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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I dunno, maybe "ethical" isn't the right word, but whatever.

Anyway, I got my first one star review on Amazon for the first book in my YA series (it's not my first poor review, it just the first one star on Amazon) and that's fine as it goes. I mean, we all get 'em, I'm not upset about it. And if it was just someone posting that they didn't enjoy the book I really wouldn't give it a second thought, so please, no responses about how I've joined the club or whatever.

What got me about the review was this line: "I guess the only problem here, this coming from another writer of the same genre, is to go through and edit it. Otherwise, good story." Didn't the Zon come down and say "no more" to authors/writers posting review of any books, not just our own genres? It irks me in that "they left me a bad review but boosted their own rep in doing so" sort of way. I feel like I should report it because of the harsher ToS about posting reviews when you're a writer but I don't want to be all sour grapes about it.

I guess I'm just surprised someone was that bold about stating they're a writer of the same genre when so many of us choose not to do that for fear of retribution.
 

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Well, I’ve been posting reviews on my website and on Amazon when any book I read is worthy of 3-stars. However, I don’t think it is right to throw out the – “I’m and author, writer, English teacher, etc.” card on anyone’s review. A truly honest review deals with the level of joy and entertainment a person received from the material – not a comparison to one’s own work.

As we all know – we are all bias to our OWN work.

As for the this new TOS – anyone got a link?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ironspike said:
Well, I've been posting reviews on my website and on Amazon when any book I read is worthy of 3-stars. However, I don't think it is right to throw out the - "I'm and author, writer, English teacher, etc." card on anyone's review. A truly honest review deals with the level of joy and entertainment a person received from the material - not a comparison to one's own work.

As we all know - we are all bias to our OWN work.

As for the this new TOS - anyone got a link?
Agreed.

Here is the link to the Amazon policy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_16465311_guidelines?nodeId=16465311#reviewguidelines

When you scroll you find the line: "Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)" under "WHATS NOT ALLOWED" And recently they've been going through and deleting any reviews from authors posted on other books claiming all books are "competing products" to our own books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
George Ellis said:
I have to agree it was pretty bold of the reviewer to mention that fact. In fact, I don't like reviews that mention that the reviewer is also a writer, etc. Whenever I come across those reviews, I immediately stop reading and move on to the next one. But I'm confused by the one-star rating. Besides the editing issues which the reviewer had some problems with, he/she obviously enjoyed the book. If it were me, I would have slashed one star away for editing errors and given a three-star or a four-star rating for the overall story of the book.
I like you, George; you're my kind of reviewer ;D
 

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ShaunaG said:
What got me about the review was this line: "I guess the only problem here, this coming from another writer of the same genre, is to go through and edit it. Otherwise, good story." Didn't the Zon come down and say "no more" to authors/writers posting review of any books, not just our own genres? It irks me in that "they left me a bad review but boosted their own rep in doing so" sort of way. I feel like I should report it because of the harsher ToS about posting reviews when you're a writer but I don't want to be all sour grapes about it.

I guess I'm just surprised someone was that bold about stating they're a writer of the same genre when so many of us choose not to do that for fear of retribution.
Considering that I've stopped reviewing on Amazon and enjoyed reading Earth? Yes. I think the reviewer overstepped in order to put her name out there... (there she was, waving like a fiend... "writer of the same genre")

You've so many excellent reviews. Focus on them. ;D

~ Aithne
 

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It is against Amazon's TOS for that person to have done that. I'm guessing they're unaware of the conflict of interest, or they wouldn't have stated such.

It is not unethical for you to report it and hope maybe Amazon takes it down. Nor is it unethical for anyone on this thread to do the same.

It would be unethical to assemble a mob with pitchforks.  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
AithneJarretta said:
Considering that I've stopped reviewing on Amazon and enjoyed reading Earth? Yes. I think the reviewer overstepped in order to put her name out there... (there she was, waving like a fiend... "writer of the same genre")

You've so many excellent reviews. Focus on them. ;D

~ Aithne
Thanks Aithne! ;D
 

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It is not against Amazon's policy for authors to post reviews of books.  I have plenty of them posted without problems.  What is against their policy, which this review clearly does by the way, is to post information leading people to your own books , aka, self-promotion.  So it should be reported for that reason, not because the person is an author but because he/she is promoting himself/herself as one.

 

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ellecasey said:
It is not against Amazon's policy for authors to post reviews of books. I have plenty of them posted without problems. What is against their policy, which this review clearly does by the way, is to post information leading people to your own books , aka, self-promotion. So it should be reported for that reason, not because the person is an author but because he/she is promoting himself/herself as one.
Elle is right.

Shauna, it's incorrect that Amazon has banned all authors from reviewing all books. The TOS on reviewing haven't changed. The myth that Amazon has disallowed authors from posting reviews has been floating around for the last month or two, but Amazon has confirmed that authors are still welcome to review books. There was a thread here on KB that reflected that info just a few weeks back.

That said, someone who is writing in exactly the same genre as you is clearly associated with a directly competing product. The TOS can be used to disallow those reviews even if the author doesn't explicitly self-promote in the review in the way this person is doing. If you knew that the writer of that review were an author in your same genre, you could complain about it to Amazon. You can *definitely* complain about it since he/she goes the extra step of self-promotion.
 

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I agree that Amazon would probably pull it, but I'd leave it alone. It's not hurting your overall rating and anyone who reads it will see through it. The only person that review will hurt is the person who wrote it. Besides, she liked the book.

If she really is an author, let her take the fallout. (I couldn't find anything under her name so either she's writing under a pen name or reviewing under one.)
 

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Dalya said:
It is against Amazon's TOS for that person to have done that. I'm guessing they're unaware of the conflict of interest, or they wouldn't have stated such.

It is not unethical for you to report it and hope maybe Amazon takes it down. Nor is it unethical for anyone on this thread to do the same.

It would be unethical to assemble a mob with pitchforks. :)
This. I'd take bets that the majority of the reviews (there aren't that many that do) that mention my editing are other self published authors in the same genre who are hiding behind avatar names.

Funny thing is...editing mistakes are so easy to correct and in the end, makes the reviewer look vindictive when the mistakes are cleared up.

I'm starting to leave a standard answer in the comments to please read the free "look inside" sample before taking the reviewer's word for it. My sales remain steady which to me means word of mouth by readers who enjoy my books spreading the word is taking over vs. self publishers who hear about me through forums and what not.
 

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When I look at Amazon/BN/etc reviews I'm still just a reader, and as a reader the review in question pushes a few of my buttons that put me in the "report it and hope Amazon deletes it" category.

1. The 1-star. Based on their review the book deserves at worst 3-stars. Me? I'd have dinged it a star for editing and put it at 4 if I otherwise like it.
2. The mention that they're an author in the same category. This is a big red flag for me.

Honestly? As a reader, and hopefully soon to be a self-published author, I can't stand authors like that reviewer. Maybe you've got enough reviews that the 1-star doesn't affect your overall rating (I don't know, I didn't check), but whether you do or not I see these types of "This book sucks but HEY I'M A WRITER TOO" reviews need to be squashed hard. Whether intentional or not they're a direct attack on a competitor, not an honest review.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Meh. I guess I'll just hope the Zon bots find it and take it down but otherwise put it out of my head. No, it doesn't effect my overall ranking, like I said it is my only 1 star. And yes, I have had all my books professionally edited (and any time something specific, like a typo, is pointed out to me I jump on it and reupload).

I know people say the no reviews from authors bit is a myth, but I've been posting book reviews under a pen name, but from the same IP address, for a long time (before I pubbed the 1st book) and every single one has been taken down in the last two months and none of them were lower than 3 stars. So competitive books or not, none of my reviews were negative, and yet all were deleted and my only guess is that the bots saw the reviews came from the same IP address even if under a different account.
 

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ShaunaG said:
I know people say the no reviews from authors bit is a myth, but I've been posting book reviews under a pen name, but from the same IP address, for a long time (before I pubbed the 1st book) and every single one has been taken down in the last two months and none of them were lower than 3 stars. So competitive books or not, none of my reviews were negative, and yet all were deleted and my only guess is that the bots saw the reviews came from the same IP address even if under a different account.
That totally sucks, but I think it must be collateral damage from whatever bot they've designed to comb through the reviews. There are still way too many of us who've had no reviews deleted at all for there to be any systematic effort to remove reviews written by authors. All the ones I've written are still up -- ones posted by "Becca Mills" and ones posted under my real name, which is the account I use to publish through KDP.

One possibility is that they're finding accounts where one review triggers the bot, maybe because of IP overlap, and then deleting all that person's reviews wholesale. Not good, but at least more limited than "no author shall ever review a book."
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Becca Mills said:
One possibility is that they're finding accounts where one review triggers the bot, maybe because of IP overlap, and then deleting all that person's reviews wholesale. Not good, but at least more limited than "no author shall ever review a book."
That's probably very likely. I mean, whenever something does happen to one person, it's usually to an extreme, like locking people's accounts and whatnot. It's never anything moderate with the bots. All or nothing.
 

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ShaunaG said:
I know people say the no reviews from authors bit is a myth, but I've been posting book reviews under a pen name, but from the same IP address, for a long time (before I pubbed the 1st book) and every single one has been taken down in the last two months and none of them were lower than 3 stars. So competitive books or not, none of my reviews were negative, and yet all were deleted and my only guess is that the bots saw the reviews came from the same IP address even if under a different account.
Same here. I post reviews under my real name (Amanda Brice is my pseudo), and while those reviews had all been there as of last week (I've been periodically checking ever since this whole "authors can't review!" flap occured), a few days all of my book reviews (except for one non-fiction book) disappeared, and all that remains under "my reviews" are my product reviews. None were negative (because I don't care to do negative book reviews -- if I can't give at least 3 stars I just ignore it), and all were honest, but all are gone. Some were in my genre, others were not. But all are gone now.
 
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