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Right to review revoked


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Initial post: Jul 4, 2012 3:02:51 PM PDT
Not long ago I realized that my latest Amazon review hadn't posted. I also wrote a few more reviews which also never posted. I contacted Amazon and they told me some of my reviews had been deleted because they violated posting guidelines. I sent a response, asking for clearer detail as to the specifics so that I could avoid making whatever mistakes I'd made again within future reviews. What I received was this response:

"Hello Shane,

As mentioned in our last message, we took this action because your reviews were found to be in violation of our guidelines and participation agreement. We won't reinstate your reviewing permissions for this account. Please take a look at this page for details about our guidelines:

http://www.amazon.com/review/guidelines/review-guidelines.html

I understand you're upset, and I'm sorry we haven't been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. However, we won't be able to offer any additional insight or action on this matter.

Thanks for your understanding.

Best Regards,

Lance F."

I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone else, and if anyone ever received a clear answer as to why it happens at all? I knew there were guidelines. I have read and re-read them, unable to determine how I was in violation of any of them. I've never had an issue with any of my previous reviews, and can't see how my last few reviews would have resulted in the revoking of my right to review indefinitely (the first missing review was a critical 1-star review of a faulty product, but nothing out of the ordinary and certainly just as fair as other reviews I've posted).

It would be one thing to have a review deleted if it violated posting guidelines; although, as Amazon has made clear, they'll never directly state which I violated. But to revoke review rights altogether seems unheard of. I even searched a few key terms on the forum and couldn't find any previous listings addressing this sort of thing. So any input would be immensely welcome. I wouldn't have spent years posting reviews on a site I cherish had I known I would encounter this sort of treatment with no understanding as to why it happens. If nothing else, perhaps this post will save some reviewers from hitting the same brick wall I have. Happy 4th.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 5:11:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 5:13:37 PM PDT
BuyCurious says:
if you write reviews that direct customers off-site, this will happen. I.e., "I got this at BLAHBLAHBLAH for $8.00! You should too!" or if you post spoilers, this can happen when it comes to movies/books.

Think about the most recent reviews you posted and see if you can think of any that would get a seller's attention, too....your reviews were probably getting reported by sellers of the products you were reviewing. Mere negative reviews won't get your reviewing privileges yanked.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 6:04:28 PM PDT
Shane, assuming you did read the guidelines, I find it very difficult for you to express that you do not know how you violated posting guidelines. You do know, but you're just trying to get the reviews through regardless.

You must have been sending these reviews more than once, trying to get them through and having them rejected more than once.

I do not know what you are saying to get them rejected. But you know exactly how you are violating, so don't play like you do not.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 6:57:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 7:04:08 PM PDT
MamaBear007 says:
(HELP FORUM PRO)
Shane, I just got a thought. Don't know if it has merit or not, but maybe you will. Does anybody else have access to your computer? Is it possible that a friend or mischievous family member posted something intended to be humorous, but which could have been offensive?

You have an awful lot of reviews, so you obviously know your way around the review box. The above explanation could explain the unexplainable.

ETA: If you think the above explanation is plausible, please let us know. I don't know if the moderators can do anything in this case, but if that's what might have happened, I'd sure like to ask them to try.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 7:11:55 PM PDT
I haven't tried numerous times to place any review. I simply noticed that my most recent reviews hadn't posted and contacted Amazon as a result. I haven't even kept copies of my reviews to be able to TRY posting something numerous times. Personally, I do not think I've violated any of the guidelines; hence my confusion. Hard to know what, if anything, I've done wrong when Amazon refuses to provide clarity. I've been posting reviews in my typical fashion for years (reference the over 300 of them if it helps). To be clear, I have not had prior trouble posting and I'm not attempting to push something through multiple times. I have come here with honest intentions. My relationship with Amazon has been healthy and, up to now, beneficial. I use their publishing service, trade in program, etc. This review issue came out of nowhere and I don't have a clue what's driving it. I appreciate the first comment, but I doubt it's either of those things; since I don't drive readers to better prices or other websites. Some of what I write could be construed as spoiler. But so could most of the reviews on Amazon. Thanks for taking the time.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 7:16:39 PM PDT
Thanks MamaBear. I got an email from google a week or so ago saying someone was trying to hack my google account, but that's likely irrelevant. No one else has access to my account that I'm aware of. I also get email verifications for every posted review and never saw anything that wasn't me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 7:22:00 PM PDT
MamaBear007 says:
(HELP FORUM PRO)
You're probably right. Even if someone had successfully hacked your Google account, unless they also had your Amazon password (or you had e-mailed your Amazon password to yourself), it's unlikely that the hacker would have been able to access your Amazon account.

I wish I could do more, but as a customer (not an Amazon employee), I can't. It will probably bring you very little consolation, but I do believe you. And judging from the multiple yes-votes on your post, I'm not the only one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 7:28:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 7:28:45 PM PDT
reg says:
(KINDLE FORUM PRO)    (HELP FORUM PRO)
You wouldn't receive an email for a review that wasn't posted, would you?

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 7:54:00 PM PDT
No lol. I was thinking more of something which might have posted without my knowledge and THEN been removed. My girlfriend thinks it's got something to do with my recent switch to publishing books on Createspace (Amazon-owned). But I can't find anything which might verify the notion of Amazon revoking review privileges for Createspace authors. My guess is, at this point, that I'll never know. It just sucks to be shut out of a feedback community I adore and have no good understanding as to why. It's happening all over the internet though from what I can tell. Companies shunning the honesty of their user base can't expect to keep their respect as a result. Trying my best to simply let it all go, as that's what Amazon seems to hope I'll do. Just a small part of my world I no longer get to enjoy for reasons unknown. Apparently reviewing issues are one of the few areas where Amazon fails to be service-oriented. Thanks again to everyone for all the input.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 8:02:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2012 8:03:21 PM PDT
MamaBear007 says:
(HELP FORUM PRO)
I don't think switching to Creatspace would have anything to do with it (unless you reviewed your own books, without the disclaimer in the review that you were the author). I could see that causing problems.

I've asked the moderators to look into the reason. I don't know if they have the ability to look into your account that way, but I thought it was worth a try. To my way of thinking, it never hurts to ask.

* edited for grammar.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 8:34:36 PM PDT
Any help is worth appreciating, even if nothing comes of it. So know that I'm grateful. And I haven't tried posting reviews of my own books; just to stop that question from creeping into future comments. Author Central gives me more than enough input tools for my own products as it is. Some of my friends are musicians with music for sale on Amazon, and I've even purposely avoided reviewing their albums for concern that this might be considered a conflict of interest (or something to that effect). I definitely feel a bit more relieved, knowing that there are people out there paying attention to problems like mine. I'm that dork who was continually stoked by seeing my latest review push me higher up the reviewer rankings. After making it a point to be as genuine as possible in my reviews (even leaving up the badly received ones, so long as my opinion hadn't changed), having my right to review taken away was a bit heartbreaking. The response I included in my initial post didn't help ease that feeling either. But I'm shaking it off. I just hope this type of thing is extremely rare. Because no one deserves to worry about this happening to them. It's like being found guilty without ever knowing what the crime you're expected to defend yourself against is.

Posted on Jul 4, 2012 9:22:35 PM PDT
If you say this has nothing to do with CreateSpace account/reviewing, then I doubt we can figure out what happened. Take a look at the reviews you tried to post, analyze them, see if they fall into any of the violations listed in the link Amazon gave you.

I cannot imagine this having anything to do with hacking your computer, or someone else using the computer.

But, it appears Amazon found you with some violations, and I don't know what they are, but seems they said they are not reinstating privileges for "this account". Are they speaking of a Create Space account? Or your regular reviewing account?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 4, 2012 10:27:50 PM PDT
hydrophilic says:
I wonder if you got an overeager quality control checker on your reviews. A couple years ago, all of my reviews got negged for really dumb reasons --eg, if I wrote "like many other reviewers, I particularly enjoyed blah blah blah", it got denied because I referred to other reviews, stuff like that. I would say many, if not most reviews technically break a rule. If someone decided that a bunch of your reviews were "inappropriate", you might automatically get dinged. It really seems like a shame since you've obviously put a lot of thought into your reviews.

I would try emailing them again, pointing to your many quality reviews and ask them to check if they made an error.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 6:34:46 AM PDT
Rizzo, they should be talking about my regular reviewing account. But all use the same email address in any case, so it's never been as though I had multiple accounts for reviewing under the same email address. Just the one I'm using here, now. Createspace is a separate website with its own log in. But it's run by Amazon. Don't know. I think my girlfriend was just grasping at straws and it seemed possible to me for a short while. The first review that didn't post was a 1 star on a microphone. The review wasn't vulgar or anything like that (though I can't prove that since I didn't make a copy of it before posting). It was an Amazon verified purchase. Basically I bought a product that wouldn't function on my Mac because of the device drivers. I spent a long time going through online forums to see if I could find a resolve (because normally that fixes everything in today's world), but I never found anything and I didn't appear to be the only one. The mic seemed to be running fine on older Macs according to other users, but I also couldn't get the device to be recognized on my PC. It was a USB mic, and I recommended that potential buyers invest in an audio interface instead to avoid the driver issues some people, myself included, were experiencing with said microphone. The handful of reviews I attempted to post afterward were run-of-the-mill "happy I purchased it, but here are the downsides" type reviews. Sorry if I went into too much detail there.

If anything, I think Hydrophilic is making a case for something probable; as I've started many reviews by saying something like "other reviewers have already pointed out most of the good, so let's go over what no one else has yet said". The only thing bothering me about that argument is that, so far as I can tell, none of my old reviews have been removed. It was as though I tried to post the microphone review and suddenly that invisible wall appeared. Again though, it's hard to be sure. They could easily have taken down one or two of my older reviews without me noticing. Never tracked the number religiously or made a point to copy my reviews. Didn't think there'd ever be a reason to. But it is what it is. I may try contacting them again in a few days. Afraid doing so at the moment would only make things worse somehow (IE: all of my reviews would end up being removed, etc.). I suppose that as long as Amazon retains the right to monitor and delete reviews without explanation the way they appear to be doing, there's not much I have to bargain with here. What do they gain by allowing one person to go on reviewing like they always have? Credibility? No, the damage here has probably already been done. But I tend to trust this company more than most when it comes to helping their users. So if nothing pans out with regard to moderator investigation, then I may give it another go.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 7:01:57 AM PDT
Everytime you post, there is more you are revealing that indicates why your reviews were pulled. I am only hearing one side, and you are most likely telling us just enough, but not the whole shabang.

I see two violations in the making. And as I said, you are most likely not telling us everything. I would let it go for now. They have made their statement and you need to honor it.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 8:47:23 AM PDT
And here I was worried that I was oversharing or going into too much detail. My apologies if you think you are only hearing one side. But the reason for that is that there's only one side willing to make itself visible; and that side happens to be mine, not Amazon's. I've shared what they sent me. I can share their initial response to my first inquiry, and my response to it as well, if it helps. I have no problem with that. But please refrain from insinuating that I'm hiding things. I'm not out for revenge. I'm not telling you 'just enough'. I came here for insight, not to be accused of misrepresenting the facts at every turn. If reviews can be pulled based on what Hydrophilic offered up, then I'm perfectly willing to accept that something along those lines is what has gone wrong with regard to my account. Looking back on my posted reviews shows me to be guilty of that offense which I wasn't aware was even an offense; as my nods to other reviews have never led someone away from Amazon.com, and it has never been a problem before now. I also don't name reviewers, point to specific reviews, or quote other reviewers. But I am willing to accept the case against me as constructive insofar as I can find evident fault in something I've done based on the experience of other users. I am letting the issue go for now, in addition to honoring Amazon's shoddy and seemingly final statement to me. I assumed my post made that clear. And I am sorry if that is not what came across. The part your response leaves out (what the 'two violations in the making' happen to be) are what I'm looking for. I garnered nothing useful from the posting guidelines which helped me better understand where I may have been in the wrong. And it's hard to argue that you haven't done anything wrong when the accusing party never tells you what you've done wrong on top of not being able to determine it for yourself. I do not mean to sound ignorant or give anyone the impression that I'm misrepresenting myself. I posted here knowing that some people would likely accuse me of ignorance and enjoy it all the while, but I expected some helpful insight as well. Hydrophilic's response is all that's led me to think that I've been in violation of something. But that may have nothing to do with it. The underlying issue resulting in my reviewing rights being revoked could be a system glitch or something else which has absolutely nothing to do with me. I simply do not know. And Amazon doesn't plan to tell me. And I am rolling with that punch. I came here to find out if this has happened to anyone else, and why it happened; to see if anyone who it's happened to has ever obtained clear indication of what they did wrong. I have no expectation of Amazon giving me back my posting rights. At this point, I'm not sure that I'd even feel secure posting reviews here anymore. For what if my reviews stopped posting again or were simply deleted without any warning or indicator of its occurrence? Those of us posting time-intensive reviews probably wouldn't do it if we continually had that sort of worry hanging over our heads.

Here's the response I got from my first email to Amazon about my review not posting:
"Hello Shane,

We found your reviews to be in violation of our guidelines and have removed some of them. For more information, see our Conditions of Use: .

http://www.amazon.com/review/guidelines/review-guidelines.html

Thanks for your understanding in this matter.

Best regards,

Stephanie S."

And here's what I sent them in response, before getting the message found in my initial forum post here:
"I have read the guidelines numerous times and cannot see how I was in violation of any of them. Is there any chance I could get a more specific detail of the circumstances? I want to avoid the mistake, I clearly can't tell I'm making, in the future. I also want to know that my removals were appropriate, as I do not wish to continue writing honest reviews on Amazon just to have them removed without ever understanding what guidelines I am violating. I do not mean to be a headache for anyone, but I have posted a number of reviews since my initial inquiry and none of them have posted. These were mostly reviews regarding Amazon purchases; some positive, some negative, but all honest. So something is clearly wrong, and it feels like a slap in the face to be encountering this issue yet finding no resolve or even a definitive explanation as to why it is happening. Surely my last 3 or 4 reviews were no more in violation of posting guidelines than the over 300 which came before them."

I don't have a copy of the very first email I sent them about this issue, because it was done through Amazon.com and they didn't email me a copy of what I wrote them. I do know that it discussed my review not posting, that it said their help page had led me to contact them about the issue, and that the forums made me think it had been deleted (because I clicked the review button on the product page and it didn't tell me I'd already submitted a review the way it should, yet it had saved my 1 star rating). To be clear, I did NOT attempt submitting another review for the product. Furthermore, I tried to respond to their first emailed response and a copy saved to my Sent folder; which is why I have a copy of that. After trying to respond I got an email from Amazon telling me I needed to use their Contact Us section to submit a response, because responses to inquiries did not go to a valid email address.

That all having been offered, I can't think of anything else to know worth knowing. I'm not even sure that all that extra information is worth providing, which is why I haven't provided it before now. The only thing I glean from reading it over again is realizing that if I hadn't responded to their initial response, I would never have even known that my reviewing rights had been revoked altogether. I find it particularly irksome that I wasn't even going to be told (their first response didn't tell me I no longer had a right to review, just that some had been deleted). I could have gone on writing and submitting reviews that never ended up posting, had I not been attentive enough to realize something was wrong. Friends are now telling me that I'm not the first person to post about this happening, and that similar things sometimes happen to new merchants for various reasons (though I've yet to read these forum posts for myself). If the general consensus is that most reviews could technically be construed as violating posting guidelines, and that this could happen to most anyone at any given time, then I accept that for what it is. I likely never would have written a single review if I realized that reviewing rights could be revoked altogether without apparent warrant, no helpful explanation to be found. I knew reviews could be denied or even deleted, sure. But until it happened to me I didn't know that they would ever completely take away someone's right to review. I haven't, to my knowledge, ever had a review denied prior to all this. It is disheartening. And I couldn't locate any previous feed which discussed it happening. So I wanted some community feedback. I feel I've gotten more than my fair share. And I'm appreciative to everyone who has taken the time to take my post seriously and comment with something constructive.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 9:04:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2012 9:05:38 AM PDT
MamaBear007 says:
(HELP FORUM PRO)
Shane,
Please understand that *all* of the Forum Pros are customers. The words we post are only opinions, unless we can back it up with quotes from the Help pages. The moderators? They're genuine Amazon employees. Please don't let anything said by any of the Pros frustrate you too much (unless and until it's backed up by a moderator).

In other words, please don't give up hope based on what another customer has told you. :-)

ETA: You still haven't posted anything to change my initial opinion, and I hope you're able to get an "official" answer on what happened.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 5:57:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 6:03:28 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 7:44:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 7:44:56 AM PDT
BuyCurious says:
why not go all the way and stop posting to the forums?

Amazing how buyers seem to think amazon favors sellers while sellers feel the opposite....

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 8:25:01 AM PDT
elby says:
I just found this forum due to the horrible changes with Amazon Cloud so excuse me for being late to the game.
Mr. Windham, I am very sorry your review privileges were revoked and frankly, I'm shocked this can be done without a completely egregious violation of terms. I always, always read reviews before purchasing an item, even though by doing so I can end up more confused by all the conflicting opinions offered. I appreciate buyers take the time to write reviews. Now that I'm aware reviews are being censored I am very wary of making any further purchases from Amazon. I now suspect they may let one or two negative feed backs through but keep the amount of lower reviews to a minimum. I was totally dependent on Amazon for so many shopping needs and respected them immensely for going up against the government on tax issues to the point of moving their distribution centers out of some states. Who took over running this company and ruined it? Also, if you own stock in Amazon now is probably a good time to dump it before it's useless.

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 8:36:02 AM PDT
BuyCurious says:
I think most people assume Amazon edits reviews....many reviews contain links to outside venues, or profanity, or comments insulting sellers, etc. Of course Amazon deletes these, but they only find them when they are reported.

They do not seem to pick/choose reviews based on their positive or negative tone...that would take forever considering all the reviews being written.

Most likely the OP here was posting reviews that were found to be in violation of Amazon policy by sellers or other reviewers....Amazon doesn't seek them out--they are reviewed based on reports from other Amazon users.

there is no User Agreement that states ALL reviews will remain regardless of content.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:08:04 AM PDT
elby says:
BuyCurious (heh heh on the handle) - I am sure you are quite correct in the not so distant past. I can't be sure of Amazon's integrity at all as of last night when I discovered the changes they made to Amazon Cloud which also affects the use of my Kindle Fire. This company will have to prove it's Gold Standard over to me from scratch. This won't be easy since I'll be looking elsewhere to make purchases until word gets around they've come back to their senses. Although I became very dependent on my Fire and all of its great features, I can go back to reading hard copy books. I also relied heavily on my Fire for listening to my music through headphones, one more reason to stop recommending this product, and warn friends I've already convinced into buying a Fire to forget making the purchase. I do appreciate your input. Please understand I am fairly miffed over the bait and switch Cloud changes, and the difficulty of removing my music from the site.

I can usually spot a review that comes from a poster that works for the company of the item being sold. I suspect if a negative review of this item pops up, the poster doing the reporting is most likely the poster that has a vested interest in the product. As you point out, reviewing every post would much too time consuming for Amazon and they probably feel the same about a reported post and just pull them without actually reviewing them to see if they are in actual violation. Banned indefinitely, until further notice, or perhaps forever without explanation makes me suspect of the whole customer rating service unless profanity was used. But the OP nor I will never know what the violation was because Amazon refuses to answer his inquiries.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:17:57 AM PDT
How about if I start by ignoring your pointless remark?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:21:08 AM PDT
BuyCurious says:
i have reported posts and I can assure you they don't automatically delete reported posts without reviewing them.

Amazon doesn't want to spend time arguing over why they suspended you as a seller, reviewer or buyer (buyers get suspended also for excessive returns, etc.)...thus they suspend without specifics and you will never get an exact explanation...they want you to figure it out on your own...same goes for marketplace seller suspensions...sellers get a vague boilerplate email that typically does NOT specify the exact transgression.

Providing an exact reason for a punitive suspension just opens Amazon to more problems/debates and they have better things to do with their time/resources.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:21:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2012 9:24:34 AM PDT
BuyCurious says:
too late...you've just acknowledged that you read it....
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Discussion in:  General Help Forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  62
Initial post:  Jul 4, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 13, 2013

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