Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amazon Reviews Being Pulled and Deleted...



I almost hesitate to post anything about Amazon reviews being pulled and deleted because I don't know that much about it. I feel like the guy in the photo above looking into the distance for answers. I've searched for articles hoping to find out more and all I've come up with is what looks like facts based on hearsay...but without any reasons whatsoever. I have to admit that I'm a little stunned that more people haven't blogged or written about what's been happening to Amazon reviews. Frankly, I can't understand why they aren't.

So far, I've checked some of the reviews I've written for books and products I've read and used and they are still in place. I'm glad because I often spend a lot of time writing reviews and I'd hate to see them disappear. I've never written a review I wouldn't stand behind with my own name, and I only have one Amazon account...period...with which I write reviews. The same goes for Goodreads. It's not because I'm holier than thou, or because I'm judging people who review with fake names. I know there are reasons why some need to keep their identities hidden, especially when reviewing erotica, and I respect that. But I decided to keep that part of my life...any my career as an author...simple a long time ago by only using my own name to review at all times, without exception. And I have no regrets about doing it. Sometimes plain and simple is the best way to go. It's also why I stopped all google alerts in 2009. And, it's why I feel completely comfortable talking about this subject now.  

According to this article, a lot of the deleted Amazon reviews were not quite kosher, so to speak. However, it seems a lot of honest reviews were deleted in the process, which is a shame if that is the case.

Mr. Robertson suggested that Amazon applied a broad brush. “I believe they caught a lot of shady reviews, but a lot of innocent ones were erased, too,” he said. He figures the deleted reviews number in the thousands, or perhaps even 10,000.
 

Power reviewers like Harriet Klausner, meanwhile, raise suspicion by writing thousands of reviews — though Klausner tells the Times that her over 28,000 reviews are the result of quick reading, a lot of spare time, and a lot of quick Harlequin romance novels. "To watch her in action is unbelievable," her husband says. "You see the pages turning."

Although I know very little about her, I have to admit that I've always found Ms. Klausner's tenacity fascinating from a distance. I know how long it takes me to write a coherent review and I marvel at how fast she's been able to do it. She's a regular powerhouse when it comes to reviews. I would lose my mind...or die of sheer boredom.

Here's a link to a blog post by someone who writes crime fiction. I don't know him and haven't read his books. But it was one of the few decent blog posts I could find on this topic and that's why I'm linking to it. As I said above, no one seems to be saying much of anything. And this one seems honest enough to share.

For some reason, Amazon does not want me reviewing this book. I still don't know why. Of course, this is Amazon's site and if they want to delete a review I wrote, that's up to them. I don't have any control over what Amazon does with their own website any more than they have control of what I do with mine. At least, I don't think they can control any of my sites. I guess we'll find out.
What I do find interesting about this article is that he posts written exchanges he's had with Amazon. In the past, I've had a few of those myself as a consumer when questioning orders I've placed. I've had basically the same experience.

This Amazon review business is even being discussed in the UK.

Amazon has started to crack down on thousands of fake book reviews that have popped up on the site in recent years.

The e-commerce giant will not say how many reviews it has erased so far and has declined to offer any public explanation, the New York Times reports.

Writers who rely on both fake and real reviews to sell copies of their books are crying foul as they take aim at Amazon.

This article is basically a more sensationalized version of the others to which I've linked. I don't find Amazon's silence unusual in this matter, because Amazon is silent about everything it does. But the article also says all these writers "who reply" about fake and real reviews are crying foul. And I can't seem to find any of them anywhere. I've done searches. I've cross-searched. If I'd found them I'd be linking to them righ tnow. But the best I can come up with are a few articles that don't make enough sense to even link to.

The only comment I have is that I truly hope Amazon takes the time to vet all the reviews they consider deleting so they are sure they aren't deleting honest reviews written by people who really do take their time to write them. As a reader and consumer, I've learned to vet reviews before I make a purchase. I can write a chapter for a book in one day, but sometimes it takes me a week to pull a decent review together. And I'd hate to think I'd wasted all that time.







 

4 comments:

Gerry Burnie said...

Amazon is a monopoly in the same sense that the 12 or 13 oil companies are monopolies. They occupy the biggest slice of the consumer market, so the producers (we the authors) and consumer are forced to deal with them or else.

I have posted notice on my book review page that I will no longer post on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca. Instead, I will post reviews on Goodreads and Barnes and Noble.

It isn't much, but it is something.

ryan field said...

I've been thinking of not posting reviews there for a while...at least until all this is figured out and explained better. I just want to know that if I take the time to post a review it's not going to wind up being deleted as part of a mass campaign.

Jon Michaelsen said...

Ryan - I read this article before Christmas; I too, have avoided writing/posting any reviews on Amazon.com because (per the article), authors reviewing other authors will be deleted. I spend far too much time getting a review just right to have it deleted. I'll continue to post via my website, Gay and Lesbian Book Reviews and Goodreads.com

ryan field said...

I hope they say something about this on Amazon. It could be a dangerous game. If this way of thinking...avoiding them...grows it might take on a life of its own. It's just a natural reaction, and when people turn on something it's hard to get them back.