Episode 31: Jeff Cohen of Seller Labs on Changes to the Amazon Review System

Thursday, June 9th, 2016 in Podcast

We have a special guest today. Jeff Cohen from Seller Labs is on the podcast to tell us about the recent change Amazon has made to their review system. For those who don’t know, Amazon is starting to crack down on sellers who use review padding. Seller Labs is a former book seller that moved into the SaaS realm as a developer of e-commerce software. They are the developers of Feedback Genius and Snag Shout.

Jeff tells us his opinion on the Amazon algorithm and how the recent changes have affected Seller Labs’ approach to getting their customers the organic reviews they want. Jeff explains how the changes to the system will fight against fake or paid reviews. He also takes the time to answer some questions we have about the new system.

Here are the points of today’s conversation:

  • Jeff’s background in ecommerce
  • The beginnings of Feedback Genius
  • Why sellers should focus on optimization
  • How competition is a hangup
  • The growth of Snag Shout
  • Recency vs. Relevance
  • Unverified reviews vs. Verified reviews
  • What’s really important to Amazon
  • The want/need continuum
  • What are Amazon’s definitions of “excessive” and “manipulative”

Resources Mentioned Today:

Seller Labs


Feedback Genius


If you have any questions or anything you’d like us to discuss on the podcast please go to ecomcrew.com and fill out the contact form. Also we would really appreciate if you would leave us a review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!


  • Mark

    Great interview, very helpful. I have always avoided review sites/clubs etc for fear of footprint issues but listening to Jeff i may revise my stance. Did i hear correctly, Jeff said he suggests getting a certain number of reviews BEFORE running a Snag Shout campaign rather than use Snag Shout as a launch vehicle itself?

    Grant Chen

    Glad you found it useful Mark. It was a pleasure for us to have Jeff on. I believe what Jeff is saying is that on a macro level, SnagShout is good for launching a product, but should be seen as a helper tool post launch vs the only tool to generate customer feedback.

    The first initial reviews on Amazon suffer from a serious catch-22 problem, so until Amazon says otherwise, we also believe that doing promo reviews to start a product out (within reason) is usually an ideal route to go.

  • Jeff Cohen

    Thank you for your comment. Grant is correct. You are in a bit of a catch-22 but the good news is that Amazon knows that. What I suggest is that you use Snagshout to get your first few reviews, then you use those reviews to optimize your conversion. Once you have optimized conversion on your page you can start to drive sales and organic reviews.

  • Zack Smith

    This episode was great. Thank you Grant and Mike for such awesome insight. And thank you Jeff for informing on all the awesome things Seller Labs does. Something that I learned that was valuable was what percent of people really read the reviews on products based on Jeff’s survey with his snag shout users. Hope it’s not too late for that T-shirt haha. Thanks again guys!

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