The last month or so as seen some blogs and internet waterholes buzzing with people stating some their Amazon reviews had been disappearing. This includes reviews people have written themselves and reviews on their very own books.
This lead me to check out some of the books from Book Cover Cafe authors and those from peers. I noticed a couple of reviews had been removed, one of those was mine I did for a peer, but still an honest review of the book. I periodically check in on various books from Book Cover Cafe authors to see how they’re tracking along. All in all, those books I checked were largely unaffected.
Some people haven’t been as lucky, some having up to 10 or 15 reviews removed, leaving the authors waving their hands with rage wondering what the hell is going on.
Amazon’s new review filtering system
It looks as though Amazon is filtering through all the reviews using what I and many believe is a new automated tool, programmed to tick off items on a checklist that determines if a review is genuine and not abiding by Amazon’s review guidelines.
The reason Amazon has done this, is because they’ve received complaints from a handful of writers and authors about dodgy and fake Amazon accounts being created, along with a petition with hundreds of names of writers and authors. I noticed many of those who signed the petition are those selling well enough not to have to worry about reviews.
Update: There’s also the possibility, without confirmation from an Amazon statement, that this could be also motivated by new regulation laws.
I don’t condone fake reviews by any means, but a lot of honest reviews and struggling authors have/are being really affected by this. A better filtering method or improved algorithm perhaps that:
- Checks that the account has a credit card attached to it, if not, ban it
- Then make sure that credit card hasn’t been used for more than one account
I’m sure there’s other technicalities involved, but these are just an examples.
Despite this occurrence …
This doesn’t shake up my personal view of Amazon. I believe they have some in aspects single-handedly moved the needle for the publishing industry and independent authors. Amazon is without question an online pioneering company helping shape the future of online business, consumerism and the consumption of entertainment.
Amazon reviews still remain one of the key metrics for books to rank, so don’t let this stop you focusing on getting as many genuine reviews from readers as possible.
I understand what they’re fundamentally trying to do, putting in place a system to help keep order and honesty in Amazon’s public review system.
The outcry, outrage and bewilderment of hundreds if not thousands of authors is understandable as each and every single review is of vital importance to new authors. So these unfortunate circumstances are a clear sign this new automated system is taking massive casualties, in the form of numerous honest reviews also being removed.
Moving forward …
I can see Amazon improving this algorithm. It’s been put in place now with some invested dollars so it’s not going anywhere, but will be improved overtime no doubt (I hope).
The thing is…
Will this move now cause people to think twice or not bother to leave reviews at all?
Do you think Amazon should have just left this alone, considering it’s such a small minority in the bigger scheme of things?
What do you think? Comment below.