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Other "Serious" Stuff > Amazon Review Policy Change

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message 1: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 527 comments OK, totally nicking this post from a group I'm in, but it contains some important information.

Don't panic just yet. But this is looming and may affect our blogger friends who get a free copy in exchange for an honest review....

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Amazon has posted a new set of guidelines regarding companies providing free product in return for reviews.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custom...

One peer review group on goodreads has already shut up shop overnight due to fears about this.https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

I have sought clarification from amazon but the guidelines specifically refer to 'free' product given by the publisher/author. Free ARC's are not affected.

The guidelines also state that reviews that involve an author posting a positive review about a peer's book in exchange for receiving a positive review from the peer are not allowed.
This is not what we do here. we don't do reciprocal reviews and we don't guarantee star ratings.
I'd suggest to members that they avoid using the disclaimer that they received a free copy in exchange/return for a review in their reviews. It is the 'in exchange for a review' that is the problem, not the free copy. You can still add that if you wish.

it may be that we will have to change the rules of the group to only include books enrolled in KU so the books are borrowed or are bought by the reviewer. I'm seeking clarification at the moment.

As for now, everything goes ahead as normal.

Don't panic!
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(borrowed from https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...)


message 2: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (theviolentvixen) | 48 comments Eek! I need to look into things more, but this part:

"Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review."

This is what's going to do serious harm to reviewers. FTC regulations require that "I received this in exchange for a review" disclosure. I mean, sure, they haven't really been enforcing it too much up to this point, but if hundreds or even thousands of reviewers who have been including that in their reviews all of a sudden stop, the FTC might decide to slap some fines on reviewers to line their own pockets.


message 3: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 527 comments It is a bit worrying.
Apparently ARC copies are still OK. And I've already seen one request for genre specific ARC groups to be set up on GR. That would be awesome.


message 4: by Kathy (last edited Oct 06, 2016 05:10AM) (new)

Kathy Golden | 96 comments One group has decided to offer free books and then leave it up to the people receiving them as to whether or not they post a review. This is probably the best way to leave the door open for reviews and be in compliance with the new rules. One thing to keep an eye on is what the paid services will be doing in response to this rule. I didn't see any updates on Net Galley, which charges a minimum of $349 to get ARCs on their site. They offer other promotional services. So I'm going to keep checking to see what these sites will be saying and doing. There are many sites out there that give bloggers free copies in exchange for a review.

As far as I know, any reviews posted from now on saying a free copy was received in exchange for a review or even that a free copy was received will be deleted. So really, if a person accepts a free copy, the best strategy is to ask them to consider a review but that one is not mandatory. They should also be asked not to post that it was a free copy because I don't think a distinction will be made by Amazon that the copy wasn't in exchange for a review.

Plus, if a person buys the book, then no one can say the review was in exchange for a free copy. So when authors have their specials, they can share them, in case someone wants to buy the book while it's on sale.

It's interesting how books in Kindle Unlimited won't be affected by this new rule because a person can read and review as many books as they like through their subscription. At $10 a month, after you read about three to four books, all the others are basically free books. Good thing, the authors still get paid for page-reads.


message 5: by Courtney (new)

Courtney (theviolentvixen) | 48 comments Kathy wrote: "As far as I know, any reviews posted from now on saying a free copy was received in exchange for a review or even that a free copy was received will be deleted."

This is the issue, at least for those of us in the US. The FTC can, and has, fine bloggers for failing to disclose "the nature of [their] relationship" with whomever gave them the product. Usually, they go after the advertiser/manufacturer/whomever provided the product (so in the case of books, they would more likely go after the author or publisher). At the very least, disclosures must state that a product was given to the reviewer. So if even that much, just stating that a "free copy was received" will be deleted by Amazon, it leaves both reviewers and the authors providing those copies on dangerous ground.

So here in the US, this is a MAJOR bump in the road.


message 6: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
Amazon is really cracking down on all sorts of things, eh? There are some other changes in terms of minimum spent before you can leave a review too...

*sigh*


message 7: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 527 comments Yeah.

It's probably just my extreme paranoia, but it feels like the mighty A are happy to take loads of money from us but make it as difficult as possible for us to make ourselves noticed on their site/s.

Try being a UK person using it.
To get onto their Audible scheme you have to try to get an unobtainable magical ITIN number from the tax office :(

(*sigh*)


message 8: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe I guess you could send a free copy of your book as a gift to bloggers without asking them to consider reviewing it, and then if they decide to review they are just writing a review of an item they received as a gift

Has anyone sent a query to amazon asking for clarification? I might go and do this now


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

TL Clark (author of love) wrote: "Yeah.

It's probably just my extreme paranoia, but it feels like the mighty A are happy to take loads of money from us but make it as difficult as possible for us to make ourselves noticed on thei..."


In Canada there is no such option

We can't use Audible


message 10: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe I sent an email to amazon asking about this, so I will let you know what they say when I hear back from them


message 11: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
@Miss Roxana: Yeah, if us Canucks weren't so darn friendly, people would actually give us options, eh? ^_~

@Princess Jane: Thank you! I was gonna do this tonight hahahaha!!

Hugsss,
Ann


message 12: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe Annie wrote: "@Miss Roxana: Yeah, if us Canucks weren't so darn friendly, people would actually give us options, eh? ^_~

@Princess Jane: Thank you! I was gonna do this tonight hahahaha!!

Hugsss,
Ann"


Since people are talking about it now I HAVE to know the details!!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Annie wrote: "@Miss Roxana: Yeah, if us Canucks weren't so darn friendly, people would actually give us options, eh? ^_~

@Princess Jane: Thank you! I was gonna do this tonight hahahaha!!

Hugsss,
Ann"


You're probably right.


message 14: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe Okay, I contacted amazon on this issue, and they say that as long as you do not REQUIRE a review from someone you are free to send them a free copy of your book.

If anyone wants a copy of the email for their records then PM me for my email address!


message 15: by Annie, The Mistress (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 2365 comments Mod
Thank you for asking, Princess Jane!

I don't feel like it's much different than now. I mean, I've provided copies "for review" that have never been reviewed and I never inquire about it. Whatevs, eh?

The only thing that I can see being an issue is all of our awesome book bloggers who accept review requests. That's a free book in exchange for a review (which they are forced to disclose anyway) so I reckon that might get a tiny bit sticky. But then again, we even have in our own policy that a reviewer can choose not to write a review for any reason sooo...

*ponders*

Hugsss,
Ann


message 16: by Jane (new)

Jane Blythe Annie wrote: "Thank you for asking, Princess Jane!

I don't feel like it's much different than now. I mean, I've provided copies "for review" that have never been reviewed and I never inquire about it. Whatevs,..."


I think so long as they receive books but make it clear to the author who sends them that they may or may not review them, then they are fine. And in that case they did not receive a free copy of a book in exchange for an honest review, they just received a free book, which they then chose to review, more like reviewing a gift


message 17: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Locker | 183 comments Amazon is also still allowing free ARC reviews.


message 18: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Golden | 96 comments The best way to keep a review from being deleted is not to say it was a freebie in exchange for a review since that's no longer the case.


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