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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Danni said:
I'm guessing if the reviews disappearing where within a week of publication, it was the glitch I spoke of before.
Reviews were either moved or disappeared within hours, not a week. And they were specific--one-star reviews, not five-star reviews. They were targeted, which makes your glitch theory doubtful.
 

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I can't speak to indie vs trad or reviews that have been pulled vs reviews that haven't.  But, as a reader, I think the pull quotes should be representative of the books average rating OR, even better, should rotate freely among a bunch of reviews voted most helpful by other readers.  It does me no good as a reviewer to see the same pull quote over and over unless it's a truly representative quote.

Betsy
 

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On one book, Amazon pulled a quote from one of my reviews.    That review was also voted most helpful.
Not sure how useful it is.
 
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Betsy the Quilter said:
I can't speak to indie vs trad or reviews that have been pulled vs reviews that haven't. But, as a reader, I think the pull quotes should be representative of the books average rating OR, even better, should rotate freely among a bunch of reviews voted most helpful by other readers. It does me no good as a reviewer to see the same pull quote over and over unless it's a truly representative quote.

Betsy
Completely agree with this <3
 

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Hi,

Can I add that there seems to be a factor being overlooked in this debate. Trad books are different to indie books in that there is a professional publisher behind them. I'm not talking about quality or anything else like that here. I'm talking about the fact that I would expect a professional publisher to know the system better and be more motivated to check sites and take action where they see a problem.

The upshot is that for many indies they'll get a bad review, and take the standard advice, say nothing, and move on with their lives. If they think a review is unfair or violates Amazon's TOS they may complain.

For a trad published book, the publisher acts for them. They know the right things to say when they make a complaint. They know the system. And they know how to use it to their advantage.

Amazon's system may be flawed - I don't know. But I do know that every system can be gamed.

Cheers, Greg.
 

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Marian said:
I agree, I don't think it's a conspiracy. But what I have seen and documented is selective manipulation, and that bothers me. There shouldn't be any manipulation of reviews, and this goes for products other than books as well. Months ago when I was shopping on Amazon, I read a one-star review written by a someone who was really angry. The person had written an original one-star review of a product and had received a email from the manufacturer of the product requesting the removal of the review because it would hurt business. The person refused, and Amazon removed the review anyway. What had transpired was related in a new review, still one-star, in which the history of what had happened was related. At least Amazon was honest in publishing it.
This also happens on Goodreads.

As to those unbelieving Thomases, who says that there can't be Amazon employees with an agenda working on reviews? Or giving favours to other employees with an agenda. Or favours against money? Or who says that all these Amazon employees don't also write or work for a publisher?

There's no need for conspiracy. Take simple corruption instead, and you probably have the background of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Rosalind James said:
Every Amazon person I've met or heard of seems horrendously overworked--the ones who are at a place where they can make decisions. As somebody said above, the idea that they're manipulating reviews on individual authors' books is just--not feasible.
Rosalind, Unfortunately, it's not only feasible, it's happened. I'll send you proof.
 

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Amazon removing 1-star reviews from Big-Time Authors without a legitimate reason other than "helping" that author would be a huge ethical violation, in my opinion, and would light more fires than I think they're willing to try to extinguish. If that got out, the media would explode, and quite a few indies would "take a stand" and pull their titles, which would hurt Amazon for sure. I don't think they're doing this.
 

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I've had a bunch of 1-star reviews disappear from my books. Even though some were verified purchases, they read more like an author wrote them than a reader. I DO know that Amazon is starting to look carefully at social media connections, and other information that is readily available to robots that spider the Internet for relationships between IP addresses, profiles, email addresses etc. I have learned first hand it's often authors you know that vote your good reviews down or one-star your books all out of jealousy.

Amazon is a robot. It can only do what it's programmed to do. Does it scan books in different intervals for misbehavior? Yes. I know this because I've watched Amazon do all kinds of things at different intervals. A great deal matters on a book's sales velocity. At the end of the day, the robot behaves under a set of rules that may or may not make sense to a human because our intelligence is different.

As far as the conspiracy that only Select authors are emailed out, that's also not true. My real estate agent forwarded me an email she received March 27 from Amazon titled "New books from Elizabeth Ann West" and in it was FIVE of my books. No one else's. The only connection she and I have is that she bought Cancelled back in 2011 when I was a renter for a home she managed (and she's now selling our house). She doesn't even often buy my genre, but we think the email was triggered because she DID go look at my author page to see how I was doing. I haven't had books in Select since February.

That's the biggest crux for the behavior of the Amazon robot. Everything is tailored to the customer's behavior. They do not care one bit for an individual vendor, though of course they are going to massage and ameliorate the demands of say a publisher with thousands of titles and the pockets deep enough to build a competing platform than say me, publisher, party of one. The big publishers also know which book stores are the reporters for various publication book sales bestseller lists. There's a ton of advantages that come from being bigger. Even bigger indies get different treatment than again someone like me, such as not being required to go exclusive to stay in KU.

Our choices are we can complain and say it's unfair, or work around the obstacles and accept it's never going to be a 100% fair playing ground. If that was true, Amazon would cycle every single title at least once on it's front page but it doesn't do that. Because that would be a bad experience for the customer, even if it would be fair to all of the publishers in the Kindle Store. If a reader's review is removed, it's that reader's place to complain and make an issue about it, not us. Because we have no idea why that review was removed, and we are speculating if we assume all of the reviews were  removed for reasons of helping out a big name publisher instead of just a glitch, perceived violation of TOS, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
psychotick said:
Can I add that there seems to be a factor being overlooked in this debate. Trad books are different to indie books in that there is a professional publisher behind them. I'm not talking about quality or anything else like that here. I'm talking about the fact that I would expect a professional publisher to know the system better and be more motivated to check sites and take action where they see a problem.

The upshot is that for many indies they'll get a bad review, and take the standard advice, say nothing, and move on with their lives. If they think a review is unfair or violates Amazon's TOS they may complain.

For a trad published book, the publisher acts for them. They know the right things to say when they make a complaint. They know the system. And they know how to use it to their advantage.

Amazon's system may be flawed - I don't know. But I do know that every system can be gamed.
This may be the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
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Becca Mills said:
KDP barely has time to read our emails and return a maybe-fits-the-sitch form letter. Their taking time to track individual authors, manipulating the order of their reviews and selecting negative pull-quotes ... it just doesn't make sense to me.
KDP does have time to track individual authors. Unfortunately, I happen to be one of them, and they are creative in some of the things that they do. The following is an example of one of the nicer things they tried to pull on me:

In February, 2014, I had a big promotion scheduled for one of my books that was in Select. I planned to use the Countdown. Less than a week before my Countdown I received an email from KDP warning me that they found my book on another site and that if it wasn't removed within 5 days of their email, the book would be pulled from Select and I couldn't have the Countdown. If I had any doubts, they gave me a URL and told me to copy and paste it in my browser. I did what I was told, and sure enough the book was on B & N in the UK. I was surprised because I knew I had pulled that book from every vendor months before. On a hunch, I went on another browser, and instead of using their URL, I did a search for the book on B & N in the UK. The book wasn't listed. I emailed KDP with the link that I had found, and my Countdown was saved. I kept their email and after the Countdown was over, I clicked on the link they had given me to copy and paste. There was a different page from the one I had originally seen with the following message: Apparently the page is missing. Sorry, this didn't turn out how we planned.

I have a screen shot of the page. I'll post it if someone can tell me how to to do it.
 
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