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Is Amazon deleting reviews?


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Posted on 27 May 2016 01:03:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 May 2016 01:04:32 BDT
The Bub says:
Amazon deleted a couple of reviews from one of my books because they believed I knew the reviewers (I didn't know one of them at all). The other reviewer I have only met as a result of writing and we genuinely like each other's work. But note the word 'believed'. They don't have proof because they were wrong in the case of the other reviewer. Reviews mean a lot to authors not least because the number of reviews can give you access to certain promotions as well as many other obvious benefits eg visibility. So I am appalled at Amazon's stand. I know of no other sites where this happens 'on a whim'. And yet they recommend my own books to me and invite me to review them! Go figure.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2016 21:03:26 BDT
Anita says:
I like crime fiction. Not as much as science fiction, maybe, but still.

However I do hate when readers do that. Hello? Once they *know* they are reading crime fiction, they should be looking for clues. And if an author fails to give any (or fails to deliver on ones he/she does give), it's probably a bad author.

As a reader I do like looking for clues. And then feeling very clever at the end :) - hey, I guessed it! It's even better when the author still manages to totally deceive the reader at the end. That is the masterstroke of a detective storyteller.

As an example, in The Girl on the Train there are a lot of clues - but you get them only after you know the answer

In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2016 09:30:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 May 2016 09:32:58 BDT
Chris Graham says:
Anita... Your comment: "Not really sure if something like a story is good for a review..." has it back to front. Authors rely on reviews to tell them they're being read. We're delicate little souls who need reassuring. However, poor product reviews and service reviews can ruin businesses when posted maliciously.

Seriously, though, even poor reviews help us a lot. We find out from them what readers think, and we can bear those thoughts in mind when we write our next novel... often publishers, proof readers, and editors don't read in the same way as the general public.
For example, I sent a pdf of a novel to a friend's wife, who was an avid reader of crime novels (my genre). Fortunately it was before the book was published because she told me she enjoyed reading it, but she hadn't understood the ending... 'Who killed him?'... and 'Why's that murder scene at the end of the book?... What's that all about?'... yet it was the essence of the book. The revenge that defined the main 'bad guy'.
It transpired that she scan reads through the descriptions, to concentrate on the action scenes, so had missed the clues. It seems that many 'entertainment' readers do this. I went back into the book, and laid a few more clues that didn't give away what would be happening... or at least not to whom, but hopefully would be remembered by the reader when they read the ending so that it would make sense. - I like my books to have a nice, neat, but unexpected, conclusion... followed by a sting in the tail on the last page that surprises the reader.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 May 2016 23:26:27 BDT
Anita says:
I guess the "verified purchase" logo serves two purposes: (1) Amazon convey the idea that someone bought it (a book) on Amazon, and (2) They are telling you, that the review is written by a complete stranger who bought the book, not by the author's wife or mother, or brother, or yet someone close, who got the manuscript directly from the author. Something what was happening a *lot* several years ago.

On the other hand, it's a bit misleading. Personally, I do read a lot of books I buy elsewhere - or don't even buy at all (but I don't know the author). I get to read quite a lot of books without having to buy them. I guess a lot of people could say the same.

<Unrelated, just for fun> I was quite tempted to review this thing (well, I didn't, due to being lazy). I never bought it on Amazon. Actually I bought it in Spain, because it looked like a tremendous fun as a souvenir to bring back home. I also had a fit of paranoia: will I be allowed into the airplane with such a sharp and dangerous object?? :) (Not really sure if something like a story is good for a review...)

Posted on 10 May 2016 07:40:40 BDT
Chris Graham says:
Yes, Reviewer, I agree. As a novelist, I obviously like to get reviews. They help with the way Amazon promotes work in their laughable 'buyers also bought' section. However, I'm not sure how important the 'verified purchase' logo is. Books get passed to others to read, especially paperbacks, and of course review copies are often e-mailed as pdf files to reviewers... are those reviews less valid? Of course people who know the author are more likely to post a review. They feel a duty to, unlike most readers who don't bother even when they love or hate a book. But this works both ways. 'Someone who knows you' is not always 'someone who likes you'. If I recognise a reviewer of one of my books, I mentally cringe if they've posted five stars... even when I know from others that the reviewer really did enjoy the book. I'd rather have a dozen three or four star 'considered' reviews, than a few 'Brilliant!!' or 'Awesome!' (I hate the misuse of that word.) or even just 'Good book' reviews with the full five stars. Somehow the ones where the reviewer has taken time to think are more credible.

Posted on 10 May 2016 00:49:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2016 00:54:36 BDT
Reviewer says:
Amazon seem to delete reviews for no logical reason. Phrases akin to "We didn't like your previous review" isn't a reason, especially if that review was a basic " jolly good piece of equipment/book" and no more. Similarly if they think there is a link between you and the seller. No explanation as to what that link is or what methods they use to locate it. A link could be totally accidental. If their employees have time to spend hours reading through thousands of reviews and dismissing a proportion of them, seemingly ad lib then sound logical reasons should be given. And what about all the fake goods that are sold? Is anything being done to curtail that? I think allowing buyers to review goods is a mistake. They can make or break the seller. It happens with restaurants when rival companies write negative reviews on Trip Advisor. Better just to advertise the goods - for which they are well paid - and not interfere further. I only look at 2/3 star reviews anyway as do most people I know. It's a shame because, apart from that, they are a really good company. I buy almost everything from them and the service is excellent. "I'll check Amazon" is the first thing our family say when they want to buy anything.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2015 09:50:15 GMT
Chris Graham says:
"I agree it's a shame there's a stigma to self-publishing. "

I'm afraid that there will always be a stigma to self publishing as long as SP authors allow books, that aren't ready for publication, to be offered for sale.

I'm reading a crime novel at present that has a lot of potential. The plot looks promising - so far - the sense of 'place' is excellent, and the characterisation is great (with an interesting frissance between the protagonists).
However, the book needs the attentions of a good editor, which is why authors go through the traumas of getting accepted by publishers and agents.
Some of the problems could be sorted by a really careful proof read, without relying on spelling and grammar checking software that frequently misses the subtleties of the English language. Other faults are down to the writer's apparent unfamiliarity with the conventions of layout. Conventions that are used to ensure clarity.
His dialogue is very difficult to follow, even though it reflects well the speech patterns of the characters. He is obviously unaware of the golden rule of starting a new paragraph each time a different speaker begins to speak. (even if only a single word is utttered)
It makes it clear who is speaking, often even if the new speaker isn't actually identified.

There are also a lot of 'broken' words, missing or inappropriate punctuation marks (possibly left in the text after earlier editing) and minor errors from lack of research. If you must use the name of a particular brand of malt whisky, then spell it correctly... and don't refer to a malt from Scotland as 'Whiskey'. That's worse than pointing out that Jesus's 'real' parents weren't married to each other by using a popular colloquial word for a child of unmarried parents. Scotch Whisky has no 'e' in it... unlike the Irish or American versions. There are other similar minor mistakes that could have so easily been researched with a visit to a supermarket's booze shelves.
I'm guessing that as the author's name suggests a certain ethnic origin, he may be from an alcohol free culture so would be unfamiliar with the stuff. OK, fair enough, but do the research instead.
I write crime, but I'm not a criminal... so I research some of the details to get them right.
Then I proof read, then proof read, then proof read again. Even then, the odd typo will slip through, but not the glaring errors.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2015 09:17:51 GMT
Chris Graham says:
Does this mean that a review I posted for a book that Amazon only sold in Kindle format, so I got as a pdf from the publisher, will be suspected as dodgy?
Of course it wouldn't show as a verified purchase, but I'd bought it just the same. I've also reviewed a book that was bought direct from the author at a signing (in hard copy form). Is that suspect too?

I hope my own books don't cause this kind of mayhem when my publisher releases them towards the end of the year.

PS: Amazon.....I've got a Kindle now, so you can relax....You'll get your verified purchase. (unless it's on free offer from other providers!)

Posted on 17 Feb 2015 10:55:22 GMT
carol arnall says:
At one time Amazon employed reviewers. Times changed, the reviewers were suddenly shown the door. Amazon then opened the doors wide allowing readers to review the books etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2015 09:51:01 GMT
gille liath says:
I read somewhere that you can ask them to delete your reviews en masse - but that you may then be banished evermore from their gates.

What comments did they not want to publish? In the early days of reviews it used to be very hit and miss whether your review would be published at all - I think because in those days someone was supposed to read them before posting and often they didn't have time/couldn't be bothered.

Posted on 16 Feb 2015 12:00:42 GMT
Bob W says:
So annoyed with Amazon not publishing my comments I want to delete ALL my reviews 30+ pages of reviews, is this possible or must it be one at a time?
Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2013 22:14:36 BDT
Marand says:
Couldn't agree more, IR

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2013 19:52:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Aug 2013 19:55:52 BDT
gille liath says:
It's not elitist to say that reviews are pointless unless they say something about the product that is coherent, well-founded and specific. The majority don't.

That's from the reader's POV; I think for Amazon, they're more an engine of customer loyalty. Much better than a bonus card...

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2013 19:11:35 BDT
I Readalot says:
That's a bit elitist isn't it? Amazon reviewers are not pro's just enthusiastic readers and are as capable of saying why they like or don't like a book as anyone else. Of course there are some bad and downright pointless reviews but it is easy enough to ignore them. I have actually read reviews that show a far better command of the English language than many an sp author.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2013 19:05:12 BDT
I Readalot says:
Watch out, your post containing those words might get deleted as well :)

Posted on 2 Aug 2013 17:40:53 BDT
Chris says:
I've had two reviews deleted by Amazon. One contained the word sod, and the other bugger. Wouldn't like to go for a drink with the person who flagged those up as inappropriate :).

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2013 17:39:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Aug 2013 17:55:26 BDT
Chris says:
Sounds to me like you should be posting in seller feedback rather than reviews. Maybe that's the issue.

Posted on 2 Aug 2013 17:07:29 BDT
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Posted on 2 Aug 2013 15:10:44 BDT
I have been trying to complain about the NON- DELIVERY of a recently purchased product. AMAZON, a nearby Neighbor keeps telling me they reject my review of a NON-DELIVERED purchase. Maybe they don't like to return stolen money or post reviews that may suggest they don't care about customer service or any due legal recourse by those they steal from?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2013 10:35:23 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 20 Jan 2013 10:38:09 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2013 10:18:24 GMT
I think it's all about what the author wants. I had friends stop reading my book, saying, it's not their thing. Nothing wrong with that. I still love them.

I think, though, that friends won't post anything less than 4 or 5 stars. Friends will go and tell the person in private when they find it's utter crap, but don't go and post a 1-star review. But they're likely to post a 4- or 5-star review if they really liked the book. It's either people who really find lots of faults with books who post 1- or 2-star reviews or people who have beef with the author.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jan 2013 09:18:00 GMT
Steven says:
how can a review from an authors friend/family be completely honest? if the mother-in-law gives your book 1 star then that is going to make sunday lunch an uncomfortable experience isn't it? I'm not personally bothered as long as the reviewer is up front that they know the author as I can then disregard the review. I think some authors need to be careful that all their reviews don't come from people who know them as this looks suspitious to readers.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jan 2013 23:33:08 GMT
Saunders says:
Disagree Sou'Wester. The reviews are for the benefit for the customer AND the writer. Amazon have posted clear guidelines what they expect and what should be in a review - I honestly think they are a waste of time as some of the reviews I have seen and read breach the very guidelines that are meant to help. They should stick to their principles and their guidelines!

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 14:03:38 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2013 14:41:40 GMT
Ethereal says:
Nothing wrong with standing up to be counted either, in fact the benefits to your reputation as a writer could outweigh any backlash you might receive - so long as it's handled the right way.
I add that last because, unlike Stella, although I don't think there's anything wrong with putting your objections in a review, which after all is commenting on the premise of the story and not about dislike of the author, I suspect it would simply get lost.
And perhaps a thread on here isn't the right way to go either for the same reason - I'm now thinking Stella's suggestion of a blog is a better idea, whether or not the book in question is named or could be discerned but the focus is on the principle.
What I find interesting is how much responsibility and morality lies with the author when devising a premise for a story, and how much it matters if at all that not all readers pick up these underlying themes.
ETA: It's impossible to judge this case without knowing details but could be the author didn't realise - I've read some critique on Gone With The Wind which you mentioned earlier and the way background slavery was portrayed there was probably unconsciously done. Which brings me back to my question about responsibility ..

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2013 13:28:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jan 2013 13:31:43 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Hey Monica --
That hadn't even occurred to me. It's still a distant second. Ethereal's comment is pointing to something. If other people have said the same thing (though in this case, not nearly enough of them) then how much is this about ME wanting to shout, "I am outraged"?
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  37
Total posts:  113
Initial post:  26 Dec 2012
Latest post:  29 days ago

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