Amazon Reviews, an Update

Food for thought from Nicholas C. Rossis today. I’ve even quit tweeting totally generic review requests without links to my books. You know the type: “Love a Book, Leave a Review.” It’s not worth the risk. I’m just hoping enough people enjoy my books to review them all on their own initiative. Meanwhile, I’m looking for other ways to market, something I’ve been bad about to date. Check this post out to be sure you don’t run afoul of the latest rules, and remember to share, too. Thanks, and thanks to Nicholas for such a clear, concise, and informative post. πŸ™‚

Nicholas C. Rossis

Amazon | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: dailyfinance.com

I often write about Amazon reviews, as it is one of the most important aspects of marketing for many people and Amazon seems to keep changing the rules!

Now, Amy Collins of The Book Designer published an update in the form of Frequently Asked Questions. I’m sharing here the most common ones:

Can Anyone post a review on Amazon?

To contribute to Customer Reviews, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months. Promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum.

May I ask people to write a review of my book?

Book authors and publishers may 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. Also, you are allowed to discount your…

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15 thoughts on “Amazon Reviews, an Update

  1. I wondered about Amazon’s ‘rules’ for reviews. They sent me an e-mail, asking me to write a review about my most recent purchase. I did, and it was refused as not following their guidelines! I was totally blown away. I mean, really??? Guidelines for a short paragraph about lightbulbs? Oh well. I guess I won’t be reviewing any of my purchases from now on. Weird doesn’t begin to cover it. Glad to see that I’m not the only one having trouble with Amazon and their review guidelines.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, dear. All that trouble over lightbulbs? Were they thinking you were in cahoots with the Bulb Industry? Seems ridiculous to constantly bombard us with review requests, and then complain when we give them. I get those all the time, too, on everything from make-up to degreasers. GAH. I ignore those name brand requests, but I do take the time to leave a short comment for items that are produced by small businesses, where I think a good review will really help. (I mean, really. Dawn isn’t going to sell more bottles of dishwashing liquid because I say I like it!) πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know. It’s hard to be sure you’re doing the right thing, but Amazon really does have to find ways to thwart the folks who game the system. Readers need to TRUST that the reviews come from real, live folks who enjoyed the books, and not some conglomerate somewhere, selling reviews, or otherwise ruining this for everyone. I just hope they (Amazon) won’t give up on it one day. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the thing, though. They aren’t doing that. They’re deleting reviews from real, live people (who spent the $50 and then some, read the book, and took the time to write an honest review) while leaving up ‘fake’, paid, or obviously suspect reviews. I hear you. They have to do something. I just think they’re going about it in the wrong way. I think it was Barb Taub (???) who said they’re ‘throwing out the baby with the bathwater’. 😦 It’s bad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think it’s a trial and error process, as they constantly try to update their process to work better. I believe they are trying to find the perfect solution, but that’s very difficult to do when the offenders stay one step ahead. It isn’t to Amazon’s advantage to spoil things for writers, after all. It’s just a very difficult problem for them to solve. At least, that’s how I see it, for whatever that’s worth. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as they struggle to keep the system honest. And yes, I’ve lost legitimate reviews, too. (One thing that helps me with that–I copy and save every review to a doc file, just so *I* still have them even if they disappear from my sales page. I enjoy knowing what people liked or didn’t like about my work, so at least I have that record for reference.)

          Liked by 1 person

          • “It isn’t to Amazon’s advantage to spoil things for writers, after all.” Yes. Exactly this. That’s why I don’t understand what they’re doing. I don’t feel like there is any rhyme or reason to their deletions. You are much more forgiving than I. πŸ˜‰ I like that copy and save idea. It’s nice to have them. (Just to bash the jungle a bit more, I think Anne R. Allen said that the reviews are Amazon’s property once they’re up so you technically can’t copy them. *eye roll* It’s gotten so incredibly ridiculous. Really.)

            Liked by 1 person

            • True that they are Amazon’s property, but I’m copying them only for my own pleasure, and unless they are reading this conversation, I’m probably safe. Fingers crossed. I also believe if you want to share a review from Amazon on something like #ShareAReviewDay, as long as you link back to it, and make it clear it’s an Amazon review, you should be okay. I’ve heard nothing about any issues with that. If they take exception to it, I’ll stop doing it, or only share reviews from other places.

              The bottom line is, from what I understand, they have to design brand new algorithms, etc, every time they find new types of abuse, and I have a feeling it’s much more difficult than we might imagine. After all, we’re talking about lots and lots of reviews for over 800,000 books on Kindle alone. Over 32 million overall, I’ve read! 😯 And they have to come up with software that can adapt as every new threat comes up, then apply it to every single book out there.

              The only easy fix that I can even imagine is for them to end the review system altogether, and I don’t think any of us want that. In the meantime, they keep trying, and we keep getting frustrated, and I sure don’t know the answer.

              What I do know is this. If it weren’t for Amazon, I would not have a writing “career” at all, so I’m inclined to be forgiving of a lot of things that aren’t perfect. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I DO understand how frustrating it is. I am always very sad when I lose a review, especially if it was one I especially liked, but I have faith that sooner or later, they’ll hit on something that works better. In the meantime, as long as they don’t use the Nuclear Option, I’ll be happy. Mostly. πŸ™‚

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              • I’m sure you’re safe. πŸ™‚ And sharing them on here is totally fine, I assume. I hear you. I do. And you’re right. I’m just tired of them doing whatever they want just because they can get away with it and they know there’s nothing little fish (like me) can do about it. I’ll just swim away… πŸ™‚ ❀

                Liked by 1 person

                • No need to swim away. You are perfectly entitled to your opinions AND your feelings about it all. It’s very frustrating and confusing. I’m just trying to look at it from the perspective of having such an enormous and vastly unfair problem to deal with. I am VERY angry with the perpetrators of these scams, for sure, but I’m just not sure this is anything that can be easily addressed. If it were, I’m sure Amazon would do it, since again, it’s to their advantage to help us sell books. So, I’m still giving them the benefit of the doubt, that’s all, because why would they shoot themselves in their own feet? That makes no sense, so I have to believe they are trying to resolve it.

                  But I’m well aware that many people see it differently. And I’m a little fish, too, btw. Just an optimistic one, most of the time. But in the long run, it’s out of our hands, and when I know there’s nothing I can contribute to fix a problem, I’d rather try to keep a positive outlook on it all. Otherwise, I’d just give up, and I’m way too stubborn for that. πŸ˜€ (And if I did, it would NOT be a pretty sight. πŸ˜‰ )

                  So, turn around little fish. We’d miss you if you swam very far. πŸ™‚ ❀

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