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Is Amazon deleting reviews?

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Showing 51-75 of 115 posts in this discussion
Posted on 6 Jan 2013, 16:47:27 GMT
I think there's more outrage about the five-star reviews than the one-star reviews, Stella. You don't hear of reviewers redressing the balance by writing a five-star review on a book that received only one-star reviews, but many reviewers openly admit to writing one-star reviews if they see a book with only five-star reviews.

Posted on 6 Jan 2013, 22:02:14 GMT
Kindlefan says:
I live in a mansion block - a number of us use the same WiFi.
I read a book - reviewed it and recommended it to friends - they liked it too and placed reviews. When the third one went on - Amazon deleted them all. Presumably Amazon linked the IP addresses of the reviews. We paid for the book - had our say and Amazon decided we were not entitled to express our opinion. They are a big company and can afford to treat their customers like crap. Read this comment NOW before the thought police delete it.

Posted on 6 Jan 2013, 22:23:32 GMT
I Readalot says:
Part of the problem is that people get the wrong idea about what the stars mean, 1* = I hated it and 5* = I loved it. There is nothing wrong with someone not enjoying a book as long as they say why and not just say, it s rubbish (or words to that effect), we all like different things after all. Maybe they don't get on with writing style or find the characters uninteresting. Sometimes the very things that one person dislikes about a novel are the very things that someone else will enjoy. I read quite a few books with very little plot, some readers find these kind of books boring and could well give them 1* while I would possibly give them 4 or 5. Authors should not take 1 or 2 stars as a personal insult but accept that not everyone is going to appreciate what they have written.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jan 2013, 22:31:49 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
Kindlefan's experience is unfortunate, but I can understand Az's position. Whilst this particular case may have involved perfectly genuine reviews, a situation where numerous reviews emanate from the same building is bound to look suspect. It's a sad fact that the shenanigans of some writers and their associates has made people highly suspicious of reviews (and forum posts) and inevitably that mistrust will sometimes encompass contributions that may be quite genuine.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013, 05:32:25 GMT
Marion Stein says:
In the days when we are all in encouraged to "social network" for professional reasons, the idea of connection is pretty ambiguous. There are people who "met" me on these forum pages and decided to check out the book as a result, will Amazon be deleting their reviews because we somehow made a connection?

"Self-published" isn't a genre, but given that a large part of the market for self-published books seems to be other self-published writers, it seems nuts to exclude them from writing reviews. Kind of like excluding romance readers from reviewing romance books.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013, 07:24:07 GMT
Kindlefan says:
To be clear - each review was made as an Amazon Verified purchase. If you buy the book you should be entitled to place a review. There are sites dedicated to self published authors where authors post links to their books and exchange reviews without either party having purchased or read the content. These are the people who are causing the problem.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013, 08:58:16 GMT
"... given that a large part of the market for self-published books seems to be other self-published writers"

And that is because of all the networking. Somehow it saddens me to read such a statement. I have made it beforehand, too, but I find it should be 'pure' readers who buy our books, not other authors. Networking should be used to support each other before publishing, by exchanging reads to find faults in the mss, not after publishing by exchanging purchase and reviews.
The problem is, and it has proven to be a problem, that people are likely to play the system; some have even put open requests out on here. Networking is meant to have people say, hey I know someone who could use your skills, get in touch with so and so, at least that's how I use it.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013, 08:59:17 GMT
That and those who can't take a negative review and attack everyone who dares not to love their baby.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013, 09:40:53 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
To be fair, the problem of authors endorsing other authors' work is not confined to the SP market. It's a common (but unwelcome) practice in conventional publishing and it's often completely false. When you see some of the rubbish given a ringing endorsement by another established writer (usually one from the same publishing house) you really do wonder if the latter has actually even heard of the book they are recommending, let alone read it! However, two wrongs don't make a right - these are supposed to be customer reviews and I don't think mutual back-slapping by writers really falls under that heading.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013, 11:02:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jan 2013, 11:02:38 GMT
I know. Though I've never given any credit to those endorsements on the book jacket. A review here on Amazon is still a slightly different thing, I find. They are there for me to make a decision, particularly important for self-published books as the quality range is so wide.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013, 16:00:20 GMT
Saunders says:
it is interesting to read all these comments but you need to aim them at Amazon. They have clear guidlines for what should and should not be stated in a review and if an author is throwing temper tantrums based on a honest review they need to be reported.

I wrote a negative review on a recent download and the author told me that "whilst she accepted my opinion" she wanted me to alter some of the things that I said. Nope was the answer. If she didnt like it she should not be on Amazon. So do not be bullied by authors!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jan 2013, 21:21:07 GMT
Marion Stein says:
People have gamed the system, but that doesn't mean I have to lose a big part of my audience. I was looking through the Goodreads list of people who rated one of my novellas. Some of them were familiar names from a writing site. A few I'd "met" in forums like this. Others were strangers. Going through the ones I didn't know, I found a good number were also Goodreads authors. Am I supposed to assume they gave me four or five stars randomly hoping I'd return the favor? If they did, they're idiots. Am I not allowed to rate books on Goodreads that I've read because they've also been self-published?

I agree it's a shame there's a stigma to self-publishing. I love when I get reviews from readers who don't also write books, or have a blog where they review books, or normally even participate in forums for that matter, but getting my stuff into the hands of those folks is difficult, and if they do read it, I doubt they'd even think of writing a review.

Posted on 7 Jan 2013, 22:30:55 GMT
As an Indie author myself, I was perplexed as to why some reviews of my books had disappeared. I can assure you that I had no connection whatsoever to the people who had written the 4/5 star reviews and think it's wrong of Amazon to penalise everybody when the reviews are genuine. They should just be seeking out those authors who complain about negative reviews and demand to have them removed. It's unfair that several good reviews have been removed as Amazon have deemed them as 'fake'.
I have many bad reviews for my books (probably shouldn't admit that! Lol!) and have never once complained to Amazon. I don't see the point. In the end, yes some of the reviews may be harsh but as the saying goes 'sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.' Everyone's entitled to their opinion at the end of the day and I always take on board the comments to help me improve on my writing skills. Yes, it's like a knife to the heart that someone didn't like my book (I'm not going to lie and say that it's not hurtful) but you get over it. You learn from your mistakes. After all, practice makes perfect.
However, that said, if the negative reviews are personally attacking the author (ie, name-calling or a full blown slagging match) just because they didn't like their book then Amazon should take action as it is a form of bullying. I'm saying this about authors who don't reply to the negative reviews since if you do reply (and have a b***h fit) you are really shooting yourself in the foot! Then there are the reviews that are very unhelpful (ie. stating comments such as 'this sucks' or 'don't buy this book' without stating why they didn't like the book). This type of review bugs the hell out of me! Many times I browse reviews for a book I like the sound of and I always check out all of the reviews just to find that the 1 star reviews moan about how the book sucks but fail to specify why. One example was 'ok. not that sad but wasnt super good or anything. quic read. i need to write more so blah haa grrr' and Amazon still published this??? I really don't get it at all.

Posted on 8 Jan 2013, 02:32:40 GMT
Marion Stein says:
If they are going to delete reviews, frankly the ones they should delete are the ones with spoilers and no warnings about them. I feel like I can pick out a b.s. review, but once you've been told whodunit the game is over.

Posted on 8 Jan 2013, 08:38:05 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
The one key thing we must remember is these are customer reviews. They are there for the benefit of customers; not writers, nor - indeed - for reviewers. It is the customer that Az should consider above all else when moderating reviews. If they have doubts about the bona fides of reviews I think this is one case where it is better not to give the benefit of the doubt and they are quite right not to publish; I actually wish Amazon was more pro-active in this respect as their site is strewn with dubious reviews.
Given that there are a reasonable number of quite critical reviews to be found (at least that tends to be the case with conventionally published books) I don't get any sense that Az are deleting reviews simply because they might impact on sales. I suspect that where adverse reviews are deleted it's more likely because the reviewer may have written something that could leave Az open to litigation, or - again - doubts about authenticity.

Posted on 8 Jan 2013, 09:37:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Jan 2013, 14:29:51 GMT
The problem is that the system Amazon has originally put in place is product reviews: you buy a remote control or hoover and tell others if you're happy with the product.
Applying the same system for books has to fail. No surprises there.

Edited: stupid typo

Posted on 8 Jan 2013, 13:37:01 GMT
@Ken - I cannot understand why anyone finds the need to post a 1 or 2 star review. What an earth is gained by it? You cannot possibly like all you purchase. I wonder how much food you have bought that you did not like. Would you go hunting for a place to review it.

Because some self-published Kindle authors have written books which blatantly rip-off content from Wikipedia. They just copy and paste the text and upload it as an e-book. Legally they aren't doing anything wrong as all user-submitted content to Wikipedia is in the public domain. But if you spent a few quid purchasing a book only to find it's 90% full of content which you can find online for free then you have a right to be annoyed and such books deserve a 1-star review. The authors are just lazy and out to make a quick buck.

There's even an e-book containing the full transcripts of the Nuremberg trials of 1946, despite the entire proceedings being available for free on a website called the Avalon project. What a complete rip-off.

The Nuremberg Trials - The Complete Proceedings Vol: 1 The Indictment and Opening Statements (The Third Reich from Original Sources)

Posted on 8 Jan 2013, 13:48:34 GMT
M. Dowden says:
Potsdamerplatz, there are loads of books like that available on this site. I forget the name of the reviewer but I think he is currently in the top 10, if you go through his reviews you will find that he has put down loads of reviews telling you where the material has come from (i.e. wiki) so that people don't get conned into buying those books.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jan 2013, 23:21:36 GMT
Marion Stein says:
For that matter a lot of people simply create an imprint and put up public domain content. Don't know if Amazon restricts that or how much you can charge for it, but consumers need to be aware before they overspend on that kind of stuff. Some stuff that is available free elsewhere on the net can also be converted to mobi form for Kindle users.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013, 08:02:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2013, 08:32:14 GMT
Ethereal says:
"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."

Not only being helpful to other readers but authors too. Some on these forums have thanked reviewers for pointing out problems, correcting some errors, and even where it's a matter of taste they can aid readers so good for the author. For instance, I bought a book based on a poor review because what that reader hated I liked.
ETA: I'm not into reviewing but do take part in writing workshops and am used to critiquing others' works, so I'd review all books as objectively as possible and neither spite nor adoration would come into it. I imagine many avid reviewers are the same, though there are no doubt some spite reviews as there are gushing author/friend/family ones, which probably even out.
And when people have wasted time or money on a poor book in their opinion it's understandable they might want to warn others and let off steam!
As a reader I tend to ignore most 1 and 5 star reviews anyway as being the extremes and can't imagine giving either of those ratings to any book.

Posted on 9 Jan 2013, 19:13:38 GMT
Marion Stein says:
"I bought a book based on a poor review because what that reader hated I liked."
Good point, and I think one reason writers should be less crazed about "bad" reviews. I've had the opposite experience. I've stayed away from books with five star reviews when those reviews revealed reasons why I would probably hate the book. I've never left a one or two star review on Amazon, mostly because I've never actually bought or gotten through a book I think deserved one. If it's that bad or that wrong for me, I'll figure it out before I buy it.

There's one self-published book out there that I would love to give a bad review to. I haven't because as a writer, I'm afraid of backlash. I haven't actually read it, though I read an excerpt and the sample. The book's premise is just outrageously offensive and the plot is ridiculous. I wouldn't give it a bad review for its ridiculousness. Some readers like that kind of thing, but the premise really promotes hate. I've peeked at the reviews for it on occasion. A few point this out and call it hate-mongering, but most people review it favorably and seem to find the premise chilling and believable. That's scary to me. It also goes to show how useless customer reviews for books are.

Posted on 9 Jan 2013, 19:47:53 GMT
But reviewing a book you haven't read is useful?

You said the premise is ridiculous and promotes hate. Just walk away. You don't need to buy it if it's not your thing. If others like it, it's their choice.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013, 20:14:00 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Stella -- I generally don't think reviewing a book I haven't read is useful, and as I've said, I haven't reviewed it. I wouldn't read it because that would mean buying it which would mean supporting it which I won't do. But it's a hateful book. It promotes hate toward a group of people. I recognize that this may be some people's thing, but I think a lot of the readers of that book, aren't even getting it on that level, and there should be a dialogue about it. I also recognize that the book doesn't violate Amazon standards or reach the level of "hate speech" that would ban it in some countries. The "what if" premise protects it from that.

I think in case like that, to protest it, and it's clear what it is from both what I have read of it and from other reviews, using the customer comments to point out what it is would be appropriate.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013, 21:18:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2013, 21:26:01 GMT
Ethereal says:
If other reviews point out the hate-mongering I can't see what's to be gained by adding yours except the satisfaction of voicing your own objection, which of course you're at liberty to do, and if some readers haven't "got it" there's no reason to think your input would make that difference?
I agree it's not a good idea to do that without reading the entire thing (thus avoid making yourself a bigger target), which would mean unwillingly putting money in that author's pocket and ploughing through the book, as well as the backlash you spoke of as a writer ... I guess it depends how strongly you feel.
ETA: Notoriety might even increase the book's sales, human nature being what it is ...

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jan 2013, 21:26:12 GMT
I just stumbled over the sentence of you saying that there's one book you wish to give a negative review, despite not having read it.

It's like saying I don't like the author and therefore give him a negative review. In my books that's not right.

If you want to talk about it, fine. I think it's healthy, but not on the review form. Write a blog post about it, open a dialogue on here, on the fiction forum by starting a thread.
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Initial post:  26 Dec 2012
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