Has Amazon taken down any of your reviews? If so, I'd love to hear from you.


Last week I started the discussion about the removal of reviews from Amazon. Then, I asked, "Are big publishers worried about Indies?"

I mentioned in the last post that I had forgotten about one very important factor in regard to Amazon reviews. It's not that hard to game the system.

It's a fairly common opinion that big publishers pay for reviews, which is possibly why you see a whole gob of reviews for a big name author on the day of the book launch, mostly positive.

Book reviewers use to get paid, in fact. When Indies start paying for reviews (especially overly-glowing reviews), it becomes somethig else all together. Then there are authors who get their family and friends to write the same kind of review for free. And a few authors go even so far as to slander their competition by posting negative reviews.

What's the result?

Well, reviews not only begin to be less effective, but they also hurt the image of the entire review system, which in Amazon's case hurts their bottom line. When you do that, you get them to respond. How so?

By taking down the fake reviews ... using a computer algorithm. The problem is this: the algorithm's not perfect. It takes down a lot of legitimate reviews, but it wouldn't be cost effective to hire someone or a group of people to analyze every review that gets posted.

When authors ask Amazon about it, not only do they apparantly skip an investigation, providing a blanket response about review policy, but I've even seen anecdotal evidence that the book in question is threatened to be removed from Amazon's catalogue. One possible reason would be Amazon thinks the questioned reviews were indeed fake.

Regardless, I have no doubt that many legitimate reviews are taken down in the name of review integrity. The question is, has Amazon taken it too far? Should they fight fake reviews another way?

I'd love to hear your thoughts about that, and if you have lost reviews from Amazon, either from your own books or your reviews of other books, I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send me an email. I may post some of the comments in an upcoming post, depending on this topic's popularity.