Industrial Deals Beauty Best Books of the Year So Far STEM nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Wedding Rustic Decor Home Gift Guide Off to College Home Gift Guide Book House Cleaning TheTick TheTick TheTick  Introducing Echo Show Limited-time offer: All-New Fire 7 Kids Edition, starting at $79.99 Kindle Oasis Trade it in. Fund the next. Water Sports STEMClubToys17_gno
Customer Discussions > Top Reviewers forum

Amazon removes HUNDREDS reviews which do not violate Guidelines


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-25 of 366 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 12, 2012, 12:31:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2012, 3:03:29 PM PDT
Dear Top Reviewers!

We believe you should be aware of the "interesting" practice Amazon does with reviews written by Top Reviewers for Top Rated Kindle books of indie publishers.

Sep 11, 2012 we've noticed that over 150 reviews from 30 reviewers were removed by Amazon from our Kindle books (>110 reviews), Kindle apps (>40 reviews) and paperback books (3 reviews). For example, today >20 reviews were removed from (Puzzlebook: 100 Puzzle Quizzes) and its rating dropped to 4.0. We are highly disappointed with such procedures and can not understand their nature.

For the last 12 months we've successfully developed and published 10 books and 4 apps for Kindle, all of them become Top Rated and some of them are bestsellers in the respective categories of Kindle store. During this time we've worked hard with over two hundred reviewers, many of which are Amazon Top reviewers.

Here is the list of reviewers (~30) whose reviews were removed: Alison Deluca, Book Him Danno, C. F. Hill, C. Wright, Carol, CCH, Chris Swanson, Connie M. Wright, D. Fowler, Drebbles, Grady Harp, Israel Drazin, J. Chambers, jjceo, John Galluzzo, K. Groh, K.P. Druckenmiller, Kate Policani, KatrinaAbrosa, Laurie Carlson, LaurieHere, Mark J. Fowler, Patty Magyar, Peter Faden, S. Deeth, Sheila Deeth, Stacie Wyatt, Tami Brady. Many of them are Amazon Top Reviewers... Unfortunately it seems to be not a full list since we see that reviews still disappear from our products... That's really frustrating.

We affirm: no reviewer of our products has a financial interest in our product or a directly competing product. No reviewer of our products is an author, artist, publisher, or manufacturers of our products, or our family member.

We are working on new Kindle books and apps - please let us know what all this situation mean and how we should move forward?

Sep 11, 2012 we've sent this message to Jeff Bezos, KDP Support (Kindle books) and KDK Support (Kindle apps).

Sep 12, 2012 - 250 reviews were removed: 200 from our Kindle books and 50 from our Kindle apps.

Sep 12, 2012 we and some reviewers have received the following reply from KDP Support:

----------------------
While we appreciate your time and comments, we limit customer participation to one review per product and reserve the right to remove reviews that include any of the following:
* Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package
* Solicitations for helpful votes
If this continues we will also remove all your reviewing privileges from your account.
----------------------

and

----------------------
We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, third-party merchants selling the product, or anyone who receives any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product.
----------------------

So, for today (Sep 12, 2012) already 250 reviews were removed from our products: were removed reviews of people who get ebook as Gifts; were removed reviews which were bought after reviewer redeemed $0.99 or $2.99 gift card to purchase book/app; and even were removed reviews of people who simply bought app/book without gift cards.

UPDATE Sep 13, 2012: ~350 reviews removed from our products (>70 from Kindle apps and >250 from Kindle books). Have got (as well as many reviewers) reply from Amazon that if we "Give as a Gift" book to reviewer or send Gift Card equal to the book's cost - it violates Guidelines and treated as "compensation". We are talking about mostly $0.99 amounts.

In total around 30 Top Reviewers were affected with over 500 positive votes disappear.

Each time reviewer agree to play and review our Kindle app - we send him/her $2.99 Amazon Gift card so that he/she redeems it and purchases app. (Unfortunately there is no possibility to gift Kindle app directly via "Give as a Gift" option). In case of ebooks - we send whether $0.99 Amazon Gift Card or directly Kindle book as Gift via "Give as a Gift" option. In both cases reviewer gets books/app to play and review after. 99% of all reviews on our products has "Amazon Verified Purchase" which confirms this. Thus, each reviewer gets FREE COPY OF THE PRODUCT, which is clearly allowed by Guidelines.

What we or reviewers have violated? How can we provide free copy of our product (Kindle book or app) in other way than we did? Why reviews which were made after redeemed Amazon Gift Card were removed?

Please share your thoughts and comments - we believe this practice should be changed. Maybe it's just technical issue, but it seems to be something more complex and not correct in connection to indie publishers.

Peter Grabarchuk
The Grabarchuk Family

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 12:44:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 2:15:01 PM PDT
"During this time we've hardly worked with over two hundred reviewers... "

Well... maybe that's the problem. You need to work harder with them.

Posted on Sep 12, 2012, 12:56:56 PM PDT
Did the reviewers who received a free copy of the book in exchange for the review disclose that free copy was given to them IN THE REVIEW that they posted? Amazon is cracking down on this--if they received a free copy, they must disclose they received a free copy. If not, ask them to re-submit their review with that appropriate disclosure and see if it gets accepted that way.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 12:58:55 PM PDT
Amazon removed different reviews: some had disclaimer about free copy; some reviews were made without any gift or free copy. We still can't understand the logic...

Posted on Sep 12, 2012, 1:05:39 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 1:07:39 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 1:07:44 PM PDT
There is no such rule in Guidelines. On other hand, many reviews which state ARC were also removed.

Posted on Sep 12, 2012, 1:10:12 PM PDT
There was no reason that I know to remove my reviews. I am not paid by the family. I get free books all the time asking for my reviews because my reviews are apparently detailed. Is this wrong? Additionally, I don't know why, but amazon deleted 15 positive and 15 negative clicks from my rating.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 1:10:40 PM PDT
From Amazon's Reviewer's Guidelines:

"* Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. Reviews from the Amazon Vine™ program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary."

Posted on Sep 12, 2012, 1:15:53 PM PDT
It's actually an FTC regulation that was recently added to the law. It's not just Amazon.com's guideline, but the FTC requires disclosure of free and ARC copies. It came into effect about two years ago, but it's still not widely known. If you have Google Adsense on your blog, and you don't provide disclosure, they'll cancel your Adsense account too. Usually, something as simple as, "I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion and review." is all that it takes to meet this obligation, and now Amazon requires it too.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 1:20:38 PM PDT
That's to simple answer! Do you believe in this as a reason of removing of 250 reviews of 30 Top Reviewers and over 500 helpful customer votes? We don't!

Many reviews were removed which were made:
--after reviewer have personally bought book/app without any gift
--when reviewer include detailed disclosure even with law and FTC description

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 1:36:26 PM PDT
No, I was just responding to your post that stated "There is no such rule in Guidelines."

I am aware that many of the reviewers that had their reviews of your products removed had posted a Full Disclosure notice. The problem could be with your relationship with Amazon.

Posted on Sep 12, 2012, 1:38:09 PM PDT
Grady Harp says:
I have been in conversation both by telephone and by email about his absurd action on Amazon's part. If they want us to tack on that a 'free copy of the book or CD or Kindle or DVD etc was supplied' then I suppose we have to do that. All publishers and /or authors send 'reviewer copies' of their book (so marked so that they say 'cannot be sold' etc) seeking a consideration for a review but stating that in no way are we obligated to review their product. That would mean that those of us who have been faithful reviews since 1998 would have to go back and add that phrase on to every review. A better approach would have been to send emails to EVERY reviewer on Amazon (I believe that is over 1 million, maybe more) that that from now on every review must acknowledge every submission with that tacky comment. All of this takes the joy out of sharing with the public our views. Perhaps Amazon would like to receive copies of all the glowing emails of appreciation from both artists and consumers for doing this service to Amazon FOR FREE!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 1:43:22 PM PDT
Missing Disclosure could explain disappearing of some part of reviews...but why we still have many reviews on our products without this Disclosure? Why reviews made without free products were also removed? Why Amazon does not talk with us (publishers) and you (reviewers) before they remove reviews? Too many questions and no logic response from Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 1:46:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 1:48:21 PM PDT
Grady! So nice to have you finally join us here. The request for the disclosure of having received free products has been in Amazon's Reviewer Guidelines for quite a while. Many reviewers have included a Full Disclosure notice for quite some time. You of course have chosen not to. That is your right. However, Amazon can choose to delete reviews that they feel have violated their guidelines. But in this case I think that something else is afoot.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:00:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 2:51:13 PM PDT
JJCEO says:
I believe the problem is caused by manufacturers, authors and publishing houses sending top reviewers Amazon gift cards to acquire the sample product or book for evaluation and review. They do this as it is less expensive for them than shipping it from China for example or they wish for us to review a book or app on a Kindle Fire. Amazon's software algorithm scans this as a gift and thus believes that I and many other top reviewers are affiliated with the company providing the sample. The Community Team then deletes the review and we lose all of our hard work and positive votes that we have gained by writing the review.

I have been unable to correct this problem in about 3 weeks with the Amazon Community Team and despite leaving my phone number and speaking to people in the customer service staff about 14 times; no one has ever called me back. This problem is now affecting more of the top reviewers and it is hurting our efforts to maintain our ranking and status in Amazon's review system.

The Amazon Community team does not take phone calls nor will they call anybody. A report is filled out by the Amazon customer service people who are nice but quite helpless to resolve the issue. The report is sent to the Community Team who may or may not respond with an email and without your input, all decisions are declared as final with no recourse to contact them or discuss the problem.

All I have been asking for is phone call from someone with the authority to correct this error and restore my product reviews. I am being falsely accused of having a financial interest in two companies and this is not true. This policy is at risk of jeopardizing Amazon's relationship with the very people who help to drive their business.
Amazon's guidelines for reviews states:
* Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. Reviews from the Amazon Vine™ program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary.

I have followed that guideline and stated in every review, "I received a sample for test and evaluation and promised to provide a fair and honest review."

Despite the fact that I included this note in my written and video reviews I have lost over 100 positive votes in the last 3 weeks and this practice will continue until someone at Amazon with authority to analyze the problem fixes it. If you ever received a gift card from a seller on Amazon to get a sample to test or to read and then prepare a review on the item, you will be caught in this trap and lose your review, hard work and votes.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:01:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 2:02:32 PM PDT
John Smith says:
"It's actually an FTC regulation that was recently added to the law. It's not just Amazon.com's guideline, but the FTC requires disclosure of free and ARC copies."

No the FTC doesn't. The FTC issued guidelines, which do not have the force of law. The FTC does not have the power to require disclosure of free products.

Amazon and Google do have the power to require reviewers (in Amazon's case) and bloggers (in Google's case) to observe certain rules to participate in their programs. Which they seem to have done. Although I doubt very much that this is what caused the disappearing reviews being claimed of here.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:02:09 PM PDT
Timothy, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think it all goes with where you stand with Amazon. Why do they delete worthwhile reviews but leave those that are stupid "I'm the first review" or "OMG, this character is so great."

I had this happen to my reviews in the past. I couldn't get in contact with anyone at Amazon and finally got a nasty email about how the refuse to discuss the matter further but still won't prove why they deleted the review.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:07:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 2:12:49 PM PDT
Actually, reading the guidelines today this is what they said (see point four - full disclosure)

Tips on writing a great review

* Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product, but also why. Feel free to talk about related products and how this item compares to them.
* Be specific: Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. For video reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.
* Not too short, not too long: Written reviews must be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.
* Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product--positive or negative. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers' buying decisions.
* Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. Reviews from the Amazon Vine™ program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:08:39 PM PDT
John Smith says:
jjceo, I'm sure you have nailed it. I hope someone at Amazon does recognize what is going on. Just goes to show how hard it is to catch cheaters without innocent people also getting caught in the net. The law of unintended consequences bites again.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:10:17 PM PDT
JBronder: At least they made a minimum amount of words; I remember the days of reviews "This book Sux!" or "This book Rox!"

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:12:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012, 2:21:23 PM PDT
What I would like to know is when they added that line. I do not remember this as being part of the guidelines way back when I started reviewing - then again, I have not read the guidelines in years.

never mind - Michelle answered my question. Thanks Michelle!

Posted on Sep 12, 2012, 2:16:34 PM PDT
Janet Boyer says:
It's not just you. I'm having my review of the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot systematically removed from Amazon--6 times in the last 48 hours! Here's the latest email, basically saying that the review is now there (it is NOT) and that they can't help me anymore:

Hello Janet,

Your review of "Ghosts & Spirits Tarot" was approved for posting and is displayed in the section with the other Customer Reviews.

You can see it here:

https://www.amazon.com/review/R370O85RFPA26I

I can also confirm that your reviews are now inside our guidelines with the removal of the links and only displaying one book by you.

I also understand you're upset and I regret that we haven't been able to address your concerns fully to your satisfaction. However, as your reviews are now within posted guidelines and all contain no links and only one book they should be approved from now on.
We won't be able to provide further insight or assistance for your request.

Thanks for your understanding.

Best Regards,

Aaron W.

Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earths Most Customer-Centric Company.
http://www.amazon.com/your-account

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:16:38 PM PDT
Grady Harp says:
AMEN!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:18:51 PM PDT
Very "nice"!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012, 2:21:42 PM PDT
Grady Harp says:
That is the same meaningless message I got - blah, blah, blah....
‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 15 Next ›
[Add comment]
Add your own message to the discussion
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Prompts for sign-in
 


Recent discussions in the Top Reviewers forum

 

This discussion

Discussion in:  Top Reviewers forum
Participants:  76
Total posts:  366
Initial post:  Sep 12, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 17, 2014

New! Receive e-mail when new posts are made.
Tracked by 19 customers