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Is Amazon deleting reviews?

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Showing 1-25 of 113 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Dec 2012 20:44:26 GMT
David Brake says:
Hey all,

Happy new year in advance!

Just a quick question - has Amazon been deleting reviews? I noticed this from the old Daily Mail (

I just checked mine and a 2 star review I did for Ian McEwan's Solar a while ago has disappeared (it wasn't my cup of tea and I guess I was in a bad mood!). Is this now a thing? I mean it's a bit irritating as I didn't think my review was that bad!

Looking for all those wiser than me to help me out! MY blood flow is a little slow after yesterday's Xmas lunch.

Cheers all,

Posted on 26 Dec 2012 20:54:29 GMT
Catherine says:
I have had one of my reviews deleted for no reason that I can see as it was a good one and I do not know the author. Also three 5* reviews of my book have been deleted. One was by my daughter-in-law, (which she admitted) but it was a genuine review. The relationship might be the reason. But the others?????

Posted on 26 Dec 2012 21:17:34 GMT
Amazon delete any reviews if they feel the reviewer and the author are connected at all, or if the authors involved are competing in the same genre, or if they don't like you andthere is an 'R' in the month.

Posted on 26 Dec 2012 21:43:43 GMT
Cuica says:
My Mum is gutted that she cannot review my books. As is my Mother-in-law.

Posted on 26 Dec 2012 21:49:34 GMT
Roroblu'sMum says:
I may be wrong, but I thought that if someone is connected with the book, say the author's beta-reader, and is not asking for payment or receiving any, and writesthe standard 'disclaimer' into the review, this was permissible? Is it that amazon deletes your review, or do they not 'take'?

Posted on 26 Dec 2012 22:05:17 GMT
Unconnected beta readers are fine, I believe as long as they have no other connection with the author, and declare the receipt of the copy. But one of my last beta readers is with the same publisher as I am, and her review was burned.

Posted on 27 Dec 2012 09:30:19 GMT
Catherine says:
How can they tell whether anyone is connected if that person does not admit it? Seems like a lot of detective work! My friend and editor posted a review for me, and admitted who she was, but it has not been deleted. I think you are right Will. If there's an R in the month. And authors who favour writing a particular genre, generally read that genre, therefore are probably the best people to review. (personally i read everything except vampires)

Posted on 27 Dec 2012 09:35:07 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
There's not much consistency in Amazon's deletions. I'd speculate they may do a sample check of reviews (and posts) periodically, and may also respond to complaints from other users. There appear to be some words/phrases that automatically trigger Amazon computers so that reviews/posts containing these get rejected immediately. (Recall writing a perfectly innocent comment about the dog Lassie, but using the word for a female dog stopped it from being posted!)
Whilst dodgy reviews have always been present in publishing, there's no doubt that sites such as Amazon have been particularly ill-used in this respect, and a high percentage of suspicious reviews and posts don't get deleted. Particularly in self-published work, time after time you find a book that has got a handful of reviews - all 5 star and nearly always by people who've never reviewed anything else; odds are these have been planted there by the author and/or their family and close associates. The same applies to a lot of the supposedly unbiased recommendations within these forums.
It's a shame really because it makes the ordinary customer highly suspicious of all reviews and posts.
I can only speak for myself, but I only take note of reviews by people who've submitted a reasonable number of reviews in the past, and I also tend to disregard 1* and 5* reviews. The most insightful comments usually come within the 2*-4* range.

Posted on 27 Dec 2012 14:08:24 GMT
I was wondering if it has to do with complaints, or reporting abuse. I had a review removed (ages ago) by Tony, who happens to be an author and just loved my shorts. He also read another book which he didn't like and posted a 2-star review. The author complained, and as a result Amazon deleted ALL of his reviews. They were all re-posted after they clarified.
With all the Indie hate going on, and jealousy between Indies, tagging and sabotaging, reporting, complaining, whining, and whatnot, plus the bad press with the bought and fake reviews used to manipulate the system, I'm not surprised Amazon tries to get it under control.
But, as always, they don't do it with a plan. *sigh*

Posted on 2 Jan 2013 14:21:08 GMT
Christian says:
I recently wrote a negative review of a book I had purchased through Amazon's Kindle store. The review was almost immediately deleted and, when I enquired why, Amazon advised that it was because I had a "financial interest" in this book. This accusation is as offensive as it is incorrect. As anyone with any common sense can see: I have never been involved in the authorship, publication, sale or distribution of this or any book in my life.

When I explained this to Amazon, and asked that they reinstate my review, they continually refused, constantly citing my "financial interest" in the book.

Clearly I have no such interest whatsoever; I merely read a dull book and felt I was entitled to write a negative review. My opinion now is that Amazon deleted my review because negative reviews impact sales. Bizarrely, a positive review I wrote at the same time, but for a different book, was published and has not been deleted. Clearly Amazon are engaging in the dishonest and, frankly disgusting, practice of arbitrarily deleting negative reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2013 16:45:16 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
It is worrying if Az is deleting adverse reviews for no good reason, although I have to say it's never happened to me even where I've been quite critical of a product. Given that there are so many phoney 5* reviews on books, we need all the critical reviews we can get (as long as they are genuine) to try and get some sense of balance.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2013 16:58:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jan 2013 16:59:27 GMT
monica says:
No, it wasn't because your review was negative, unless you've written a book yourself & amazon believes you wrote a negative review on a similar book to make your own look better. amazon's swooping down on reviewers who stand to profit from a book, reviewers who are given gift tokens in exchange for a review, reviewers who review books they wrote, and reviewers who behave in the way I mentioned in first sentence, and it's deleting. A lot. Must be a fairly large campaign, as it's been written about in newspapers. It's ridding the place of many of the worthless reviews but it's also deleting reviews that are perfectly valid along the way . . .

What I don't understand is amazon reasoning, to use the word loosely, that someone with a purported financial interest in a book would give it a negative review--makes no sense whatever.

Posted on 2 Jan 2013 18:42:08 GMT
Amazon are using software to search out and delete reviews. Inevitably, some legitimate reviews are lost in the process. I have found cached reviews that disappeared and added them in the book's description section. Checked over by Amazon before acceptance, all these lost reviews are now reinstated (but cannot be voted upon).

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2013 20:09:58 GMT
Garscadden says:
A financial interest isn't necessarily a positive financial interest, a competitor has a financial interest for example.

Posted on 2 Jan 2013 23:14:41 GMT
K. Gibson says:
I wrote a negative response to a book but I had so much hassle from the author and her mates that I deleted it myself. It wasn't worth the bother. The pathetic verbal abuse was uncalled for.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2013 23:34:38 GMT
Makes me so angry when I read something like that. So sorry you had the troubles. Some people are just plain idiots.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013 13:32:30 GMT
Anita says:
I honestly think you should *not* delete a negative review, just try to ignore the verbal abuse. A honest negative review *should* be there, I think. You wrote it for the other readers, not for the author, I suppose?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013 14:28:42 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
I suppose it depends if the abuse went direct to the reviewer or appeared as comments on Amazon. If the author's response to an adverse review is visible to the public it's best to leave it there; it will probably do far more damage to the author's reputation than the original review!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013 15:18:16 GMT
Anita says:
I did not imagine abuse going to the reviewer by personal e-mails or being even physical. I do imagine attacks on Amazon, like calling the reviewer a career murderer, a sad little <***> who should get a life, and you go worse from there.

I do think the author's and their friends' attacks like that should be left as public as possible

Posted on 3 Jan 2013 15:46:08 GMT
Roroblu'sMum says:
Amazon's system seems to be a bit one-sided and random - there is a certain publishing house that often runs Kindle freebies for a day, and each author with a freebie seems to get a 5* review from her/his fellow-authors, who don't even bother to hide their names. It's totally evident, as on the 'blurb' for each freebie, there's also info about the other freebies on offer, along the lines of 'if you like this', followed by blurb on the other books. Not sure how this manages to bypass amazon's techbot, or does this happen as there are sales off the back of this? One particular instance was so blatantly obvious, as all 5/6 'inter-reviewers' all had short stories in an antho by the same publisher.

There are also a lot of 5* reviews on mediocre books, clearly done by the author's friends-and-family brigade, yet this apparently goes unnoticed. I recently reviewed a 1* book where there was a UK 5* review under one reviewer's name, and on the US site, the same exact, word-for-word review appeared under a totally different reviewer's name.

As to abuse - in 2007, the US site was forced to intervene after a reviewer's daughter and horse were targeted by an author's posse, after the reviewer posted a 3* review, and on her 'About Me' page, was apparently a picture of her next to a 'for sale' poster for the horse, which had a location and contact number. The posse tracked her down, made threats against the family, but action was only taken after police got involved. And, the author is with Kensington, not a tiny publisher, and is still writing (sorry, I am worried about stating her name here, in case the same comes my way!) and her books are still being sold on amazon. Have a look at the author's tweet, from 2008, posted on Dear Author:

Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband's
name, her chidrens' names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her
address phone number and email
lol-quite interesting.

Frightening, really. I got abused by one guy last year, who didn't like one of my reviews, who then spent ages trawling through 18 months of my reviews to apparently illustrate his point, then another guy stepped in to defend my reviews (no one I know), and he ended up getting abused by the same guy, so much so, that it deteriorated to a degree that I had to report the abuser to amazon. I've since made sure that my About Me page has the bare min info.

Posted on 3 Jan 2013 17:08:00 GMT
M. Dowden says:
ROROBLU'S MUM, it is a sad and worrying thing. Nowadays the crazies are coming out of the woodwork, and with the internet it is much simpler than the old days of physical stalking, etc. Some authors take bad reviews personally, although in a lot of cases no one is being rude to them, and if they thought about it the criticism is more towards the publishing houses. I know that at times I have been very critical with a book's back cover blurb, which the author doesn't really have anything to do with. You pick a book up and expect it to resemble the brief synopsis on the back, not be completely different, and in some cases outright lies.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2013 13:04:47 GMT
Ken Smith says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 4 Jan 2013 15:18:10 GMT
M. Dowden says:
Ken, there are vary valid reasons for one and two star reviews. There are for instance books on the kindle site that are ultimately just adverts, and some that don't in any way match the descriptions. With free books in the kindle popular classics there are those that aren't complete, or with poetry badly formatted. On top of this think of toys that break in a couple of days, electrical goods that are shoddily made, etc. I would say on average, with the vast majority of reviewers, they review things that they like or are pleased with. But everyone has things that they aren't pleased with, and with reviews that show that then we can be all be better informed. I always think of the problem with those Beko fridge/ freezers. When my neighbour across the road came home from work they didn't expect the rest of us who were home earlier to have the fire brigade out as they had a fire in their home. We were supplying blankets, drinks and food and finding her somewhere to spend the night, all because of a faulty appliance. It was at least a year or so later that the story came out that there were loads of such fires.

I will admit though that there are some just nasty reviews on here, where people don't like someone and are very nasty about it.

Posted on 4 Jan 2013 15:33:39 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
What would be the point of Amazon having a review system spanning the five stars, if no-one ever used the two lower ratings? The system is there to help customers assess whether or not a product will suit their needs and, provided the reviews honestly reflect a purchaser's opinions, a critical review can be just as useful (sometimes more so) than gushing praise. I agree that quite a lot of 1* reviews may be unnecessarily harsh (although that's more than made up for by the excessive number of OTT 5* reviews), but if someone's parted with their hard-earned cash and they've ended up being disappointed they have every right to say so. For my own part, I tend to disregard both 1* and 5* reviews and usually find that the most helpful and balanced comments come within the 2-4* range.

Posted on 4 Jan 2013 15:39:11 GMT
Ken Smith says:
Goods that are shoddy or dangerous deserve 1 or 2 star reviews and people need to be warned about them. But a book is really something else, which is why I compared it to food. I have read a fair few books that were dire to say the least but I just cannot see the point of giving them 1 star unless I wanted to be spiteful. And as you say, some people are very spiteful on Amazon. At the end of the day the next person who buys the book may think it's great. Sadly for the author, he will not take the trouble to give it 5 stars.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  37
Total posts:  113
Initial post:  26 Dec 2012
Latest post:  27 May 2016

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