer has purchased and/or tried out every single product.

      The cold, hard truth is that you can do a Google search for just about any popular digital product and you will undoubtedly have to look through pages of results before you actually find a review that appears to be written by someone who actually owns/uses the product.

      If Elance doesn't want to allow review articles anymore that's their business, but it's nothing to get upset over because there are literally hundreds of other places to get reviews written.

      And as far as the FTC putting people in jail for it, I doubt that's happened yet and I doubt it ever will happen. I think the harshest punishment you'd get would be your website taken down and a fine.

      If the FTC were to go and try to lock up every single person who owns a review site with "fake" reviews, they'd have to put up a new prison in every state just to house all of those people.

      Furthermore, as long as you have the proper affiliate disclosures and other legal pages on your blog, I think you are pretty much in compliance.

      As far as ethics go, as long as you aren't coming right out and lying in the review by saying you own the product when you don't, I don't think you are doing anything morally wrong. You can even put a disclosure right in the review post saying that you don't own the product but that you have researched the opinions of others and that is where you got the information. Then, cite all of your sources just like you would in a bibliography.

      Heck, I've even come across courses that teach you how to make review videos for products that you don't own by using information off of the sales pages and re-wording it.

      The fact is the FTC has great ideas and we should all be happy they exist because in the end they are trying to protect all of us as consumers. I'm not saying they are not doing a good job of it, either. I'm just saying that the Internet is far too big to be policed for something like this.

      I look forward to and welcome the day when all reviews on the Internet were written by people who actually purchased the product, but I don't think I'll be seeing that happen any time soon. Just my two cents.
      Kudos for nicheblogger, there's a thin line between honesty and hypocrisy.
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      • Profile picture of the author arindamb
        There's something called What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) and then there's What You See Is What You Don't Get in affiliate marketing?IM (in many cases). The FTC guys have finally decided to change that and service platforms such as Elance and some others are just following the rules.
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  • Profile picture of the author the_viking
    Yes, I have fake reviews on my websites. I guess that make me dishonest and unethical, just like the rest.

    To Swayman, if you want to keep writing reviews check out the "warriors for hire" section. I don't think warriorforum will go all ethical on you any time soon.
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    • Profile picture of the author shawnmeck
      Originally Posted by the_viking View Post

      Yes, I have fake reviews on my websites. I guess that make me dishonest and unethical, just like the rest.

      To Swayman, if you want to keep writing reviews check out the "warriors for hire" section. I don't think warriorforum will go all ethical on you any time soon.
      Do you think it's ok to lie your clients?
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  • Profile picture of the author the_viking
    YES!
    It is unfortunately the norm in advertising. Photoshoped pictures, statements said by actors wearing costumes (gives you the impression that they are professionals), and so on.
    If you read articles online without checking references and other source you are naive. All the facts about the products in my reviews are true. I give the reader all the information collected in one spot. It is up to the reader to read my disclaimer and about page where I state that not all my reviews are my own user-experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by swayman View Post

      I always create a review based on reporter view. I've never used sentences such as "When I tried this product", "When I bought this product" or any other sentences that implying the ownership of the product. I always using the sentences such as "Many people had reported" or other sentences which include summarizing, rewriting the product descriptions. Would that be a fake?
      This is pretty much the definition of a journalist-style profile of a product. Well done, as long as what you are reporting is actually what people are saying, not what you think will get people to buy.

      (swayman, I'm using the all-inclusive 'you' here, not a personal reference.)

      Originally Posted by the_viking View Post

      YES!
      It is unfortunately the norm in advertising. Photoshoped pictures, statements said by actors wearing costumes (gives you the impression that they are professionals), and so on.
      If you read articles online without checking references and other source you are naive. All the facts about the products in my reviews are true. I give the reader all the information collected in one spot. It is up to the reader to read my disclaimer and about page where I state that not all my reviews are my own user-experience.
      And just how would you know that the facts in your "reviews" are true, if you are taking them from all the other fake reviews online, or the photoshopped fakery you say everyone else does?

      Oh, well, my "never, ever buy from" list keeps growing. And yes, I'm going "all ethical" on you.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    What do you mean no reviews. Should I get ride of web sites that talk about new movies. What about just released best seller books on amazon. Maybe I should not even mention that that up an coming rap group. This is war on news.
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    • Profile picture of the author @tjr
      Originally Posted by seobro View Post

      This is war on news.
      If by "news" you mean "sensationalized click-baiting with no basis in research and evidencence" then yes, this is war on news.

      Man, the things people think they have the right to do...
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        all product reviews on the AMAZON site are from real people who already bought the product.
        Sounds good unless you delve deeply into reviews of appliances and large items. If you spend a day doing that on Amazon and big box sites and manufacturers sales websites....you see the SAME reviews posted to various (different) products, various models, etc. Not "similar reviews" to but the same review - it's common and I'm happy to see any site cracking down on "reviews".
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  • That seems right & correct.

    Testimonials should be fair and trustworthy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Monkmoney
    This is rediculous..how does anyone know if you bought the product or not and how the **** do they know even if you did buy the product if you are not lying about liking it

    Its just the nature of advertising, I gaurentee most the crap on tv is worthless junk being promoted

    let the buyer decide..the affiliate link goes to the dang amazon.product page where they can learn more
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  • Profile picture of the author Royalrevenue
    its good move, fake reviews should not allowed.
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