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Writer's Circle > Sick of Amazon removing your book reviews? Sign this petition!

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message 1: by Lori (new)

Lori Schafer (lorilschafer) | 41 comments Author Jas T. Ward is collecting signatures (14,000 so far) on a petition to persuade Amazon to change its review policy. If you'd like to support this cause, you can

1) Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/amazon-com-a...

2) Invite your Goodreads friends to the event here: https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/...

3) Share my blog post about it here: http://wp.me/p4mxfj-hB5

Thank you!


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitalouiserobertsonyahoocom) | 9 comments Signed and Done! Thank you for getting this off the ground.


message 3: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 132 comments Signed.


message 4: by Christie (new)

Christie Maurer | 32 comments I just signed. Thank you, thank you for doing this!


message 5: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 15, 2015 10:01AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Am I the only one finding it hypocritical that Amazon is pushing their "follow author" features?

(Got reminded of this thread and petition by an iOS kindle app update touting how you can now follow authors right from within the app.)


message 6: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments I'm struggling a bit with this one. If Amazon apply a rule equally to all authors then we all lose out or win to the same extent. The competition between authors isn't affected.

They are trying to crack down on the review system being spammed by authors getting close friends and family to review books. And while their methods might need some improvement, I am much more interested in them tackling review abuse than in losing the occasional review from a friend.

If the review system becomes too badly spammed, then it will become worthless because readers won't trust it.


message 7: by La-Lionne (new)

La-Lionne | 36 comments Since when liking author's page counts as knowing them personaly? Or is it just the petition creator twisting Amazons TOS?

It's just my opinion, but I don't think friends and family of an author are reliable reviewers. Authors are losing business because Amazon is removing reviews from friends and family? How much business do friend's and family's reviews bring to an author?

It sounds like someone blew this way out of proportions.


message 8: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Lealos (sslealos) | 5 comments It's not so much friends and family reviews that matter since those are fair if they bought the book. it is the authors who buy reviews to try to game the system to push their books up the rankings that is the problem and there has to be a way to police that.


message 9: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 16, 2015 06:23AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) I see nothing wrong with friends and family reviewing provided they say they are related or know author personally. Odds are they did read the book and if they just follow U.S. consumer fraud laws requiring they disclose the connection -- most consumer review sites (other than Amazon) permit. One person = one rating/review with no sockpuppets accounts allowing inflating the ratings impact.

I'm happy Amazon is trying to cut down on the against-their-policies and if-undisclosed-illegal reviews. I accept some perfectly legitimate reviews get mistakenly removed.

I just think it's ridiculous to equate a fan following an author and devotedly reading and reviewing everything they write with a fraudulent review that needs to be removed. If only writing one review; of course if creating fake accounts to write multiple reviews and up/down vote other reviews ... those need removing.

It's the internet so we're not likely to know if reported incidents are ever true -- but, if so, does that mean reviewers following authors on Amazon will not be allowed to review them or allowed to review them if only place followed author is Amazon?


message 10: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments But is Amazon doing anything wrong here? We have a situation where they (quite rightly) can't comment on individual cases. They don't want to infringe users' privacy and they don't want to explain how they check whether reviews are genuine (because the spammers would find ways around any system for checking).

We do know that the ratings system is frequently being abused. We do know that some reviews are being taken down. What we don't know is if these disappearing reviews are genuine or not. As far as I can tell, Amazon are not simply taking down all fan reviews. They are looking for other signs of collusion and unfair practices.

If they apply their rules fairly to everyone and we all lose a few reviews, then so be it. It's a level playing field if the rules are applied equally. But if they manage to stop some of the sharp practices that are going on out there, then those of us who are honest about our reviews stand to gain.

Is there a problem?


message 11: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 16, 2015 07:31AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) The explanation given for removing reviews as being because was from a "fan" is a problem.

I get that individual cases aren't commented on and that just because someone says their review was removed for whatever reason doesn't make it true. I've seen lots of sockpuppets and paid reviews removed for valid reasons then those reviewers claim all kinds of other things. But Amazon has said they have an issue with "fan" reviews.

Amazon saying they'll remove reviews from fans is a problem and is public.

I have no idea if they categorize "fan" as also being someone who follows author on Amazon,com -- that part was just weird to me because if you object to reviewers following authors ...?

I wish they would remove the voting of diehard fans when those vote up/down campaigns and rants get underway. And remove/block their nasty comments on dissenting reviews. That's more useful than removing their only-one-review-per-person fan reviews.


message 12: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments Well, not quite. Amazon has removed some reviews from some people who are fans of particular authors. But I have not seen anything from Amazon which says they will remove all reviews from anyone who is a fan. And I have not seen evidence of widespread deleting of reviews.

The idea that they would delete all fan reviews is ludicrous and as far as I can see is not what they are doing.


message 13: by La-Lionne (new)

La-Lionne | 36 comments I just want to crarify my earlier post. I don't know if Amazon is removing reviews of fans for simply liking authors page on their site. The person that started petition suspects that it's the case (even though in the text on the petition page it sounded like they were 100% sure that it's the case. I did read Amazons TOS and nowhere do they say that they actually do remove reviews of people who simply like author's page.)
The bit of Amazon's TOS that was quoted on petition's page is actually much longer and explains much more. Which made me think that the person that created the petition either took it out of context on purpose, to suit their agenda, or completely misunderstood the TOS.

Since Amazon don't give explenations on individual cases, no one knows why a review was remove. All the person, who's review was removed, can do is guess/speculate as to why. When they don't get any answer, they come up with their own most likely explenation "I'm sure that is why..."

That is my theory.


message 14: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 16, 2015 04:32PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Will wrote: "Well, not quite. Amazon has removed some reviews from some people who are fans of particular authors. But I have not seen anything from Amazon which says they will remove all reviews from anyone wh..."

I don't think they are removing all reviews from people who are fans. Or that we know why any of the reviews were removed.

I do think it's a problem if they remove any review soley because reviewer was deemed to be a fan/follower (which they have said). And odd in conjunction with their new-ish follow author options.

Personally, when I like an author's books I go for every book they write in same genre (or in other genres I read) -- at least until they write one that disappoints me. Even after being disappointed, if I've liked most of their books I'll still try the next ones. That's something that really bothers me about the idea of reviews from a fan not always allowed. A real killer for indie author book release announcement which many readers get by following/liking them on their various sites (yes, realistically most have an author page on amazon you could follow if that was an exception to the no-fan-review even if not kdp exclusive).


message 15: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments Have Amazon said that they have removed a review solely because a reviewer was a fan or follower? I have not seen any statement from Amazon which says that. The kind of thing that Amazon do say are like this:

http://www.engadget.com/2015/07/24/am...

The Amazon statement in full:

"We have a long standing policy of not commenting on individual customer accounts or on specific methods of determining review manipulation. However, when we detect that elements of a reviewer's Amazon account match elements of an author's Amazon account, we conclude that there is too much risk of review bias that would erode customer trust, and thus we remove the review. I can assure you that we investigate each case.We have built mechanisms, both manual and automated over the years that detect, remove or prevent reviews which violate guidelines. We encourage authors to continue to build their network and community as they normally would. This will not impact customer reviews."

So where is the smoking gun? Where is the evidence that Amazon is blocking reviews by fans or followers solely because they are fans or followers?

And then ask yourself the obvious question: Amazon wants more sales and hence more profits, so why on earth would they remove reviews without good reason?


message 16: by T.H. (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments I had a fan email me that their review was removed because supposedly she knew me. That was news to both of us. So it does happen, but I'm not too worried, since it was only one. But I have wondered if it's happened to others who haven't contacted me regarding it.


message 17: by La-Lionne (new)

La-Lionne | 36 comments T.H. wrote: "I had a fan email me that their review was removed because supposedly she knew me. That was news to both of us. So it does happen, but I'm not too worried, since it was only one. But I have wondere..."

Can I ask how that fan of yours knew why her review was removed due to connection with you? Did she just assumed, since Amazon don't coment on individual cases?


message 18: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 17, 2015 11:13AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Will wrote: "Have Amazon said that they have removed a review solely because a reviewer was a fan or follower? Where is the evidence that Amazon is blocking reviews by fans or followers solely because they are fans or followers?..."

Amazon doesn't publicly comment on individual cases but does say they have removed and may remove reviews for those reasons.

"Individual cases" have posted about and even shared emails saying that was the reason (admittedly, no way of proving anything anyone says or even that a screenshot or email header wasn't doctored).

Amazon may want more sales and more profits -- but, they also claim to want to avoid the reviews that help wth that being questioned as untrustworthy (and in some cases actually illegal when posted in wth consumer/customer reviews without disclosing connections).

I suspect it's not very common that a review was removed just because reviewer was deemed a "fan" -- but, it does happen. Happen enough for me to consider signing petitions and being upset about--probably not? As dire as OP indicates -- judge for yourself but I don't think it's something to dismiss out of hand as never happening. I'm sure it's happening, likely just a casualty of Amazon trying to police all the fake, sockpuppets and illegally undisclosed connections/payments reviews.

I've never personally had a review removed for that reason which means I cannot give you proof you are likely to accept of anything other than what Amazon has said--contact Amazon and ask for yourself. You sound like that direct response from Amazon might be the only proof you'll accept no matter what Amazon has already stated publicly.


message 19: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments When have Amazon said that they remove reviews SOLELY because someone is a fan? I have never seen them say this. Have you?

The only people alleging that Amazon removes fan reviews are the people who have had reviews removed. And we don't know if the ONLY reason that those reviews were removed were because they were written by fans.

So let's review the evidence ...

Unless you can find a quote, it seems that Amazon have not said publicly that they remove reviews SOLELY because someone is a fan.

I have never had a fan review removed.

You have never had a fan review removed.

Some reviews have been removed, but we don't know why. There could be genuine reasons for Amazon taking them down, or at least reasonable grounds for suspicion.

In other words, there is zero evidence of a problem here.


message 20: by Shawn (last edited Oct 17, 2015 12:38PM) (new)

Shawn Lealos (sslealos) | 5 comments I am curious about the fan connection as well, since if authors say fans can't review books of authors they are fans of, Stephen King would never get a review on any of his books. I would no longer be allowed to review books by Stephen King, John Sandford, Lee Child, etc... If self published authors were held to a different standard, that would be a problem.

With that said, Amazon is striking back. They are suing over 1,000 reviewers (including those from Fiverr) who took money to leave reviews on Amazon. - http://consumerist.com/2015/10/16/ama...

To make sure that the services offered were legit, Amazon dispatched investigators to buy reviews. This led to the rather surreal situation where sellers would explain their strategies for evading detection by Amazon to a representative of Amazon.



message 21: by T.H. (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments T.H. wrote: "I had a fan email me that their review was removed because supposedly she knew me. That was news to both of us. So it does happen, but I'm not too worried, since it was only one. But I have wondere..."
Amazon sent her an email to that effect. They said it was removed due to a personal relationship with the author. we have no idea where Amazon came up with this assumption.


message 22: by T.H. (last edited Oct 17, 2015 01:19PM) (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments Will wrote: "With that said, Amazon is striking back. They are suing over 1,000 reviewers (including those from Fiverr) who took money to leave reviews on Amazon. - http://consumerist.com/2015/10/16/ama..."
This is actually a good use of their efforts. Paid reviews are an abuse of the review system and don't help anyone. I can spot one in the first two sentences.


message 23: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments T.H. wrote: "Amazon sent her an email to that effect. They said it was removed due to a personal relationship with the author. we have no idea where Amazon came up with this assumption."

We don't know how Amazon decide when a review needs to be taken down. From the quote I gave earlier, they said: "when we detect that elements of a reviewer's Amazon account match elements of an author's Amazon account, we conclude that there is too much risk of review bias"

So what exactly do they mean about "elements of Amazon accounts matching"? Amazon, quite understandably, don't want to tell everyone how they do their checks because that would help the unscrupulous.

We can try to make some informed guesses. Amazon can probably tell from the accounts whether the author and reviewer use the same computer or live at the same address, which might be evidence of sock puppetry or close family members.

They may be able to tell whether someone has actually bought and read a particular book, particularly if it is only available via Amazon as an ebook.

The dates of reviews can be a big clue. All too often we see someone creating an account and submitting a review on the next day.

We can also sometimes see cozy clubs where groups of authors give each other favourable reviews. I was invited to join one of these clubs and immediately refused. It was very obvious when I started looking at the reviewing history of the club members that they were all reviewing each others' books.

What do we have in this instance? We really don't know. We have a situation where one or more individuals are making claims that a large organisation has somehow wronged them. The large organisation (in this case Amazon) can't reply in detail because it would be wrong of them to divulge personal information. So the people making the claims can say what they want and Amazon can't reply.

Is there a problem here? I can't say one way or the other. We do know that some people are trying to spam the review system and that Amazon are trying to crack down on it. If that means that innocents occasionally get caught by the checks then maybe that is a price worth paying to get a more honest system.


message 24: by T.H. (new)

T.H. Hernandez (thhernandez) | 113 comments Will wrote: "T.H. wrote: "Amazon sent her an email to that effect. They said it was removed due to a personal relationship with the author. we have no idea where Amazon came up with this assumption."

We don't ..."

I have no idea. There has been some speculation that they look at your GR friend list since they own both Amazon and GR. And she is a GR friend even though I have never met her and likely never will since she lives in another country.


message 25: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 18, 2015 12:08AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Will wrote: "When have Amazon said that they remove reviews SOLELY because someone is a fan? I have never seen them say this. Have you?..."

Ask Amazon.

You are disputing what's said on this thread -- so ask Amazon to get your "proof" if nothing on this thread or the Internet (including the Amazon.com site quotes) is worthy of your consideration.

Doesn't seem like you'd believe it if still more folk post on this thread agreeing with quoted Amazon and saying they also had reviews deleted with same email phrasing. No reason you have to believe people you don't know on the Internet -- visit Amazon site for yourself to see if quoted accurately and just ask them.


message 26: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments Why do we need to ask Amazon? They've given a statement which tells us all we need to know. I quoted it earlier. Here it is again:

"We have a long standing policy of not commenting on individual customer accounts or on specific methods of determining review manipulation. However, when we detect that elements of a reviewer's Amazon account match elements of an author's Amazon account, we conclude that there is too much risk of review bias that would erode customer trust, and thus we remove the review. I can assure you that we investigate each case.We have built mechanisms, both manual and automated over the years that detect, remove or prevent reviews which violate guidelines. We encourage authors to continue to build their network and community as they normally would. This will not impact customer reviews."

So why do we need to ask Amazon when they have made their position perfectly clear?

I have seen many examples of review abuse. I have not seen one example of Amazon unfairly removing a review. I am sure that occasionally get it wrong - they are only human - but frankly I would rather that they took action to remove the review spammers. As long as the rules are applied equally to all author we are still competing with each other equally.


message 27: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 18, 2015 06:32AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Will wrote: "Why do we need to ask Amazon? They've given a statement which tells us all we need to know. I quoted it earlier. Here it is again:

"We have a long standing policy of not commenting on individual c..."


No one seems to be arguing or questioning that they don't comment on individual cases.

I meant that if you question whether or not they would/have removed a review solely because reviewer was deemed a fan/connection of the author (as that quote you repeated supports for me) -- ask them that without asking about an individual case.

I'm impressed that you even know enough reviews or examples of reviews (or that you'd find the examples not mentioned on this thread somehow more credible since also likely just from random internet people) removed by Amazon to even begin to know if removed fairly or unfairly.

It's hard to point to existing reviews on the Amazon site as an example of removed reviews; all I could link you to are some I think should be watched for removal (or comments and up/down voting campaigns underway that should be removed). Or some paid reviewer ads like from fivver that Amazon hasn't sued yet ... none of which would answer if Amazon is or has removed a review because reviewer deemed a fan.


message 28: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments I'm sorry, I'm struggling to understand what you are saying.


message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic Since the vast majority of avid readers never post a formal review on any website and the few that do are merely expressing a subjective opinion, perhaps this obsession with reviews by some authors is unwarranted.

Amazon may be removing reviews which it suspects have been solicited, swapped, purchased, or obtained by an offer of a free book by the author, but do not include a disclaimer stating so, as is required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).


message 30: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) Here we go again - authors whining because Amazon is trying to prevent them from gaming the system.

I sick of listening to half truths and ridiculous accusations made against a major book seller, usually by the same people who think it is okay to game the system. Does anyone actually believe Amazon is deleting reviews without having a good reason to do so.

Apparently a book's entire future hinges on whether or not a review is accepted? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for a book to be successful, it needs to have a lot more going for it than a few reviews.

Childish excuses - has to be a reason this book is failing - it must be Amazon's fault. They took down Mom's review.

If a book sells, the author makes money and so does Amazon. Why would they take this position? Because bogus reviews destroy the integrity of their site and affect sales. Biased reviews are obvious to avid readers. When I find them, I put the books by that author on my DO-NOT-READ list. Many other readers I know do the same thing. No one wants to be conned into buying a book they don't want or can't read. Maybe by removing these reviews, Amazon is actually doing the honest ethical authors a big favor.

Please do not sign a petition based on unproven accusations. Reviews have been removed for good reasons (see Jim's comments in #29 above) and keeping the site credible is more important to readers than a couple missing and probably biased reviews.


message 31: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 18, 2015 09:11PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Will wrote: "I'm sorry, I'm struggling to understand what you are saying."

I'm saying the best "proof" or at least intended interpretation of policy you quoted is to ask Amazon to clarify for you -- without asking them about an individual case.

Unless someone talking about their review being removed is someone you actually know and believe or you personally had a review removed with resulting email -- all the quoted emails and screenshots of purported emails won't likely be proof for you.

I don't think we're interpreting their stated policies the same way. I think Amazon can and will remove reviews they deem from a fan (not likely a frequent occurrence or there would be a bigger outcry) -- but, you don't know me so ask Amazon and ask around reviewers you do know/trust.

I am less convinced of specific incidences when it's the author of the book with disappearing reviews posting rather than the reviewer -- again, I still think Amazon has, can and will remove reviews due to a perceived "fan" relationship. If an author then hears from specific individuals that it happened that's either (a) an outraged reader contacting author for fvery first time to tell them about it or (b) there had been existing contact where Amazon was 100% correct to remove the review because author and reader clearly had an existing connection not disclosed in review.

But, I also know that's unfair to many authors and just me being cynical based on past incidences where goodreads and Amazon have been removing reviews (for very good reasons probably shared in review community way before gained enough publicity to cause even Amazon to take action) only to hear -- as Christne mentions -- all kinds of outrageous claims about why reviews were removed.


message 32: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Lealos (sslealos) | 5 comments
I'm saying the best "proof" or at least intended interpretation of policy you quoted is to ask Amazon to clarify for you -- without asking them about an individual case.


Amazon's Response:
"We have a long standing policy of not commenting on individual customer accounts or on specific methods of determining review manipulation. However, when we detect that elements of a reviewer's Amazon account match elements of an author's Amazon account, we conclude that there is too much risk of review bias that would erode customer trust, and thus we remove the review. I can assure you that we investigate each case.We have built mechanisms, both manual and automated over the years that detect, remove or prevent reviews which violate guidelines. We encourage authors to continue to build their network and community as they normally would. This will not impact customer reviews."


Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Shawn wrote: ""We have a long-standing policy..."

Yes, everyone keeps quoting that on lots of threads and several times in this thread.

Problem is some posters thinks that means that Amazon will/has removed reviews deemed too-connected "fan" reviews and others posting on this thread don't.

Not sure how to prove it one way or another without some authority (like Amazon staff/email or possibly goodreads staff although not sure how much they know if Amazon.com policies) outside of just goodreads members with a variety of opinions saying so.


message 34: by La-Lionne (new)

La-Lionne | 36 comments At this point no one knows if the reasons behind Amazon review removal were legit or not, but I'm leaning toward Amazon being right. Simply because the author that started the petition is asking other authors to review her book, in exchange she's promising to publish their quotes on her book cover, or in the book, when it's released. I can't and wont support such nonsense.
If Amazon removed reviews based on facebook posts like these, I say good riddance.


message 35: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments D.A. - let's try to break this down. Let's separate out what we do and don't know.

We do know that Amazon has been deleting reviews. The reason they have been giving is that they believe that the reviewer has a close relationship with the author. They say that they investigate every case. They will not comment on the details of individual cases.

We also know that review abuse does happen. Authors have used sock puppets to write their own reviews. They have used family members and close friends. They have paid for companies on fiverr to write reviews.

We also know that some authors who have had reviews deleted claim they are innocent of any naughtiness. They say that the reviews that have been deleted are genuine.

That's what we know. I hope we can all agree on that.

What we don't know is who to believe about the latest batch of deleted reviews. Were they genuine reviews or were they written by sock puppets, family members, close friends or someone paid to write the reviews?

It boils down to one simple question: who do we believe - the authors or Amazon?

It is at this point that I have to say "I simply don't know". I am not going to automatically blame the authors or Amazon without proof. In the absence of any evidence, you have decided that Amazon is doing something wrong. I don't know how you have reached this conclusion.

But what I do know is this: it is not in Amazon's interest to delete genuine reviews. The company exists to make profits. Honest reviews help them to do this.

I also know that review abuse does happen and that it is hurting all of us. In particular, it is eroding the trust that we need to exist between author and reader. Let's not forget that the readers are the most important people here.

I am sure that Amazon will get it wrong from time to time. Because they are only human they will occasionally delete a genuine review. I don't doubt that their investigation methods may make mistakes.

That is simply something that we will have to accept, and deal with on an individual case by case basis. The important thing here is to restore some trust in the review system - that will benefit authors and readers alike.


message 36: by Scarlet (last edited Oct 19, 2015 05:30PM) (new)

Scarlet Darkwood (scarletdarkwood) | 11 comments I don't use Facebook to log into my accounts. What does this mean for this thread? Some people think that Amazon is finding your "friends" list via FB and other social media outlets much easier if you're signing in using one means. How true that is or not, I don't know, but it makes some possible sense for me.

As for reviews, I've seen books with only one, one-star review, and their rankings put mine to shame. So someone is buying their book regardless of reviews. I think it's much more productive for an author to focus on driving traffic to their books if possible.


message 37: by Kendal (new)

Kendal Waller (kendalwaller) | 18 comments Will wrote: "I'm struggling a bit with this one. If Amazon apply a rule equally to all authors then we all lose out or win to the same extent. The competition between authors isn't affected.

They are trying to..."
If it is a verified purchase and the person is giving a fair review it shouldn't matter who gives it.

ALSO... the review that was removed from one of my books was by someone I did not know at all so please explain this....


message 38: by Kendal (new)

Kendal Waller (kendalwaller) | 18 comments Shawn wrote: "It's not so much friends and family reviews that matter since those are fair if they bought the book. it is the authors who buy reviews to try to game the system to push their books up the rankings..."

EXACTLY!!!!


message 39: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments But it does matter who gives the review. Amazon's rules do not allow close friends or family to review an author's book. Those are the rules that you signed up to when you asked Amazon to publish your book. Those rules apply to everyone published by Amazon. There is no point whining about rules that you have already agreed to.

It is those rules that keep the system fair between authors. We all abide by the same rules, and not ignoring a rule because we don't think it's fair or somehow shouldn't apply to us.

Amazon will delete reviews for a number of reasons and not solely because the reviewer is known to the author. They will also delete reviews that have been bought through the marketing companies who advertise on fiverr, for example.


Sarah (Presto agitato) (mg2001) | 15 comments Will wrote: "Amazon will delete reviews for a number of reasons and not solely because the reviewer is known to the author. They will also delete reviews that have been bought through the marketing companies who advertise on fiverr, for example."

It is also possible that a reviewer, for any number of reasons, may have deleted a review himself. I'm not sure how an author would know one way or another about this unless there was some kind of communication with the reviewer, which brings us back to square one.


message 41: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments That's a good point. We may also find that Amazon are deleting all reviews by a particular reviewer if that reviewer has been found to be selling fake reviews.

I have a lot of sympathy for people who have reviews deleted. As authors we fight hard for those reviews (hopefully genuine reviews). It can be a kick in the nethers if a review vanishes. It hurts.

But we shouldn't automatically assume that a nasty Amazon has robbed us. There could be all sorts of reasons why that review has gone.

It is going to take a while to clean up the review/ rating system. There will almost certainly be some genuine reviews lost as a result. But the end result will be worth it. Readers will buy more books from indie writers if they trust the ratings and reviews more. And the only way to achieve that is to get rid of the dishonest reviews.


message 42: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 19, 2015 03:16PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Will wrote: "...In the absence of any evidence, you have decided that Amazon is doing something wrong. I don't know how you have reached this conclusion.
..."


Please don't speak for me.

No, I am not saying Amazon has done anything wrong. I'm not even objecting to almost anything they want to try to crack down on fraudulent reviews pretending to be just from a reader. I do object to the notion that being a fan of an author (or just following them on social media platforms) is a good reason for it -- I have no idea if that's what's going on or not but do think their public statements prove that is one reason they will remove a review; I think it proves that while you interpret it differently and were asking for proof repeatedly so I suggested you ask Amazon to clarify the statement for you without asking about a specific case.

I don't think Amazon has necessarily done anything wrong. Even if they have removed some reviews for the wrong reasons or for bad data -- I think that's a small price to pay to stomp out reviews that are committing consumer fraud (if only by not disclosing connections not readily apparent to general public). I can empathize that the "small price" in terms of all the book reviews on Amazon is not such a small price for the author who lost book reviews, but, I have no problem with it and don't think it's wrong.

I do, however, think and said it is wrong for a review to be removed just because someone fanned/followed/friended/liked an author on social media platforms or persistently reviewed them. It's ridiculous to expect a fan of the author not to buy their books and maybe even review them or to expect someone who raved and 5-starred an author's previous works wouldn't also rave about newer works -- I have no idea if Amazon is doing that, if original poster had that done to them or if the removed review was that. The OP has my every sympathy if that's what happened--I have zero proof either way and haven't decided if OP is right or wrong about the review removal reasons (I have doubts based on why author rather than purportedly random stranger reviewing the book is posting about it who could share screenshots of communications received from Amazon regarding the review removal).

Someone being a "fan" is no valid reason for deleting their review. Most prolific readers and reviewers do have authors they love to read. Which isn't the same as saying Amazon did something wrong, author did something wrong, reviewer did something wrong, who I did or did not believe.

I'm personally inclined to take the exact opposite side of any author review complaints just based on past experience. No offense to original poster, but authors are often complaining about reviews and every previous instance I've known about that an author complained about review removal it's never turned out to be for the reasons claimed.

I just don't think this thread has provided proof either way. Or that you would believe proof on either side that was posted on this thread from random goodreads members (authors or not).

I do read the repeatedly quoted Amazon statement as meaning reviews could be removed if someone deemed a fan/connection of author.


message 43: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Oct 19, 2015 03:22PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Slightly off topic but:

I sincerely hope any author engaging in review exchanges aren't trying to post those undisclosed in with consumer reviews. Nevermind that Amazon policy doesn't allow those (possibly allowed quoted in editorial section rather than in with consumer reviews, I'm not positive) -- that's illegal on all U.S. consumer review sites/sections unless the payments (the service of getting a return review for your book however assigned, exchanged, swapped or obtained plus in some cases also getting the reviewed book free for review) are fully disclosed. I suspect goodreads change in policy to no longer allow the review swap/exchange/assign reviews here might be partly due to how few authors bothered with the legally required disclosures even when it was allowed...

If anyone spots reviews that are the results of those author exchange requests, you can at least "flag" to goodreads attention (or "report" to Amazon is if on their site) even if not bothering complaining to FTC for not disclosing. Other book sites will have their own policies but if they are a U.S. site and allowing the review-for-review ones to mix in with consumer reviews then the disclosures are still legally required.


message 44: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments We are going round in circles. What public statements by Amazon have you seen where they say that they will remove reviews solely on the basis of someone being a fan of an author?


message 45: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 50 comments Shawn wrote: "We encourage authors to continue to build their network and community as they normally would. This will not impact customer reviews."

This is written in plain English. If that isn't clear enough, it will never be. So why are we still arguing about fan reviews being removed?

Enough said.


message 46: by S. (last edited Dec 23, 2015 03:14PM) (new)

S. Rivera (sjacksonrivera) | 28 comments They don't really care if the reviewer knows you or not. This as an attempt to drive us all to pay for Amazon's advertising. It will be the only avenue we have left as indies for promoting our books. If they really took a second to think it through, they'd realized how stupid they are being. If we don't sell books, they don't sell books.

If it wasn't for the money they are hoping to gain by leaving us no choice but to advertise with them, they could handle this review issue with a disclaimer:

"Amazon has reason to suspect this reviewer may know the author."

Simple as that.


message 47: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments The problem with a disclaimer is that Amazon would be opening the door for lots of "friend and family" reviews. It suggests that it's okay to have fake or untrustworthy reviews as long as there is a disclaimer. That would be like Burger King selling a quarter pounder with the disclaimer "may contain pieces of broken glass".

I don't see that Amazon are trying to drive authors to their advertising services. There are plenty of other advertising services out there which Amazon allow us to use.

The only thing they are cracking down on are fake or fraudulent reviews. These reviews hurt book sales because readers don't know which reviews to believe. Amazon's logic is "more honest reviews = more book sales".

And surely all authors ought to applaud that?


message 48: by Suzette (new)

Suzette Hollingsworth | 253 comments I understand your point, Will. But, heh, my Mom's review of my book was deleted, and, believe me, it was one of the few nice things she has said to me in 56 years. I can assure you, if my mother had NOT liked my book, she would have said so! (as she has with everything else). As it so happens, she has a masters in music and is qualified to review "The Serenade", about an opera singer. I think the relevant point is (1) did the reviewer actually read your book? (2) did they give their honest opinion? If the answer is "yes" to both, they should be able to post a review. On another note, I just received a 1-star review on my book "Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Sword Princess" and the reviewer said my book made him want to throw up. I realize this is a masterpiece of literary assessment, but I guarantee that Amazon will not remove this review even though the book is a finalist in the 2015 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem awards. So, if the reviewer knows me, the review is gone (even if he read my book). If the reviewer is a troll who is personally attacking the author and not making a single point about the book's content, the review will stay. There is actually more evidence to support a relationship when the review is a personal attack. If you're going to leave one review up, leave them all up and let the reader decide.


message 49: by La-Lionne (new)

La-Lionne | 36 comments Suzette wrote: "I understand your point, Will. But, heh, my Mom's review of my book was deleted, and, believe me, it was one of the few nice things she has said to me in 56 years. I can assure you, if my mother ha..."

I'm sorry, but a reviewer saying that your book made them "want to throw up" is not a personal attack on you, it's an expression on how your book made the reviewer feel (as harsh as it sounds).
Also, you calling a reader "a troll" because of it, and on a public social network at that, won't get you any extra points amongst potential readers.


message 50: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Suzette wrote: "On another note, I just received a 1-star review on my book "Sherlock Holmes & the Case of the Sword Princess" and the reviewer said my book made him want to throw up. I realize this is a masterpiece of literary assessment..."

A reader who leaves a review is not a troll just because your book wasn't to their taste. Saying it created a bodily reaction is NOT a personal attack on you. I would also say it is poor form to call out reviewers and make sarcastic comments about their reviews.

I would suggest if such is your reaction to an honest review (and going by the tone of your post I suspect anything less than a 4 or 5 star would be unacceptable), that you don't read reviews, they are afterall for other readers, not authors.

This is a public forum, many readers frequent these threads and how authors conduct themselves does affect purchasing decisions. For me, as a reader, seeing an author making such comments about a reviewer would certainly stop me from spending my money on their book.


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