And In Even More Immediate News

According to Irene Watson, the managing editor at Reader Views, Amazon has made more changes to their reviewing policy. Recently, “they removed Reader Views’ reviews saying ‘We found your reviews to be in violation of our guidelines and have removed them. Because of these violations, we’ve removed your reviewing privileges from your account.’ This happened to Watson despite her reviews being approved by Amazon’s own staff. If you review books for Amazon and wish to keep your full privileges, you might want to check what Amazon’s current policies are.

For me, this probably means I will no longer review books on Amazon’s website and I have to wonder if that’s not their intent. Which is too bad. I appreciated the ability to write about my favorite books, but if anything I say could be removed, why waste my time? What do you think?






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13 Responses to “And In Even More Immediate News”

  1. DWei says:

    Good move Amazon, I'm sure you'll maintain many reviewers with this very classy action.

  2. Natalie Aguirre says:

    That's pretty weird that they have this policy. Makes me wonder about reading the reviews they do allow.

  3. Janet Johnson says:

    That is weird. But I'm with you . . . why waste my time if they'll just cut it?

  4. Yvonne Osborne says:

    What are their guidelines? You can't say anything derogatory? I will probably not waste my time either.

  5. Victoria Dixon says:

    That was my thinking as well, DWei and Janet. Why bother? I can fill in the little radial buttons saying what genres and niches I think the book fills and leave it at that.

    The weird thing is, this is an about face policy, Natalie. However, Amazon has done a lot of changing recently and I wonder where this new policy points them.

    Yvonne, THAT's the weird thing. They've NEVER disallowed derogatory – even licentious reviews – and if you happened to see my quote of an interview with Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, on the book doctor's page last week, you'll see he said: "our point of view is [that] we will sell more if we help people make purchasing decisions."

    Quite the irony, ne c'est pas?

  6. Cat Woods says:

    Ouch. Reviews that are filtered?

    I mean, I get that sometimes people deliberately abuse the system to make themselves look better (high school lunch room, anyone?), but if readers can't get a well-rounded look at what is being said, we can't even make the decision on which reviews to ponder, which ones to trust and which ones to dismiss.

    It smells suspiciously like censorship to me.

  7. Victoria Dixon says:

    Yeah, I've seen some of them and thought it would be nice if authors could challenge reviews on individual bases, but I know how much work that would result in for Amazon. How do you define snark or plain orneriness on the part of reviewers? But this APPEARS to go beyond that. I am trying to reach Amazon so I can read their review guidelines. They're not easy to find on the website.

  8. Steve Bailey says:

    Curse you Amazon… just wait till you see the review of you Im working on!

  9. Victoria Dixon says:

    I decided I wasn't being entirely fair to Amazon, so I went and looked up their guidelines and they're obvious and straightforward:
    The upload, download, or transmission of any Content that would violate, or would facilitate the violation of, any applicable law, regulation, or rule or policy
    The upload, download, or transmission of any Content that infringes the intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights of others, including, without limitation, copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secrets
    The upload, download, or transmission of any Content that is unlawful, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, indecent, lewd, harassing, threatening, harmful, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive, inflammatory, or otherwise objectionable
    The upload, download, or transmission of any harmful Content, including, without limitation, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time bombs, cancelbots, or any other computer programming routines that may damage, interfere with, surreptitiously intercept, or expropriate any system, program, data, or personal information
    The upload, download, or transmission of any Content offering or disseminating fraudulent goods, services, schemes, or promotions (e.g., make-money-fast schemes, chain letters, pyramid schemes)
    The upload, download, or transmission of any domain names, URLs, or hyperlinks
    The use of the Service for commercial purposes such as advertising, promotion, or solicitation
    The impersonation of any person or entity or forging of any e-mail communication or any part of a message

    But beware of these little zingers: These Guidelines are not exhaustive. We reserve the right to modify these Guidelines at any time, effective upon posting. And: Any violation of these Guidelines could result in the suspension or termination of your account or such other action as we deem appropriate.

    Apparently if you didn't notice a new rule because you don't hang out on their guidelines page, you can have your account terminated. From what the woman in this situation went through, there is no review process. Do not pass go or try to get your account back.

    Are the guidelines clear and fair? Yes. Is the system that follows them fair or free of bureaucracy? No. Buyer/User beware.

  10. Rachna Chhabria says:

    I was not aware that Amazon had made this change. I tend to read Amazon reviews a lot.

  11. Victoria Dixon says:

    I do, too, Rachna! They can be the most convenient method for finding out what a book's about. Especially if the book's not available at your local library. Sigh.

  12. Margo Berendsen says:

    I wonder if they did that as a result of mean people purposefully leaving cruel one star reviews even if they've never read the book but the book might be competition for their own book or a friend's book.

    Of course that can happen on Goodreads too, which is where I leave all my reviews.

    Its too bad the trolls ruin everything for the rest of us.

    On an unrelated note, I was so happy that you commenting on my blog last week about getting some inspiration from one of the tips I shared!

  13. Victoria Dixon says:

    More than one time, too, Margo! You have great posts!

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