Sunday, February 2, 2014
Amazon - It's just the way they are......
As you can probably tell from previous posts I am one of those Authors that place a value on Reviewers and reviews - I do. It's hard enough to get quality reviews so when you do get one and Amazon decides to remove it, it is a real pisher.!
I have had at least four 4 or 5 star reviews removed by Amazon with out explanation. And it is a complete waste of time trying to get an explanation OR getting the reviews re-instated.
There are words in the Terms of Service "Amazon has the right but not the obligation to monitor and edit or remove any activity or content" and it seems to love playing this card.
IF Amazon thinks that a review is from family or relative it will remove it, even if you clearly state that you know the Author. (It was believed that if you state your connection then it was ok). This can be extended to a work colleague or anyone else that Amazon decides. IF a review is removed Amazon will NOT talk to the Author about it, according to them it is a conversation to be had with the actual reviewer. However, if the Reviewer contacts Amazon to try and have the review reinstated, Amazon refuse - It's a no win situation, I know of nobody that has been successful in getting a review reinstated, it just isn't worth the aggro. I have been told of one Author who reviewed her son's book, the review got taken down by Amazon so she contacted them to get his review re-instated. They, Amazon, apparently threatened to remove the book completely. I don't know how true that is but I do know that Amazon love to bully - It's their train set and they like to make people aware of this.
Strangely though they are not so keen to remove lower starred reviews - The ones and twos that a lot of Authors would like to get rid of, no chance! Another reason why a top review may disappear is that someone has complained to Amazon about it - YOU don't get to find out why or who, it just disappears.
And there is also 'gaming'. Some Authors or people take a dislike to you, or they see you as competition, particularly if you are in a popular genre, so they submit low star reviews to put people off buying your book. This is a reality I'm afraid. People have false accounts, don't even read your book but (if they have an active Amazon account) they can leave a review. If it's to your benefit they will be removed, if it's against you they stay. Be warned. It can get extremely frustrating and there are a few people you will find on the forums that have lost the plot entirely and their sole focus in life now is to fight these votes and reviews - It really is a dark path to travel, a fight that you can't win so there is no point in wasting your energy and focus on such a futile pursuit.
All of that said, Amazon do a lot of good for the Indie Author, not least of all they provide the worlds largest on-line book shop for you to peddle your publication, and the means by which you can promote it. I'm still investigating a few of these marketing avenues and will let you know how I get on.
But here's the thing once you've written your master piece, had it proof read and published, the hard work really starts. There is no point in having it out there if no one knows about it. - good luck