Back in October, Amazon warned that they would be taking a serious look at incentivized reviews on their platform. Now, just in time for the holidays, they've made good on their word. It's a Christmas miracle: 500,000 incentivized reviews are gone, gone, gone.
Tech Crunch reports that "...the number of incentivized reviews has dropped significantly following the ban, and this, in turn, has lowered the average rating for all reviews." Seems like if reviews were being paid for, they were for positive coverage of a product and not negative coverage of a competitor.
In the WebmasterWorld thread above, lucy24 brings up a good point: "If even Amazon can't screen out bogus reviews, what hope is there for a brick-and-mortar business that has no built-in means to identify reviewers who have actually used the product or service...?"
And I've seen a lot of fear, elsewhere, about negative fake reviews. If reviews are becoming more powerful - "the new links" as it were - then are we going to see a spate of negative paid reviews before Google, Amazon, and the rest can get a grip on them?