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Amazon.com did a fascinating thing a few days ago: they banned authors from reviewing other authors' books.
http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/?a=167

UPDATE:
My bad. I got the story from The Passive Voice http://www.thepassivevoice.com/01/2013/the-value-of-cover-quotes/#comments, chased the link to David Farland, and passed along his story without verifying it.

Since then, I checked my reviews at Amazon. All are still there, including reviews in my genre.

I note that the comments at The Passive Voice have caught up with the story. Becca Mills's comment gives the best rebuttal.
 

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I think there was a discussion about this recently here and it appeared that Amazon's policy hadn't changed.  The author at the link you posted doesn't give the basis for his premise; I would be surprised if this was something new.  I'll see if I can find the other link.

Betsy
 

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I have great respect for Mr. Farland, but in this case I'm fairly sure he is mistaken.

 

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I was curious about this, as well. I saw the thread on this topic here on KB, and have since read a number of articles online. There are lots of mixed opinions. I would like to find out for sure. I don't have anything published on KDP yet, and I am wondering what will become of the reviews I have written, thus far, once I do publish. If they will pull my reviews, I might as well stop reviewing now and start using that time writing my own novel.  :-\
 

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It would have helped if he had cited the basis for his statement. At any rate, here's the most recent thread about this topic; I would suspect that Mr. McFarland may have read the same source that was the incitement for this thread:
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,137455.0.html

Betsy
 

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Amazon has answered this question a number of times saying that authors are only banned from reviewing books in which they have a financial interest or with which they are in direct competition. They seem to interpret this a bit oddly at times, but it is not a ban on all authors reviewing. If there is anything new out on this topic, I sure haven't seen or heard of it.

ETA: The competition part keeps me from reviewing since not surprisingly I tend to read the genres that I write, not to mention the angry tweets that ensued when I gave a certain author in another genre a rather bad review.
 

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JRTomlin said:
Amazon has answered this question a number of times saying that authors are only banned from reviewing books in which they have a financial interest or with which they are in direct competition. They seem to interpret this a bit oddly at times, but it is not a ban on all authors reviewing. If there is anything new out on this topic, I sure haven't seen or heard of it.
It's a shame that a few bad apples always ruin it for everyone else. Having a book published would not change the way I review another book. Maybe it's just the Libra in me, but I am pretty unbiased most of the time. I know there are a lot of other writers out there who are also unbiased, and who would give fair reviews even if the book was in the same genre.

It is unfortunate, as I suspect many of us write in the same genres we like to read. Imagine that! ::)

So rather than ban all of us from reviewing similar genres, why not just ban the culprits? Oh wait, that would make way too much sense.
 

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vlmain said:
It's a shame that a few bad apples always ruin it for everyone else. Having a book published would not change the way I review another book. Maybe it's just the Libra in me, but I am pretty unbiased most of the time. I know there are a lot of other writers out there who are also unbiased, and who would give fair reviews even if the book was in the same genre.

It is unfortunate, as I suspect many of us write in the same genres we like to read. Imagine that! ::)

So rather than ban all of us from reviewing similar genres, why not just ban the culprits? Oh wait, that would make way too much sense.
This has nothing to do with "bad apples". As far back as I reviewed, the rules have been the same. (ETA: Like a lot of people I didn't pay much attention to them, though, and assumed I could review anything I purchased) The rules that apply to authors apply to anyone who sells on Amazon. If you sell widgets, you are not supposed to review other widget sellers. If you sell tee shirts, you're not supposed to review competing tee shirts. If you sell fantasy novels, you're not supposed to review "competing" fantasies.

I agree that in a way it's too bad, but that widget maker might also point out that he's an expert at widgets so should be allowed to review.
 

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antares said:
Amazon.com did a fascinating thing a few days ago: they banned authors from reviewing other authors' books.
http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/?a=167
This rumor needs to be tied to a chair and have its fingernails painted until it cries uncle and agrees to live the rest of its life as a shut-in.
 

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I'm not sure just banning the culprits (whatever they're culpable of) would be that easy.  If the issue is dishonest reviews, maybe the author really didn't like the book and is being honest and is not someone trying to trash a competitor?  If it's a glowing review, maybe the author really, really, really liked the book and is being honest, not giving a quid-pro-quo review or hoping for one.  How does Amazon know?  I mean, I know they can hear everything we say through the microphones on the Fires, but not everyone has a Fire...

Betsy
 

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vlmain said:
It's a shame that a few bad apples always ruin it for everyone else. Having a book published would not change the way I review another book. Maybe it's just the Libra in me, but I am pretty unbiased most of the time. I know there are a lot of other writers out there who are also unbiased, and who would give fair reviews even if the book was in the same genre.

It is unfortunate, as I suspect many of us write in the same genres we like to read. Imagine that! ::)

So rather than ban all of us from reviewing similar genres, why not just ban the culprits? Oh wait, that would make way too much sense.
So go ahead and review in your genre, then. None of my reviews of fantasy books have been pulled -- probably because they're all positive, so authors haven't complained about them. Whatever bot Amazon has developed to sniff over the reviews is not smart enough to know what genre(s) you write in and match that information up with the genres of the books you're reviewing.

But if you do something lame like trash a book that's a competitor to your book, and the author calls you on it, Amazon will come for you. Seems fair enough to me.
 

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Becca Mills said:
This rumor needs to be tied to a chair and have its fingernails painted until it cries uncle and agrees to live the rest of its life as a shut-in.
I know.

I review books ALL THE TIME. Amazon has never stopped me from reviewing and never sent the nastygram (and they do keep and eye on you and will send nastygrams if you screw up).
 

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I think that the automated sniffing is mostly looking for two things:

- Patterns in reviews. Major publishers hire PR firms to spam a bunch of reviews on major sites. So if Amazon sees fifty names all posting reviews of the same book within a short period of time, the system knows they are probably looking at a PR firm's operation.
- Quid pro quo reviews. Authors who in pairs or in groups tend to all review each others' work in a favorable manner.
 

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JanneCO said:
I review books ALL THE TIME. Amazon has never stopped me from reviewing and never sent the nastygram (and they do keep and eye on you and will send nastygrams if you screw up).
Same here. I'm a regular reviewer of whatever I feel like and have never had a review removed. If I ever do, then I'll get all lathered up over it and decide whether to stop reviewing books, but until then I ignore the speculation and go on my merry way doing whatever makes sense to me.
 

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Becca Mills said:
So go ahead and review in your genre, then. None of my reviews of fantasy books have been pulled -- probably because they're all positive, so authors haven't complained about them. Whatever bot Amazon has developed to sniff over the reviews is not smart enough to know what genre(s) you write in and match that information up with the genres of the books you're reviewing.

But if you do something lame like trash a book that's a competitor to your book, and the author calls you on it, Amazon will come for you. Seems fair enough to me.
That seems to be the case. If I really wanted to review, I would.
 

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" If the issue is dishonest reviews, maybe the author really didn't like the book and is being honest and is not someone trying to trash a competitor? If it's a glowing review, maybe the author really, really, really liked the book and is being honest, not giving a quid-pro-quo review or hoping for one. How does Amazon know?"
Perhaps they consult KB posters.
 
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