Author Topic: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?  (Read 9081 times)  

Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2016, 01:30:18 pm »
In tumultuous times like these for indies, I'm certainly glad that kboards exists.


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    Offline H.M. Ward

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #26 on: February 25, 2016, 01:31:50 pm »
    There you go! The answer in a nutshell why reviews are being removed: The reviewers/bloggers have affiliate accounts and collect $$ for click throughs from their sites.

    Mine aren't using affiliate links. Both of the women that got banned this week didn't even have a website. They weren't bloggers. They were soccer moms and this was a hobby--they read and review books.

    I read the article posted on the last page as well. These people post several book reviews each week, not much else, and they were also verified purchases (approx 1/2 of the group I'm talking to). I can verify, I recognize who's account is who's on Amazon. I track my reviewers, mainly to see where the point of diminishing returns is within a select series. When I start losing the die hards I know I've found it. Which makes it easy to see their reviews disappearing.

    No links, no promos, no promos, verified purchases from long time buyers...one account per household. If they were in a dorm, that could be an issue. They'd all have the same IP address. :/ They're not.
    « Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 01:47:03 pm by H.M. Ward »
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    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #27 on: February 25, 2016, 02:42:04 pm »
    I have a (crackpot) theory:

    Amazon is treating reviews in the same manner as Google treats incoming links, specifically with regard to the pace at which they accrue.

    Google has used link velocity as a ranking factor since at least 2012. Massive changes in link velocity can result in a ranking penalty for the site receiving the links. Essentially, if a site receives 10 new links a week during the first six months of its existence and receives 1,000 new links during the first week of the seventh month, Google assumes something hokey is going on. (It's assumed Google takes into account sudden bursts in publicity, such as appearing on Shark Tank.)

    Amazon might be "adjusting" its review system to effect a similar outcome.

    A book that has received five reviews a month for the past six months, and suddenly receives 100 reviews during the seventh month, sends up a red flag. Amazon would then (presumably) check to see whether the book's sales page received a flood of traffic from a particular source, such as BookBub or Facebook ads. If the traffic source is identified, the reviews are allowed to stick. If no such traffic source can be identified, the reviews are set aside for investigation and eventually purged.

    I'm just guessing. Nobody knows nothin' at this point.

    If Amazon is doing something like the above, there are bound to be a ton of false positives while it refines its methodology.
    « Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 02:57:13 pm by Anarchist »
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    Offline Bbates024

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #28 on: February 25, 2016, 02:54:39 pm »
    It's sad if honest reviews are being removed, but we can't get one-star reviews because someone couldn't figure out how to download a book removed.

    Seriously my only review under three stars is from someone that couldn't download the sample...... I asked Amazon about it and they said it was fine, even though it doesn't pertain to the product.

    What are you going to do. :-(

    Offline PJ_Cherubino

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #29 on: February 25, 2016, 03:27:21 pm »
    This sounds like the Review Apocalypse foretold by prophecy.

    "And I saw the final dark horse galloping upon the scammer-ravaged field. Its rider cloaked in inky ribbons of TOS text, it swung its scythe to cut down the wicked and the virtuous alike. The name of the horse was Civil Suit and its rider's name  was Baelzebezos."
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    Offline Anarchist

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #30 on: February 25, 2016, 03:31:19 pm »


    This sounds like the Review Apocalypse foretold by prophecy.

    "And I saw the final dark horse galloping upon the scammer-ravaged field. Its rider cloaked in inky ribbons of TOS text, it swung its scythe to cut down the wicked and the virtuous alike. The name of the horse was Civil Suit and its rider's name  was Baelzebezos."
    - Book of Indie Authors, 33:9-
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

    "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

    Online Alan Petersen

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #31 on: February 25, 2016, 04:18:04 pm »
    Mine aren't using affiliate links. Both of the women that got banned this week didn't even have a website. They weren't bloggers. They were soccer moms and this was a hobby--they read and review books.

    I read the article posted on the last page as well. These people post several book reviews each week, not much else, and they were also verified purchases (approx 1/2 of the group I'm talking to). I can verify, I recognize who's account is who's on Amazon. I track my reviewers, mainly to see where the point of diminishing returns is within a select series. When I start losing the die hards I know I've found it. Which makes it easy to see their reviews disappearing.

    No links, no promos, no promos, verified purchases from long time buyers...one account per household. If they were in a dorm, that could be an issue. They'd all have the same IP address. :/ They're not.

    It appears Amazon is taking a scorched earth approach to try to clean up the mess they created (and have allowed to fester) and unfortunately, innocent people are getting nailed.

    Hopefully, once Amazon figures out to get the bad one out, they'll reinstate the good ones they've booted.
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    Offline Mystery Maven

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #32 on: February 25, 2016, 04:32:29 pm »
    Maybe this is a stupid question, but how does Amazon know whether someone is your Facebook friend or follower? Are they tracking based on the e-mail address connected to your KDP account being the same one connected to your FB? Or is it the e-mail address your Author Central account is created under?

    I have several pen names. Let's say one is John Smith. How does Amazon know which John Smith on Facebook is that pen name's page? Are they searching for the content of the page, looking for every author's pages? Are they tracking where my affiliate links are posted?

    My affiliate account and my KDP account are under the same e-mail, which is different from any of my Facebook accounts. Which are different than my Author Central accounts

    So how am I losing reviews, which came organically, if this is based on social media connections?

    I don't know which reviews are gone, but I do know this: The most bogus-looking reviews are still there. I have a few reviews on each pen name that say "Amazing product!" or something idiotic like that. I've reported several of them to Amazon myself because I hate the way it makes my reviews look smarmy. I never solicited or paid for reviews. I don't exchange reviews, anything. Yet there they are, and there they stay, in spite of the purge.

    Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #33 on: February 25, 2016, 04:39:54 pm »
    I've lost a few also, but not many. I keep checking to see if any of the reviews they removed were from the people who were on another website claiming they never read my book and never would, but I have a feeling they're only going after the 4 and 5 star reviews.

    Offline ronesa_aveela

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #34 on: February 25, 2016, 04:50:53 pm »
    This has been happening a lot. The following link is a petition that was sent to Amazon several months ago to revise their "Know the Author Policy."

    https://www.change.org/p/amazon-com-amazon-change-the-you-know-this-author-policy

    It was completely ignored. It appears that even the concerns of more than 15,000 (at that time) authors and readers was a drop in the bucket for Amazon. Maybe it would have to be ten times that amount before they would take notice.

    Offline DarkScribe

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #35 on: February 25, 2016, 05:03:20 pm »
    Within the past few days I started hearing from dozens of reviewers who are having their reviews removed. It started with a few here and there, and then Amazon issued a violation of their ToS form letter, without further explanation. This week 3 heavy reviewers were all banned from reviewing further. Before you try to figure out what they did, there was no obvious violation. I've been talking to a group of 3 dozen (not all are my readers) who are having this issue. Many are book bloggers, and others aren't. Verified and unverified purchases were removed. No links, no promo, nothing obvious. The only commonality at this point is the reviews were all for books. Reviews for other products were left intact on several accounts.

    Needless to say, having 100's of reviews wiped was very upsetting for these readers. That was a massive amount of work and something they took pride in. One had nearly 1000 reviews, which are now all gone. Is anyone else hearing about reviews being struck and reviewers getting banned? I'm not really in the blogging/ review community, and was wondering if there's chatter over there? I would have thought they'd be seething about it.

    I am having a different review issue. I do not review every book purchased from Amazon, just those that are either outstanding or appalling. My reviews are generally very specific and in some depth as to why I found the book good or bad.  Lately I have been getting an almost daily "You have purchased this book - could you please provide a review of it?" This used to happen on infrequent occasions, but now it has become so regular as to be annoying. Another issue is that my review ranking has climbed - unusual and unexpected for someone who is only a occasional reviewer. Something is definitely happening regarding Amazon reviews.

    Offline batmansero

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #36 on: February 25, 2016, 11:04:56 pm »
    One of my ARC reviewers contacted me and said she was recently banned from Amazon reviewing. She explained what happened and I just can't understand how it happened. She's offered to post reviews everywhere else though.

    This is kinda worrying...

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #37 on: February 25, 2016, 11:20:58 pm »
    Holly, yes, I've heard from bloggers that their reviews were all removed, including verified purchases, and then they received emails from Amazon banning them from ever being able to review a product on the site again. Most were literally in tears as they love reviewing books and have never done anything that could be considered a violation of the ToS. Something really strange is going on.

    Offline Taking my troll a$$ outta here

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #38 on: February 26, 2016, 05:57:02 am »
    It's very sad if dedicated readers are having their reviews removed. I hope it gets sorted out soon.

    Unfortunately, I get the feeling that amzn might deem these readers to be "professional reviewers" just by dint of the fact that they review so often. This is the only explanation I can think of, which is an extremely unfair one. None of my reviews have been removed, thankfully. But I have just created a FB page and was about to get social.

    I am thinking this as well -- that maybe Amazon is starting to look at street team members, ARC reviewers, and bloggers as "professional" reviewers.  Perhaps reviewers are being flagged based off of sheer number of book reviews, or book review frequency within a certain amount of time, or if a reviewer posts a review to multiple books of the same author. Those would be a few ways they could flag those who they are categorizing as professional reviewers. There doesn't seem to be any other connection.

    I've never had my FB account linked to Amazon, yet this week one of my longtime fans messaged me & told me all her reviews were deleted. She doesn't get ARCs, she's not a blogger, and she buys all my books. She's just a sweet little lady who took a liking to my stuff early on. She said all her book reviews were deleted and only two other reviews were left, which were product reviews.  :-X
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    Offline Lefevre

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #39 on: February 26, 2016, 06:26:30 am »
    Hey Holly, Amazon's review system was severely criticized by the Consumerist a week ago. The Consumerist is an affiliate of Consumer Reports, which is a non-profit organization, which publishes a magazine about consumer products with 7.3 million subscribers. You know how much Jeff Bezos loves the review system. They are clamping down on shady reviewers. Those are the facts.

    http://consumerist.com/2016/02/08/is-amazon-doing-anything-to-fight-latest-wave-of-fake-compensated-reviews/

    That is an interesting article. Thanks for sharing it.
    Lefevre

    Offline lilywhite

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #40 on: February 26, 2016, 06:27:03 am »
    It appears Amazon is taking a scorched earth approach to try to clean up the mess they created (and have allowed to fester) and unfortunately, innocent people are getting nailed.

    Gonna save this so I can just copy/paste it into every thread concerning some ham-handed attempt to fix something the 'zon brought on itself with asinine policies and ignoring the problem for too long. That'll save me some time.

    Offline theaatkinson

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #41 on: February 26, 2016, 06:48:05 am »
    This sounds like the Review Apocalypse foretold by prophecy.

    "And I saw the final dark horse galloping upon the scammer-ravaged field. Its rider cloaked in inky ribbons of TOS text, it swung its scythe to cut down the wicked and the virtuous alike. The name of the horse was Civil Suit and its rider's name  was Baelzebezos."
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    Offline belindaf

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #42 on: February 26, 2016, 07:01:48 am »
    I had one removed from one book which doesn't have a ton of reviews, but I can't pinpoint whose was taken down or why.

    On a personal note, disappearing reviews is frustrating. I buy a lot from Amazon (and not just books) because I've come to trust that I will like higher rated products. Reviews are key in an electronic world where products are intangible.

    I used to write a ton of them (books and products), but am getting to the "why bother?" stage. Given how hard it's been to amass reviews for my novels the past year or two, I don't think I'm alone. As others point out, reviews are a time-consuming, uncompensated labor of love. That Amazon feels it's okay to filter which stay and which go bugs me. Personal connection is a reason to get a review torn down, but one written by someone who admits they've never even read the book can stay? I get that there are two sides to this story, but it's not going to be great if everyone throws up their hands and quits reviewing altogether in the long run.

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #43 on: February 27, 2016, 06:48:16 am »
    I've been reading reviewer comments on Amazon forums and it seems Amazon does not want products reviewed that were obtained for free. They think this manipulates the reviews. So if you provide ARC's or use net galley, you might wanna be careful.

    It seems a lot of the reviewers whose reviews were deleted were notorious Bridezillas and they even say so themselves. They review for coupons.

    It seems Amazon is looking at those who use coupons during the checkout process and those who have bought and given out these coupons to trace and delete review accounts.

    https://www.change.org/p/amazon-com-amazon-put-a-stop-to-amazon-shutting-down-reviewers-accounts
    « Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 07:16:46 am by drno »

    Offline C. Rysalis

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #44 on: February 27, 2016, 06:58:02 am »
    I've been reading reviewer comments on Amazon forums and it seems Amazon does not want products reviewed that were obtained for free. They think this manipulates the reviews. So if you provide ARC's or use net galley, you might wanna be careful.

    If free copies for honest reviews are no longer allowed, they should make an official statement about it.

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    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #45 on: February 27, 2016, 07:54:41 am »
    I just checked, and all my reviews but one have been taken down. This is definitely a new thing.

    ETA: Clarifying -- all the reviews I've written, not the ones I've received.
    « Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 08:03:35 am by Becca Mills »

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    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #46 on: February 27, 2016, 08:01:21 am »
    They also took down all but one the reviews I'd posted under my real name, and those were overwhelmingly not book reviews. Like, I think there were two book reviews in there and maybe a hundred reviews of toddler potties and t-shirts and peppercorns and so forth. So strange.

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #47 on: February 27, 2016, 08:04:09 am »
    Well, Amazon Publishing uses NetGalley and encourages its authors to send out ARCs, so...

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #48 on: February 27, 2016, 08:07:48 am »
    I just checked, and all my reviews but one have been taken down.
    Did you accept free products? Free books?

    Offline Drakon

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    Re: Anyone hearing about Review Issues and Amazon?
    « Reply #49 on: February 27, 2016, 10:04:00 am »
    « Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 10:05:42 am by Drakon »


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