Author Topic: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear  (Read 2305 times)  

Offline VirginiaMcClain

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2018, 01:17:04 PM »
Thanks to this thread I just checked and sure enough 3 out of 9 reviews from my second book were pulled overnight. I used the same service that we mentioned that was targeted before (only the first time they only took down one review, and then put it back, and this time they took down 3). Honestly, I'm not upset about it, they were terribly written reviews (all 4 and 5 star, but seemed to me like they had never actually read the book). Still, it's sad to go from 9 reviews to 6 in one fell swoop. Ah well. C'est le Zon. I am about to go wide (I unticked the auto-renew box two weeks ago) so I will just have to suck it up. Meanwhile, I hope going wide will help me get a Bookbub and my tiny-handful-of-reviews problem will fade away. (Fingers, toes, legs, and arms all crossed.) Luckily, for now, all 26 reviews on my first book remain intact.
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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2018, 01:23:59 PM »
Confirmation bias. Yes, a few people who recently went wide are missing reviews--but so are a lot of other people, like me, who are still in Select. It sounds more to me as if Select vs. wide is not the causal factor.

It's worth noting that people leave Select all the time. There must be some every single day. These review scares, however, happen only every once in a while.
Just to be clear Bill, the source outfit that provided a handful of reviewers of the reviews I received across my books were targeted by Amazon twice. Once in November and now again a day ago. So, I assume the checks were thorough enough to satisfy the criteria needed to put them back up again. That being the case, for them to be taken down again appears - funny (in the Sheldon Cooper sense of funny).

It suggests, firstly the action of bots. They don't have memories, unless they are provided with them.
Secondly, and to my point, it suggests the possibility the bots were triggered by a flag going up, when I left Select.

As you point out, there will be a lot of people moving into and out of Select all the time. That would make sense, wouldn't it? Since there are a lot of books being published on Amazon each day. But to that insight also we can fix with the label 'confirmation bias'.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2018, 02:13:44 PM »
Just to be clear Bill, the source outfit that provided a handful of reviewers of the reviews I received across my books were targeted by Amazon twice. Once in November and now again a day ago. So, I assume the checks were thorough enough to satisfy the criteria needed to put them back up again. That being the case, for them to be taken down again appears - funny (in the Sheldon Cooper sense of funny).

It suggests, firstly the action of bots. They don't have memories, unless they are provided with them.
Secondly, and to my point, it suggests the possibility the bots were triggered by a flag going up, when I left Select.

As you point out, there will be a lot of people moving into and out of Select all the time. That would make sense, wouldn't it? Since there are a lot of books being published on Amazon each day. But to that insight also we can fix with the label 'confirmation bias'.
In order to be suffering from confirmation bias, I'd have to had a bias in the first place. :) If everybody here who reported losing reviews was newly departing Select, I might have believed Amazon was targeting people going wide. Instead, we see some people staying with Select and some people leaving targeted at the same time. Conclusion: it isn't going wide that's causing the problem.

I think your other suggestion provides the answer. This wouldn't be the first time bots came through and did something very similar to what Amazon had done before and then fixed. I seem to recall other issues in which a person got an issue solved only to have it recur. I'm just talking about reviews, but about other things as well.


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Offline David Brian

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2018, 07:28:36 PM »
In order to be suffering from confirmation bias, I'd have to had a bias in the first place. :) If everybody here who reported losing reviews was newly departing Select, I might have believed Amazon was targeting people going wide. Instead, we see some people staying with Select and some people leaving targeted at the same time. Conclusion: it isn't going wide that's causing the problem.

I think your other suggestion provides the answer. This wouldn't be the first time bots came through and did something very similar to what Amazon had done before and then fixed. I seem to recall other issues in which a person got an issue solved only to have it recur. I'm just talking about reviews, but about other things as well.

I agree with you, Bill. It has nothing to do with being in/out of Select. Two of my reviews vanished from books that are all in, while the third disappeared from a book which is wide.


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Offline Gabriella West

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2018, 07:51:54 PM »
Lost two and my Book's in Select...

They're also Hidden Gems reviews. Not sure which ones, so there's little point fussing about it. They may be back.

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Offline Rick Partlow

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2018, 04:35:32 AM »
I lost five altogether yesterday, if you include one on an anthology I'm in.  All my books are in Select.

Offline RTW

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2018, 06:37:19 AM »
As of the last time I looked--late last night--I'd lost a total of 10 reviews over 3 books. Very disheartening. The book that lost 4 reviews had its rating go to 3.9 because, of course, all the lost reviews were 4- and 5-star ones.

ETA: All the books are in Select.


Offline Allyson J.

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2018, 08:07:20 AM »
I lost some reviews on KU books overnight, too. I don't use an ARC service. As far as I know, these were legit organic reviews. Bummer. It's getting hard to get reviews, much less keep them.

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Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2018, 08:29:43 AM »
If they were smart (yeah, this is Amazon, I know it's whistling in the dark) they'd pull book reviews/ratings from Goodreads and movie reviews/ratings from IMDB. Easy since they already own both, and it would cut down a lot of the headaches and game-playing that goes on with Amazon reviews for those products. Whatever they're doing now sucks, because my reviews have gone off a cliff since last May. If this keeps up much longer it's going to start getting very, very difficult to get any of the decent promos.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2018, 08:56:17 AM »
If they were smart (yeah, this is Amazon, I know it's whistling in the dark) they'd pull book reviews/ratings from Goodreads and movie reviews/ratings from IMDB. Easy since they already own both, and it would cut down a lot of the headaches and game-playing that goes on with Amazon reviews for those products. Whatever they're doing now sucks, because my reviews have gone off a cliff since last May. If this keeps up much longer it's going to start getting very, very difficult to get any of the decent promos.
Ironically, Kobo used to have an agreement with Goodreads to pull reviews before Amazon bought Goodreads.

Unfortunately, if Goodreads and IMDB reviews became more important to Amazon purchasers, I'm afraid more people would start to game them.

Part of me wishes Amazon would just do away with reviews on creative products. Other products have certain objective variables that can be reviewed, but things like books and movies are largely a matter of taste. Sure, a really amateurish product would probably get mostly bad reviews, and a really brilliant one would probably get mostly good ones, but hardly any product that gets enough sales to generate a large mass of reviews doesn't have some five-star reviews and some one-star reviews. What one person likes, another may not. In looking at the reviews for my own books, not only do I see those kinds of splits (and it doesn't matter whether the reviews are from an ARC service or are organic), but I also see people disagreeing even on specific aspects of the books. Features one reader hates, another reader loves.

In the old days, when I used to spend a lot of time browsing in bookstores, I wasn't surrounded by what other people thought about books (or pretending to think about them, in the case of gaming the system). I didn't need to be drowned in the opinions of others to make a decision. I looked at the cover, read the back of the book, and thumbed through it a bit. I bought what looked good, and I was seldom disappointed.

The truth is that unless a reviewer has the same tastes I do, what that reviewer thought of a book may or may not be what I'd think about it. Most Amazon reviews have too little detail for me to tell what a reviewer's tastes are. Helpful votes don't help because they are typically given by people who assume the review reflects their own tastes--without knowing whether it does or not. (People would have to read the book to know.)

End of rant.  :P


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Offline Shelley K

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2018, 09:03:35 AM »
Reviews that disappear sometimes come back. Sometimes the poster had all their reviews pulled because patterns have told the mighty Zon that they're not legit, correctly or not. For me, worrying about this is one of things that falls into the 80% category of activities, because I can't control the outcome. It's irritating, to be sure.

Offline Martitalbott

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2018, 01:55:09 PM »
Lost another review today. That makes six than I know of, but with so many books I haven't really kept track. At the same time, there's a new feature under my earthquake book with links to "read reviews that mention" followed by several keywords. Isn't that new or am I crazy? Things often get screwed up with they introduce something new.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2018, 01:58:38 PM »
I know this would never happen, but I like the idea of the bestseller lists in the Kindle Store displaying the number of sales or even just views (or both!) beneath each book cover instead of a star rating and displaying the number of reviews. I like the idea of being shown where the action is with a more objective measure.

It would be kind of similar to Kboards or Reddit, where you can see what someone's posted, and then beneath it or beside it you see how many people have viewed/commented. Usually, I'm drawn to subjects where there's a lot of action, and I doubt I'm alone in that.

Reminds me of when I used to work retail and also in the service industry and you'd have customers waltz in near closing time and you just cringed because you knew passersby would see people in our store/restaurant and would be enticed to come in as well. Then you'd have to stay later than usual cleaning up, cursing under your breath about how we're all just a bunch of lemmings.  ;D

But, we really are - people see a crowd and they think 'oh, there must really be something special going on over there, I should take a look'...same applies to books. It's that herd mentality we humans fall into.

Sure, star ratings and reviews serve a similar purpose - they lead the masses through the gates and into the corral - but I don't like the potential for review/rating game-ability and while reviews and star ratings are subjective, views and sales are not.

I know, I know, I'm engaging in some serious wishful thinking here - but I still love the idea. Get on it, Bezos!  8)

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Offline Hope

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2018, 09:28:46 PM »
I lost 7 reviews and have 11 books. That's just over 10% of my total reviews.  :( I don't do arcs and have no contact with reviewers. I'm in KU.

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2018, 03:58:34 AM »
The long and short of it is reviews have pull. Amazon understands this. That is why they pay so much attention to reviews.

The reviews represent a way for readers to interact with other readers. To feel they are part of a community of sorts. Arguably Goodreads fills that need. What reviews do for Amazon is form a feedback system from the hive mind, if you like. In the end, its all about sales. So far as reviews go, that's it. Sales.

Reviews offers a measure for readers, for promoters, and I guess for Amazon. So there's the reason they keep them in check.

Honestly, bots don't do the review check well. Living, experienced eyes on the page would do far better. That's my opinion.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2018, 06:07:40 AM »
Reviews that disappear sometimes come back. Sometimes the poster had all their reviews pulled because patterns have told the mighty Zon that they're not legit, correctly or not. For me, worrying about this is one of things that falls into the 80% category of activities, because I can't control the outcome. It's irritating, to be sure.
At the risk of jinxing myself, my missing reviews were back this morning. This could suggest what is happening is a glitch and that Amazon may be in the process of fixing it.


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2018, 06:10:19 AM »
Honestly, bots don't do the review check well. Living, experienced eyes on the page would do far better. That's my opinion.
Truer words were never spoken. Amazon's goal--to get rid of fake reviews--is admirable. I'm not sure a bot can be programmed to do that. Sadly, I'm even surer Amazon isn't going to hire real humans to do it.
 


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Offline RTW

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2018, 06:20:35 AM »
At the risk of jinxing myself, my missing reviews were back this morning. This could suggest what is happening is a glitch and that Amazon may be in the process of fixing it.

Bill--Thanks for posting this! I just looked and my reviews all reappeared as well. Cheered me up.


Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2018, 07:50:54 AM »
Bill--Thanks for posting this! I just looked and my reviews all reappeared as well. Cheered me up.
My new rule is to not freak about vanishing reviews until at least a week has passed. This is at least the third time I've had reviews disappear, only to reappear later.


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Offline BillyDeCarlo

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2018, 06:36:43 AM »
My new rule is to not freak about vanishing reviews until at least a week has passed. This is at least the third time I've had reviews disappear, only to reappear later.

I'd add that I think it's important to let Amazon know immediately though. Perhaps getting messages from all of us pushing back is what led to the reviews being returned. if we sit back and wait a week, it might not happen. Thanks for all of your help and guidance here Bill, on this issue and so many more.


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Offline VirginiaMcClain

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2018, 08:50:01 PM »
Bill--Thanks for posting this! I just looked and my reviews all reappeared as well. Cheered me up.
Mine are back too.

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Offline Rick Partlow

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Re: Went wide and reviews begin to disappear
« Reply #46 on: February 26, 2018, 04:13:54 AM »
None of mine have returned.