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General Chat - anything Goes > Should Amazon scrap reviews.

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22105 comments I hope this is in the right place, if not, could the moderators move it.

I was reading the paper today and 'proper authors' are kicking off about Amazon stopping author reviews.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/bo...

It strikes me that Amazon has lost the plot on the issue.
Another thing I came across whilst looking for freelance work, someone is advertising for a freelance writer to do them six Amazon reviews, posted from different accounts!
All for the princely sum of $10

I put the details in my blog if you're after the work :-)
http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/20...


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Good grief.

Yes this review stuff is ridickalus.


message 3: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25096 comments Now THAT's ridiculous!
If reviews are an accepted way of getting noticed, authors will want them. If they are scrapped, then Goodreads with its own review system, and recommendation threads like ours, will play an even more important part than they do now.


message 4: by Jim (last edited Dec 26, 2012 12:39PM) (new)

Jim | 22105 comments I agree entirely with the ridiculous nature of it.
Professionally I'm still scandalised that this cheapskate expects 6 reviews for $10!

So what reviews can the reader rely on? The Amazon ones are easy to find, when you find the book, they're there. But actually Amazon reviews are useless when looking for books.
So if we do away with them I don't think anyone would suffer too much.
What readers could do is fall back on Goodreads (and similar). There are also review sites like Ignite's at http://www.ignitebooks.blogspot.co.uk/. These will then point them to good books.

I think that people might start 'following' a reviewer as an individual, because they'd grow to trust them. If you follow reviewers you'll soon pick out the ones who delight in just slagging people off and waging vendetta.


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 26, 2012 02:12PM) (new)

I hate the voting system on review too, and the reviewers league being based on those votes. I never even thought about it until I became a top 1000 reviewer, but then that puts pressure on you - if you don't get enough votes you can lose that status, and if you dare to give something a poor review you attract extra no votes which affect your status. I find goodreads much better. I know that there has been abuse here too but not to the same extent - I like the way that there is no "no" vote and that reviewers aren't ranked. I don't always want to write a review for every single book that I read but do like to give a star rating (yes, I know people don't always like that either but I don't think it is abused that much and people are more likely to rate if they don't have to say why.)


message 6: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25096 comments I dislike that aspect too Karen. It's never stopped me from giving a less positive review though because I want them to be honest. Sometimes you get a yes vote for being honest - not from the author though, I suspect! You'll never please everyone.


message 7: by Kate (new)

Kate Baggott (httpswwwgoodreadscomkate_baggott) | 104 comments Jim wrote: "I agree entirely with the ridiculous nature of it.
Professionally I'm still scandalised that this cheapskate expects 6 reviews for $10!

So what reviews can the reader rely on? The Amazon ones ar..."


I agree that Amazon reviews are pretty useless and there is a practise among writers of "exchanging reviews." As for using reviews to get attention, I'm not sure it works. I've seen a number of writers concentrating on getting reviews rather than selling books.


message 8: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 1791 comments I enjoy writing Amazon reviews, but as I'm also an author I've stopped for a few months while all this blows over. It's all pretty silly.


message 9: by D.D. Chant (new)

D.D. Chant (DDChant) | 7680 comments I'm too scared to write reviews on Amazon, I'm a bit scared writing them on Goodreads!!!


message 10: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments In my experience, the three star reviews were the best. Insightful, and for the most part no bull, they were always my first port of call.


message 11: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25096 comments Don't be scared little Noddy. We'll hold your hand!


message 12: by Sara (new)

Sara Boyd (saraboydauthor) | 1412 comments I've never written a review. Just gave feedback on some product I bought on Amazon.


message 13: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments I've never really bothered writing reviews on Amazon. And now that we aren't supposed to review our own genre ( and often get the reviews deleted if we do) then there seems little point in bothering.


message 14: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 1674 comments Will wrote: "I've never really bothered writing reviews on Amazon. And now that we aren't supposed to review our own genre ( and often get the reviews deleted if we do) then there seems little point in bothering."

I did a couple a while back but I shan't bother now.
Now say you write paranormal fantasy romantiuc erotica or something- that doesn't leave you much scope;)

I would guess most writers write in a genre they read.

TBH I never know what to say in a review.


message 15: by Sara (new)

Sara Boyd (saraboydauthor) | 1412 comments Alexandra wrote: "Will wrote: "I've never really bothered writing reviews on Amazon. And now that we aren't supposed to review our own genre ( and often get the reviews deleted if we do) then there seems little poi..."

Uh. I don't read much the genre I write. But maybe that's just me.


message 16: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9478 comments Alexandra wrote: "I would guess most writers write in a genre they read."

Amongst others. I also read around the kind of things my characters are likely to get up to, so if they are going to spend time at sea (say), I might start reading Hornblower stories, even though I don't write historical novels.

A lot of what I read could be considered "research" as much as entertainment...


message 17: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments Now that's an interesting topic, Sara. I do, largely (not exclusively). What about the others?


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22105 comments Interesting
I love history, and read a lot of straight history. (My interests tend to be medieval and earlier). When it comes to fiction, yes I tend to read fantasy and sci-fi but less than I read history. Like Tim, my 'research' is also 'entertainment' :-)


message 19: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments As somebody once said: opinions are like backsides. Everybody's got one.

It can be addictive writing reviews.


message 20: by Chris (new)

Chris Ward (chriswardfictionwriter) | 40 comments As a writer I don't really care what reviews I get but as a reader I only really read the 3-stars. They're always the most balanced. I think it would be kind of stupid for Amazon (or anywhere else for that matter) to stop them.


Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4698 comments Amazon reviews for other products are extremely useful. They still have bias but at least you get a pointer....


message 22: by Elle (new)

Elle (louiselesley) | 7913 comments I love reading reviews.

Even the bad ones provide some great entertainment while the good ones always give me a shove if I am on the ledge about buying something


message 23: by Will (new)

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 11721 comments At some point, 'caveat emptor' has to enter the scene, too.

Readers can read the reviews and make up their own minds after using the 'look inside' feature.


message 24: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 1791 comments Hehe I wrote a Bic pen review - it was great fun :)


message 25: by Sara (new)

Sara Boyd (saraboydauthor) | 1412 comments When I started with this self-publishing idea, I read on one of many advice forums that reviews are important for your sales. After reading this thread, and especially that comment on the Bic pen review, not sure I want any. ;-)


message 26: by Sara (new)

Sara Boyd (saraboydauthor) | 1412 comments Any reviews, I mean.


message 27: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeldiack) | 185 comments I agree with Simon, Amazon reviews for anything other than books are very useful, especially for electronics and clothing. Three star reviews, as someone mentioned, are often the most insightful and evaluative. I often find 1 star ones to be obvious over-bashing for often trivial things in my eyes, at least. The synopsis, genre, and book cover will always be the primary factors for me and the sample is free, so no harm done if I get it and don't like it.


message 28: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22105 comments With books 'look inside' means that you can check on a lot of things.


Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4698 comments Banning is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.


message 30: by Elle (new)

Elle (louiselesley) | 7913 comments You know i've never read a sample in my life.


Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 4698 comments Sampling is like a one night stand. You get the general idea without the need to commit.


message 32: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 4128 comments Chris wrote: "As a writer I don't really care what reviews I get but as a reader I only really read the 3-stars. They're always the most balanced. I think it would be kind of stupid for Amazon (or anywhere else..."

That's what I said earlier, and you're claiming credit for it! :)


message 33: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22105 comments Look on the bright side, if someone disagrees violently, he can take the blame as well


message 34: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 2 comments I do read reviews of books, and try and get a balance between 5 star, 1 star and what is in-between (although a lot of books don't have many reviews in the middle ground). I also write them and have been a Vine Voice reviewer for a few years now. The are quite a few revenge raters on Amazon then, down rating your review so your ranking drops down.


message 35: by Sara (new)

Sara Boyd (saraboydauthor) | 1412 comments I only use the 'look inside' for non-fiction books.


message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22105 comments Sara wrote: "I only use the 'look inside' for non-fiction books."

nowt as funny as folks, I only use 'look inside' for fiction, and check academic review sites for non-fiction :-))
(I exaggerate for comic effect obviously)


message 37: by Tim (new)

Tim | 9478 comments I use Look Inside for any book where I'm not familiar with the author. For fiction, you can pretty much tell within the first few paragraphs whether the writer is any good or not...

Curiously, I'm much more likely to take a punt on a book that has no reviews than on one that just has 1 or 2 5* reviews.


message 38: by Jim (last edited Dec 28, 2012 01:49PM) (new)

Jim | 22105 comments Yes, look inside can sell a book to me. I read

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sword-Silent-...

and was hooked.
However it's coming out as a real book so I'm tempted to wait


message 39: by Sara (new)

Sara Boyd (saraboydauthor) | 1412 comments Jim wrote: "Sara wrote: "I only use the 'look inside' for non-fiction books."

nowt as funny as folks, I only use 'look inside' for fiction, and check academic review sites for non-fiction :-))
(I exaggerate ..."


Lol! Interesting, though.


message 40: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Ayris (stuayris) | 2692 comments I think that whatever system is used there will be people who abuse it. I enjoy writing reviews and I also think it's great as an author that people have the opportunity to make public what they think of my books. I too use the Look Inside feature before I buy a book - it certainly helps you to weed out the paid for reviews!!


message 41: by Joo (last edited Dec 29, 2012 03:08AM) (new)

Joo (jooo) | 1636 comments I do feel a bit disheartened when I read that (some) authors don't believe in 5* reviews. I feel a bit tempted to refer back to this thread to make sure I don't give some people 5* even if I loved the book.


message 42: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Ayris (stuayris) | 2692 comments As the recipient of a fair few five star reviews, I believe in every single one of them! I think some authors can get so hung up on reviews that they can be on the slippery slope to bitterness which can only end poorly. The writing and reviewing of books is a WONDERFUL thing and hats off from me to all you authors, readers and reviewers!!


message 43: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25096 comments I've never given a one star review - I heartily dislike the word 'hate' in the definition! I would use it for something which advocated cruelty or racial hatred, but not for a book I didn't enjoy! I've given many a 2, 3 and 4 star.

I feel perfectly entitled to give a five star when I've had a really good and enjoyable reading experience - particularly when it has made me want to go and gobble up anything else the author has written. I take five star reviews to bits though, in that I always check if the reviewer has any more reviews to his/name. If it's their only review I discount it completely.


message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22105 comments Dead man riding East has only one five star review

It is from Ignite through :-)

For authors, Reviews are like past loves, you feel that you ought to have some good ones, if only to give you some credibility,but too many can cause bitchiness :-)


message 45: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Ayris (stuayris) | 2692 comments I think some authors think they have a right to good reviews. I personally believe that reviews are there to inform readers not to prop up the fragile egos of authors. That's not to say reading a five star review isn't an absolutely joyful moment (it is! it is!) it's just that we should try and keep things in some form of perspective lest we all go mad!


message 46: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barrett | 1612 comments Interesting things about Amazon reviews. I don't think they should scrap them, and I don't think big names would like them scrapped. For the small percentage of fake reviews out there, I still think they are valuable to potential readers. Most people could spot a fake, I'm sure, and if not, rely more on the look inside feature to decide if it's likely to appeal.
And as mentioned elsewhere here, dedicated blog sites where you can compare your tastes and eventually come to trust the blogger to help you decide on your next read, is a sound alternative.


message 47: by D.D. Chant (new)

D.D. Chant (DDChant) | 7680 comments Joo The Grand Inquisitor wrote: "I do feel a bit disheartened when I read that (some) authors don't believe in 5* reviews. I feel a bit tempted to refer back to this thread to make sure I don't give some people 5* even if I loved..."

I am VERY proud of my 5* reviews and appreciate it when ever someone takes the time to leave a rating or review!!!


message 48: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hill | 1603 comments Receiving a five-star review is one of the greatest pleasures to me. It's a shame that false five-star reviews are weakening the impact of genuine ones. It's a strange situation when an author such as myself is eager to receive a great five-star review but then has the review ignored by potential buyers.


message 49: by Mhairi (new)

Mhairi Simpson (mhairisimpson) | 1158 comments I do worry that the five star reviews I've had on Scent and Hookers (okay, only one for Hookers) will discourage people from buying as they'll think they can't possibly all be genuine. But they are!! *sob* *wail*


message 50: by Stuart (new)

Stuart Ayris (stuayris) | 2692 comments At the end of the day it's a matter of having faith I think - faith in ourselves as writers, faith in reviewers as genuine and faith in very cheap wine!


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