I have no clue what I did, but over the past two weeks Amazon has removed several of the reviews for The Watchmage of Old New York, and blocked at least five (people have told me that their reviews were blocked). I’m now down to 18 reviews, and who knows how far it will fall.
I don’t understand what I did wrong. I’ve never broken the terms and conditions or tried anything shady. Hell, I don’t even let my family leave reviews for fear of breaking terms. I guess i’m just unlucky.
They also removed several reviews that I’ve left on products and books. I think that this is kinda funny, but funny sad. They send me emails asking for reviews on this and that product, but it’s those reviews that get removed.
This is part of a new policy by Amazon, and one that I agree with. They are cracking down on fake reviews like “sock puppets” and paid reviews. This is important, as fake reviews ruin the integrity of all reviews. Since Amazon’s promotions algorithms rely on review numbers, of course people are going to cheat. I don’t like cheaters. I like it less when I suffer for their cheating.
They are also taking down legit ones from verified (paying) customers. I have made quite a few fans through my books, and I often add them as friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. This is pretty normal. I want to interact with them. Those reviews are getting flagged. I understand that they could look like a conflict of interests, but aren’t people allowed to review? Why is their right taken away? They bought the book, let them have their say.
The other thing is that they are taking down reviews from other authors, good or bad. Again, I understand the problem. They don’t want authors leaving nasty reviews against the competition or glowing reviews in exchange for the same. Yet every (good) author I know reads voraciously. We read each other’s books. Sometimes we like them, sometimes not. By blocking them, you’re blocking the majority of reviewers. I’ve given both good and bad reviews, but not I have to stay quiet.
I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t think that I did anything wrong. I’ve never traded quid pro quo. I’ve never paid for a review. Since Amazon only promotes books with a certain amount of reviews, this directly affects my exposure.
I have to find a new way to find the audience, because Amazon isn’t making things easy. If anyone has an idea, please let me know. I have no idea what I’m doing, and I can’t afford to give any more away.
I really don’t want to bitch and moan. I simply feel that this is a clumsy way of stopping fake reviews. Go after the obvious ones first and punish them. Don’t go for the little guys like me. Start at the top, not the bottom.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Love ya much.