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The Sun God's Heir: Return (Book One)
by Elliott Baker


Kindle Edition published 2017-01-02
Bestseller ranking:

Product Description
For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century Bordeaux two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, steals a life determined to continue a brutal incarnation begun long ago.

Under the guidance of Pharaoh, two brothers grew strong in knowledge and power, one a physician, the other a general. With the pharaoh’s untimely death, a deep hatred blossoms. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. To protect those he loves he must regain the power and knowledge earned in an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies as the memory and power of a lifetime as physician to Pharaoh returns.

Determined to continue a reign of terror that once caused the Nile to run red, Horemheb takes over the life of a young man mortally wo…

Author Topic: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal  (Read 1877 times)  

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« on: June 20, 2018, 05:42:39 AM »
So I've mentioned before that I am a Vine reviewer. How Vine works: Amazon selects items to place in your review queue that you can request. If you request an item, it gets sent to you to review. If you don't, after about a week if nobody else requests it, it gets moved to Vine For All, which is the untargeted queue that any Vine member can select from. There are not always things in the targeted queue, so it isn't unusual (about three or four times a month) to go into the targeted queue and it is empty. And in the past, the message was only:

Quote
Thank you for your participation in Amazon Vine. At this time, there are no products in current inventory targeted to you based on our current targeting system.

So TODAY I check in to review some items I received recently and see if there was anything interesting in the queue. And THIS was the message.

Quote
Thank you for your participation in Amazon Vine. At this time, there are no items available to you in your queue because of one or more of the following:
There are no products in current inventory targeted to you based on our current targeting system. [OK. It happens]
You may not meet our active contribution criteria or performance standards. [Huh. Well, maybe I should check to see if they changed the standards recently]
One of your reviews may have been flagged as inappropriate. [Um, maybe you should let me know which one if this is true?]
We may have identified suspicious activity and are investigating your account. [WTF AMAZON WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT NOW!]

Now don't worry. I was able to review products I already got just fine and select items from the untargeted queue without incident. There is just nothing in my targeted queue currently. But THIS is the new message? Either there is nothing in my queue because there is nothing targeting my demographic OR they suspect me of suspicious activity and I am being investigated? Is this REALLY the general message Amazon wants to send out?
 :o ???

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Offline Nate Hoffelder

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 07:02:36 AM »
Or, the bot had a nervous breakdown and is showing you multiple options from the same bank of responses.
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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 07:09:37 AM »
Such vague messages serve no purpose. Someone whose account is showing suspicious activity should be told immediately what the problem is. If there is no suspicious activity, the message is just offensive.


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Online brkingsolver

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2018, 07:12:09 AM »
It would appear that Amazon's programmers have written four error messages. Obviously, this taxed them to the point where the poor dears are exhausted. To spare them and the bots further work, the decision has been made that instead of trying to determine the reason the queue is empty, they are simply providing all four messages at once and shifting the workload of figuring it out onto you. This is the Micro$oft model of error messaging, to wit: There is an error. Or not.

I used to love the M$ error of "This software has performed an illegal operation" with the attendant implication that you should only be using M$ approved product. As I recall, this message only occurred with M$ products.


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Offline PermaStudent

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 07:25:38 AM »
I wrote a long, ranting post that is now deleted.

Stuff like this dovetails with all the great news stories about account closures, and it's the reason I no longer leave reviews or buy things I might need to return for fear of being accused.  There's a growing list of products I only buy in brick and mortar stores now.

They aren't really doing themselves any favors by using the phrasing mentioned in the OP.  Amazon needs to get their store in order.
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Offline cadle-sparks

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2018, 07:31:14 AM »
I wrote a long, ranting post that is now deleted.

Stuff like this dovetails with all the great news stories about account closures, and it's the reason I no longer leave reviews or buy things I might need to return for fear of being accused.  There's a growing list of products I only buy in brick and mortar stores now.

They aren't really doing themselves any favors by using the phrasing mentioned in the OP.  Amazon needs to get their store in order.

I went 18 months without using them for this reason and because shipping was taking forever. Now I feel better for helping local people keep their jobs (and where I am, checkers have contracts and good benefits) but admittedly that wasn't my main goal. My mail goal was getting away from using Amazon as a consumer because they are more expensive, have crappy delivery, allow some suppliers to take off legit negative reviews... it's a mess. I suppose it is too big to be anything else.

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 07:38:48 AM »
I think the notice is designed to be helpful. Amazon are letting you know that scrammers have taken over the shop to such an extreme degree that it's a 50/50 shot that anyone reading the notice is a scrammer, otherwise why would you feel the need to list scramming as an option if it wasn't commonplace.

Does Amazon have no awareness how much they give away about the abysmal state of their shop with these messages? If scramming was 1% of transactions then no one would include it in a general purpose notice, the fact they do means it's substantial.

Sheesh, it's comms 101, folks.

Offline Saboth

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 07:42:03 AM »
I think this treatment of customers has really stifled reviews. I think in the past, you might get 1 review per 50-100 DL, but now it seems more like 150-200+ (on Amazon). I recently went wide, and was amazed that on Kobo, I was getting 1 review per 70 DL. I guess Kobo doesn't treat its customers like criminals, causing them to fear leaving a review.

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 07:48:38 AM »
Wow. And here I thought of Vine reviewers as being somewhat elite--they'd put in their review hours, and as such were extended a little recognition for this.

Since Amazon isn't doing it, please accept this instead.

Thank you, Julie. Thanks for all the books you've reviewed, all the slush piles you've waded through, and for supporting other authors on forums. It does matter, and people are really grateful for it. :)

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 07:51:09 AM »
I think the notice is designed to be helpful. Amazon are letting you know that scrammers have taken over the shop to such an extreme degree that it's a 50/50 shot that anyone reading the notice is a scrammer, otherwise why would you feel the need to list scramming as an option if it wasn't commonplace.

Well, to really drive home how ridiculous this is...Vine is an INVITATION ONLY program. That means Amazon already checked you out and decided your reviews are valuable and deliberately invited you into the program. You can't apply to join it.

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Offline Atlantisatheart

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 07:57:39 AM »
Amazon really have you on their naughty list. They're like a dog with a bone.

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2018, 08:01:22 AM »
Well, to really drive home how ridiculous this is...Vine is an INVITATION ONLY program. That means Amazon already checked you out and decided your reviews are valuable and deliberately invited you into the program. You can't apply to join it.

So, they're also throwing into question their own quality assessment methods. Excellent. Sounds like Amazon have everything under control.  :-\

C'mon, Amazon, I'm sure you can get that bar lower...  :P


Offline Gaylord Fancypants

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2018, 08:31:02 AM »
Amazon always acts like form emails are a scarce resource and they can't use any more than absolutely necessary, like Bezos has only alloted them like six for the entire KDP program so they have to be usable in as many situations as possible.
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Offline Piano Player

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2018, 09:37:03 AM »
I got the same message last night, when checking my Vine queue.  First time I've ever gotten it.

And this is the first time I've had an empty queue since being a Vine reviewer for years.

It got me worried, especially since I also tried to request a nice item from the Vine for All queue and got a separate error message that they couldn't process my request.

Finally, in desperation, I selected a book from the Vine for All queue this morning and THAT went through.

My guess is they're having technical difficulties with the Vine program, period.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 10:05:52 AM by Piano Player »

Offline Decon

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2018, 09:37:19 AM »
Being an author, or in this case a publisher and a reviewer, reminds me of the time when I ran bars as a business. It was one of the few occupations where you started work in the morning and worked in fear of transgressing a multitude of laws and rules that could put you out of business, even if it was for the actions of others outside your control. Basically you were expected to act like an unpaid sub-law enforcement officer, but the real police and safety officials when they visited, treated you with disdain, like you were a potential criminal. Maybe that's why things like the subject of the OP is like water off a ducks back and I take it with a shrug.


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Offline aspexin

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2018, 11:51:22 AM »
I was glad to find some other Vine reviewers up here. Since they killed the message boards I've been adrift not knowing other Vine members or where they hang out.

I wouldn't worry too much about this. Yes the wording is strange but I think I had the same verbage last year. But about every year this time of year (early summer) my vine queue is empty for a couple of weeks. The Vine for All still has stuff and I can still select stuff from there but my queue will be empty. I don't know if it is some kind of process, procedure they go through or what. I've been a Vine member for as long as I can remember (I want to say perhaps a decade now?).

I do have a problem with 3 items I've received. I can submit the review but the review never goes through (cat food, oven mitts and napkins). Just maddening because the 3 items are always at the top of my Items Awaiting Review tab and never go away no matter how many times I submit the review for each of them. I'm just stumped with that one.

Anyhow, I'm glad I found fellow Vine members again.

Offline redreplicant

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2018, 12:22:14 PM »
Another Viner here checking in - I was taken aback this morning when I found that message.  I have had zero items on my queue before but never had this type of weird, threatening message.  Glad to see I'm not the only person.  Hopefully it doesn't mean that they're discontinuing the program.

aspexin, I've had good luck emailing about "dead" orders (where I re-write and re-copy my review and it just gets eaten by the internet) and they usually clear it off my list.

Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2018, 12:27:33 PM »
Guilty until proven innocent - but you can't prove innocence because you haven't been told what your crime is  ???.

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2018, 12:36:23 PM »
the number of vine reviewers saying they got the same message certainly suggests it's there in error.

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2018, 04:16:50 PM »
moving this to the 'anything else amazon' board as it's not really an author issue. . .  hang on everyone. :)

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Offline AisFor

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2018, 05:08:33 PM »
"We may have identified suspicious activity and are investigating your account." - WTF...this sounds more than a little Soviet (and my partner who was born in the final days of the Soviet empire agrees). Except we're talking book reviews, rather than the preservation of a deeply corrupt state. I mean, seriously  ::) What Amazon wouldn't give to have listening devices installed in our houses...oh, wait...

Amazon always acts like form emails are a scarce resource and they can't use any more than absolutely necessary, like Bezos has only alloted them like six for the entire KDP program so they have to be usable in as many situations as possible.

 ;D

Being an author, or in this case a publisher and a reviewer, reminds me of the time when I ran bars as a business. It was one of the few occupations where you started work in the morning and worked in fear of transgressing a multitude of laws and rules that could put you out of business, even if it was for the actions of others outside your control. Basically you were expected to act like an unpaid sub-law enforcement officer, but the real police and safety officials when they visited, treated you with disdain, like you were a potential criminal. Maybe that's why things like the subject of the OP is like water off a ducks back and I take it with a shrug.

Makes me wonder if they were in Australia. Working in bars there while I was backpacking ended up being a lot less fun than I expected, due to the threats of punishment constantly hanging over my head, for things I had little control over. I agree with your comparison with Amazon's shenanigans.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 05:10:13 PM by AisFor »

Offline Simply_J

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2018, 05:31:41 PM »
The Queues are being repopulated as I write this.

For the Vine members who would like to keep in touch with others Viners, there is a Goodreads group, this is the URL:

https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/267596-vine

If the link doesn't work just google Goodreads Vine Group. The group is great for support and help in times of crisis, like when one had been purged. 

We knew that some members of the group were seeing this message in theirs queues, so yesterday as most of us got the empty queus, knowing others got the same was a relief.

Offline The Hooded Claw

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2018, 09:00:42 PM »
I guess I missed all the excitement. My queue looks normal. Sounds like a glitch which was fixed after raising the blood pressure of some Viners....

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Offline aspexin

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2018, 06:38:52 AM »
Yup. Just like that the queue is back. And the good news is they must have done some maintenance as the 3 "dead" items in my Items to be Reviewed list are gone! Yay!

Offline SallyPerkin

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Re: Amazon's Policy: Treat Everyone like a criminal
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2018, 10:42:11 PM »
I review only if I have time. Otherwise, don't bother till I have some time again....