While glancing at different blogs on Sunday, I saw a post from fellow author Derek Blass about Amazon removing book reviews from their site. It seems Amazon is pulling reviews by people associated with the author – family, friends and co-workers – or anyone with a financial interest in the product.
My first thought was to wonder how they were determining, which reviews to pull. And based on the blogs and message boards I read, there seems to be no consensus on how they decide which reviews to remove. On the Failure Ahoy! Blog, Ed Robertson mentions that Amazon is looking at “linked accounts” as well as books that are gifted to people in exchange for reviews.
The funny thing is when I read this, I thought it didn’t really apply to me. I only had one review by a family member. This person did buy my short story and reviewed it – giving it four stars and wrote what I thought was a fair and balanced review.
After reading about pulled reviews, I went and checked and the review was there. Then about three hours later, I noticed it was gone. It lasted a full four days on the site before they pulled it. I can only venture to guess that they linked the review as someone who knows the author as my family member posted the review through their own Amazon account, but they used one of the computers at my house to do it. (They only did that because they wanted me to see the review before they posted it and since they were here saw no harm and posting it while at my house instead of waiting until they returned home.)
It wasn’t meant as a bogus review. And honestly if they had posted it from their place of business or their own home, then the review would never have been pulled.
I am not sure how to feel about this. I am annoyed that they pulled it since I need all the reviews I can get. And while Amazon’s guidelines clearly state that anyone with a “financial” interest in the product can’t review it friends, co-workers and most family members don’t have a clear financial interest. Even other indie authors that review books have no financial interest in these books but from what I read today, they too are having their reviews pulled. I went and checked and the few book reviews I have written are still there.
It seems Amazon isn’t offering any explanation for their actions, and they are not employing any set guideline for which reviews to pull. Derek has begun a petition asking Amazon to provide clear guidelines and to alert authors when reviews for their books are pulled. If you are interested, click here to sign his petition.