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Last November I made an interesting discovery. I was following the results of a promo for a book by a well-known, best-selling author. The first two reviews the book received were both one-star and both were really negative. Within a few hours after the second negative review was posted, it disappeared as if by magic. But there was no magic here. The offending review was buried on a back page. Surprised at what had happened, I took step-by-step screen shots, documenting everything that had occurred.

I continued to follow trad  authors' promotions and saw the pattern repeating, but the one-star reviews weren't actually removed until yesterday. Instead of being buried on a back page, a one-star review on a recently promoted book was nowhere to be found. I contacted KDP customer relations regarding what I had seen. This morning the negative review was re-posted. Again, I took screen shots of what had happened.

This is important: The authors whose promos I have followed are excellent writers. Some of them are my favorites. They don't need the charity of having negative reviews either manipulated or completely removed. Perhaps it's done at the request of their publishers. Whatever the case, it doesn't respect them, and it raises serious questions about the integrity of Amazon's reviewing system.

There have been numerous posts by members of this board about negative reviews of their books that violate Amazon's guidelines and Amazon's refusal to remove them. I was thinking about this when I started the thread. I thought you might be interested.
 

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As we used to say as children, 'Hey! That's not fair'  :eek:. Be interesting to see if anyone else has noticed this.
 
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There is a reason other platforms are gaining on Amazon. Amazon is trying too hard to be smart with their algo nonsense.
 
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Look, the "Amazon is conspiring with publishers" meme has been floated before regarding reviews. I'm by no means an Amazon apologist (ye gods know there are certain parties who insist I hate all things Amazon), but there is zero evidence Amazon is removing reviews without an actual legitimate reason. Reviews disappear and reappear for all sorts of LEGITIMATE reasons that have ZERO to do with conspiracies.

First, reviewers quite often remove their own reviews. Maybe they shot off a review quickly and then changed their mind. Maybe they saw fanboys giving them a bunch of downvotes and removed it to protect their reviewer rank (you have NO IDEA how crazy some people are about their reviewer rank. There are threads upon threads about it on the Amazon forums).

Second, whenever Amazon does any sort of change on the site, weird things happen. I've had reviews duplicated on my books. Reviews disappear and reappear. Appear on the wrong issues (happened with the Quarterly a few times).

Third, Amazon actively culls suspicious reviewer accounts. And when they cull, it is with an axe, not a scalpel. This is the biggest reason we often see "mass" review loss so often. In fact, if I recall correctly it was late last October/November people were complaining about a lot of reviews disappearing all around. Amazon tends to go through cycles where they hunt down review sellers and remove them en masse. So let's say Jane Doe the review seller has written twenty reviews on Amazon and was paid for ten of them, when Amazon removes her reviews, they will remove ALL of them. So she may have left a legitimate review of book A, but because Amazon discovered she was selling reviews they just remove all of her reviews.
 

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The order of reviews is based on how many people vote the review helpful versus unhelpful. 

IMHO nothing magical about that. 

If you calculate the helpfulness ratio and find it is not in strict order of that, then it might be interesting.
 

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Marian said:
I continued to follow trad authors' promotions and saw the pattern repeating, but the one-star reviews weren't actually removed until yesterday. Instead of being buried on a back page, a one-star review on a recently promoted book was nowhere to be found. I contacted KDP customer relations regarding what I had seen. This morning the negative review was re-posted. Again, I took screen shots of what had happened.
For what it's worth, on my trade-published stuff reviews do have a tendency to vanish, reappear, and move up and down the ladder, so to speak. I often wonder if it's because, in general, there are far more eyes on those reviews. Indies, especially if they're not the best-selling variety, have a much harder time with visibility. More eyes mean more opinions on whether a review is "helpful" or not. Fewer eyes mean things stay somewhat more stagnant.
 

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Back to the OP, I know the reviews on my books do not show in a linear fashion unless I choose to view the most recent first. Otherwise, they show as most helpful first. I have never seen a one star review disappear on my books. Sadly. lol. Wait, one time one went away and I found out later that one disappeared after the reviewer deleted all her one-star reviews of Indie books. I think  she was hoping to be a Vine Voice.
 

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Responding to multiple reports as I was not online.  I've skimmed the reported posts and a few others.

Folks, there have been way too many personal comments in this thread.

Julie, as I've told you before, the personal comments weaken the strength of your arguments. 

To all, if you want to discuss a point in the OP, by all means do so.,without the personal comments .Personal comments directed at each other are not allowed.  If it's not a topic of interest to you, find another thread.

Strong opinions are fine, vigorous discussion is fine, negative characterizations of each other is not.

Off to reread the thread.

Betsy

 

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Folks,

Having reviewed this thread, I'm going to lock it until we can discuss in Admin.  It seems like the original topic is derailed at this point.

Lots of food for thought...

Betsy
 

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Sorry, folks...meant to post this this morning but life got in the way...we're going to reopen the thread.

Hi, folks.  We've pruned some personal commentary out of this thread. A reminder to people that the expectation here is for civil discourse by our members.  This does not mean you cannot be passionate about your opinion, but personal comments about your fellow members are not allowed.  If you haven't, please read Forum Decorum.

If you believe someone's post is inappropriate, we ask that you report it to the moderators using the report feature found on every post, and then move on.  Stay on topic in posting in the thread.  Not every post needs to be responded to, let alone every comment in every post. 

We realize that people do not always like to "tattle" on members, but use of the report feature allows us to handle the issue, make it more likely that the thread can stay on topic and stay open.  As it is impossible to read every post in every thread; we rely on the report system to know when threads go astray.

Note that many moderation actions that we take as a result of reports are done behind the scenes.  Things like post editing and removal, while visible, may not be noticed; warnings, being placed on post approval and even bans are typically handled between the moderation team and the affected member unless the member publicizes it.  All of these methods have been employed here in the past few weeks, though most members are unaware of it.

Please, folks.  Be kind to each other.  It really isn't that hard.

Thanks,

Betsy
KB Mod
 

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To answer the OP: Most good-selling authors, trad or indie, seem to have a pretty big group of superfans--ARC team, street team, whatever you want to call it. You put a new book out, it's a bestseller--it's going to have a LOT of big fans looking at its page the first day. And some of those people are going to vote down a negative review if they don't agree with it. It's not Amazon. It's not even the author. I don't think (maybe I'm naive) that most authors tell their readers, "Please go vote down my bad reviews!" I know I don't. (I wish.) But it's Author Behaving Badly behavior, and readers--even super-readers--don't like it.

I would guess that that's what's going on. Let's just say that I've never heard of Amazon doing such a thing, from any authors I know.

Also, I know Amazon removes reviews. I've had several from other authors (who identified as such) that disappeared--without my reporting them or doing anything about them. (They were all one- or two-star, I think. Can't remember.)
 

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Folks, this thread was reopened after discussion in admin and with the OP so that the original discussion could be continued if so desired.  Off topic posts have been removed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me.

Betsy
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I'm not indie. My books hover anywhere from 4 to 4.5 stars. I've had reviews disappear on ALL of them at some point. Sometimes they are 5 star reviews, sometimes they are 1 star reviews...I've had 3 and 4 star reviews vanish as well. I don't know why. Julie gave a couple possibilities. I do know that I, nor my publisher (to my knowledge), have ever asked for a review to be removed.
 

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I have no idea what went on with this thread, so maybe someone already said this: reviews flicker in and out sometimes. It started happening a couple years ago, so far as I can tell -- a number of KBers have reported it. Yeah, sometimes a review will disappear and be gone forever:  either the reviewer or Amazon deleted it, and that's that. But sometimes one (or a bunch) disappears for a while and then shows back up. It has happened to my books. No one has an explanation for it. My guess is that it's a technical glitch of some sort.

I really doubt Amazon would fiddle with reviews. Product reviews are one of the site's huge draws. Based on Amazon's reaction to the review-buying scandals of a few years back, it seems clear that the company cares quite a bit about the perceived authenticity of reviews. The PR nightmare of being caught tweaking them ... just not worth it.
 
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1) This: There is a reason other platforms are gaining on Amazon. Amazon is trying too hard to be smart with their algo nonsense.

There are multiple reasons Amazon is losing market share (gradually, noticeably), and one of them is that Amazon has a 'we can control everything' attitude. There are lots and lots of algorithm tweaks everywhere and many of them are not 'fair'. It's not so much malice as the mistake of thinking they can control every little aspect of the book market and how it evolves.

2) You can contact Amazon to get reviews removed. They very rarely listen. Sometimes they do remove reviews. Your best chance is if there is an attack or bad language. It's very random.

3) Do Publishers have advantages Indie Authors don't? Of course. Just as with bookstores, Publishers set up revenue share arrangements with ebook stores in return for Shelf Space.

Does that extend to reviews? Not sure.
 

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I recently got into a war of words with Amazon. Is everyone aware of those email reminders they send out to readers who read a book, asking them if they can recommend the book, or rate the book online? I asked amazon to please send out one of those emails to people who downloaded my free book Do Or Die.

Long story short they pissed on me and told me it was rain. Which is what they normally do when they don't want to do something that they do for a select few writers and not for everyone else. I've had some problems with amazon as well, like for a while my books weren't showing up for keyword search in search. For the record I bully Smashwords as well, I am an equal opportunity c__t.

Amazon has its protocols, and they work for the good of Amazon. All companies are the same. That is normal.  But it pisses me off that the same rules do not apply for all writers in the game on a website that everyone supposedly should have equal opportunity at the chance to be successful. They basically push books out of view at different times. That is why sometimes authors see their sales suddenly dry up. It is one thing when you push advertisers to the front page, it is another thing when you push readers to select books.

But at the end of the day the same thing goes with Google and Apple. The odds are stacked up against the underprivileged. Ironic. Is it the internet that imitates life or life imitating the internet?
 

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E.R.Baine said:
I recently got into a war of words with Amazon. Is everyone aware of those email reminders they send out to readers who read a book, asking them if they can recommend the book, or rate the book online? I asked amazon to please send out one of those emails to people who downloaded my free book Do Or Die.

Long story short they p*ssed on me and told me it was rain. Which is what they normally do when they don't want to do something that they do for a select few writers and not for everyone else. I've had some problems with amazon as well, like for a while my books weren't showing up for keyword search in search. For the record I bully Smashwords as well, I am an equal opportunity c__t.

Amazon has its protocols, and they work for the good of Amazon. All companies are the same. That is normal. But it p*ss es me off that the same rules do not apply for all writers in the game on a website that everyone supposedly should have equal opportunity at the chance to be successful. They basically push books out of view at different times. That is why sometimes authors see their sales suddenly dry up. It is one thing when you push advertisers to the front page, it is another thing when you push readers to select books.

But at the end of the day the same thing goes with Google and Apple. The odds are stacked up against the underprivileged. Ironic. Is it the internet that imitates life or life imitating the internet?
What makes you think they send out those emails for select authors? I would think from Amazon's perspective it would be less work to send out emails to EVERYONE who EVER purchased ANYTHING. It's all automated. They're not going to pay someone to send a specific email to a specific set of customers when a computer can do that quickly and more efficiently.

I get emails to "review" anything I've ever purchased on Amazon. Books. Toys. A TV mount.

And I get emails suggesting I buy "X" since I bought "Y".

I've purchased K.Cole books from Amazon and whenever there's a new release, they always send me an email.

If you asked Amazon to do something and they said "no," it's well within their rights to do so, unless it violates the contract you have with them. I don't think Amazon agreed to send out emails for any of us. It's something they do to benefit themselves. It's all research and data gathering to improve their algorithms and maximize profits FOR AMAZON. It's nice for them to remind people to do a review, but absolutely not necessary.

I think Amazon has leveled the playing field more than some of the other distributors. Are they perfect? No. Perfection doesn't exist but at least they are trying while others companies don't bother.
 

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I should also point out here that even if Amazon sends out an email, it may or may not get to everyone who has downloaded or purchased a book, based on their account settings.  I get a lot of emails from Amazon.  My co-mod Ann has set her account so she gets only some specific email alerts, but not review requests.  It's your legal right, as a customer, to determine what kind of communications you receive from a company you do business with.  Amazon must comply with the law.  So Amazon is unable to guarantee that people who have purchased a book get a request to review.

Betsy
 

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Umm. That is my point. Did you not read my post? I also said that everyone does it. Including Google and Apple. Duh.  But bear in mind, there are NOC teams in the back end that can bypass the algorithim and do anything at will. That is how it is at all internet companies.
 
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I am an Amazon top 1000 reviewer. I can tell you this. There an some indie books that Amazon will NOT let me post a 5 star on. They delete it. Yet hundreds of other indie titles it's no problem. And anytime I post less than three stars on a TRaD published book, it gets deleted. I stopped bothering. I don't rate books under 3 stars on Amazon anymore. I am NOT deleting my review. I am NOT breaking any review TOS.
 
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