There are many banned words that are prohibited in Amazon reviews, and that will get your review rejected in a New York minute. Unhelpfully, Amazon doesn’t offer a list of forbidden words, and they don’t let you know the offending word or words in their rejection notice. So we have decided to create a list here. Below are the words that we know or suspect will get your review rejected by Amazon – please help fellow Amazon reviewers by adding to this list.
Of course, as we point out in an update to How to Become an Amazon Reviewer and Get Free Stuff, Amazon no longer allows you to even review stuff for free, so there’s little incentive to also try and deal with Amazon’s rejecting your review for an unknowable infraction; you have to really care about getting the word out about your experience with a product simply for the betterment of mankind.
So, if Amazon won’t tell you why your review got rejected, how will you know which word caused the rejection? Most of us figure this out by trial and error. For example, we posted the following review of a bedboard:
The Box They Were Shipped in Would Be Better than They Were
I was so hopeful about these, but I have to agree with the other reviewers who said you could just flatten a cardboard box and put it under your mattress. I ended up putting in a sheet of plywood instead. These things are so flimsy that they *arrived* with a hole poked through one panel, and I have no doubt it was from someone’s finger when they packed or shipped it.
Now, this review was rejected. Why? Our best guess is that it had the words ‘hole’ and ‘finger’, and indeed, when we rewrote the review, removing those two words, and reposted it – tahdah – the review was accepted.
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Now, whether there is also a proximity sensor (or, should we say, censor) in the Amazon review checking algorithms, we don’t know. Perhaps it was because ‘finger’ was within 15 words of ‘hole’, and maybe if there had been a larger spread (and we bet those two words would get a review rejected as well) it would have been ok.
But, by removing just those words, and reposting the review, it was accepted. And so, ‘finger’ and ‘hole’ go on the list.
Here’s another one that got rejected:
Perfect if Your Hat Size is “Small”!
This hat is perfect! It is cute, water repellant, and can be folder or rolled up to fit in your pocket or purse! The one thing that I would caution is that it fits me *perfectly*, and I take a size “small” in hats. So, if you ordinarily wear a larger-sized hat, this may not be the hat for you.
Reposting this, taking out the terms ‘size’, ‘small’, and ‘larger’ got the review accepted. In this case, we substituted “L”, “XL”, and “diminutive”.
Pretty ridiculous, and if these reviews were being reviewed by humans, this likely wouldn’t happen. On the other hand, machine scanning of submitted reviews is undoubtedly the only way that Amazon can do this, given the sheer volume of reviews that are submitted.
It’s also important to note that there are other things that can get your review rejected, including grammatical mistakes (yes, really, and we applaud Amazon for this), putting things not related to the actual product in the review (this includes talking about the packaging or shipping), and using language that can be construed as insulting people who disagree with your viewpoint (and especially insulting other reviewers).
Here’s what Amazon says is verbotten, in their guidelines on writing reviews:
Obscene or distasteful content
Profanity or spiteful remarks
Promotion of illegal or immoral conduct
Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively
Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)
Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package
Solicitations for helpful votes
For more information on what we consider promotional content, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Other people’s material (this includes excessive quoting)
Phone numbers, postal mailing addresses, and URLs external to Amazon.com
Videos with watermarks
Comments on other reviews visible on the page (because page visibility is subject to change without notice)
Foreign language content (unless there is a clear connection to the product)
Feedback on the seller, your shipment experience or the packaging (you can do that at www.amazon.com/feedback and www.amazon.com/packaging)
Details about availability or alternative ordering and shipping information
Feedback about typos or inaccuracies in our catalog or product description (instead, use the feedback form at the bottom of the product page).
A more succinct – but equally applicable – list is Amazon’s recommendations for customer discussions:
Behave as if you were a guest at a friend’s dinner party. Please treat the Amazon.com community with respect. Do not post:
Profane or obscene, inflammatory or spiteful comments
Messages that abuse, denigrate or threaten others
Text or articles written by someone else, even with attribution for the author, except for brief quotations from a book, article or other product related to the discussion
Any personal information about children under 13
Descriptions that intrude on the privacy of another person, including revealing personally identifiable information such as their name or address
Text that promotes illegal or immoral conduct
Repeated posts that make the same point excessively
Repeated unwelcome messages that harass or embarrass other customers or participants
Repeated posts that promote an item in the Amazon.com catalog
Any form of “spam,” including advertisements, contests, or other solicitations for other websites or companies; or any URL link that includes a “referrer” tag or affiliate code.
Do not impersonate another person, including an Amazon.com employee.
We recommend that you do not post your phone number or e-mail address.
All that said, here, so far, is our list; we have culled these both from our own experiences, and the experiences of those who have posted their own frustrations online. We are not going to spell out the obvious ones, both because they should be, well, obvious, and also because we want this list to be useful, and those words will trip people’s filters. Also, sometimes a review will get through even with one or more of these words; but if you have had a review rejected, it’s worth checking for these words.
Note that the examples, as absurd as they may seem, are primarily taken from actual review rejections.
Don’t forget to use our comment form to add yours to the list.
List of Words which Will Get Your Amazon Review Rejected
• Obviously, George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on television.
• Anything related to fecal matter.
• Anything related to urine.
• Hole (at least in the same review with certain other words)
• Finger (at least in the same review with certain other words)
• Size (at least in the same review with certain other words)
• Anything starting with “cock..” (such as ‘cockeyed’)
• Anything starting with “foc..” (such as ‘focus’, ‘fockewulf’, etc.)
• Anything starting with “fuc..”
• Abuse (or any derivative, such as ‘abuser’, ‘abused’)
• Moron or moronic
• Anything starting with “ass..” (such as ‘assist’, ‘assinine’, ‘assistant’, etc..)
• Any derogatory racial or ethnic term (such as ‘Russkies’)
• Anything that is an insult or slur
• Fux (name of composer)
• Nigg (name of author)