by Brenda Perlin
Even though I am an author, I still love reading books of my choice and enjoy the luxury of being able to leave an appropriate review. I know how nice it feels to receive a positive one myself. More than that I do feel good writing should be rewarded. You can see this by my Amazon top reviewer raking which is 1,746 at the moment. Seems I have left 633 reviews on Amazon since June 27, 2012.
Last month while I was trying to leave a review for a smashing new release, one that I paid for and indeed read, I was told by Amazon via email that my review was removed because it didn’t follow the Amazon guidelines. I scratched my head. Did I use any strong language? Give away too much information? I couldn’t imagine what I did wrong until the Amazon review moderator got back to me via email explaining that as a reviewer you must NOT know the author. They stated that, and I quote, “We are unable to post your review because your account activity indicates that you know the author. We encourage family and friends to share their enthusiasm for the book through our Customer Discussions feature or Editorial Reviews feature.” That blew me away. I mean, most of us indie authors know each other in one form or another. Mostly we know each other from social media. I mean, isn’t that why SOCIAL MEDIA got its name?
I tried to explain to them that I did not know this particular author. I bought and read the book. There was no malice but I might as well been talking to a great big concrete wall. It was like having a conversation with robots? Maybe the robots have taken over the Amazon hemisphere because there was no humanity or reasoning with this so called “review appeals board.”
I have noticed that I am not the first reviewer to have experienced this very same problem. Author Christopher Fischer writes on his blog that he “woke up to this message:
Hello from Amazon.com We are writing to inform you that we have removed your review privileges and suppressed all of your reviews. Any new reviews written will automatically be suppressed. We took this action because you have failed to comply with our review guidelines and manipulated product reviews. For detailed information on the guidelines, please visit: http://amazon.com/help/customer-reviews-guidelines.”
Personally, I have lost excellent reviews to my books because these authors suffered the same penalty as I have. What a shame because some of those reviews were the most insightful ones that I have received.
My biggest fear is not being able to review any of the books I read and that would be a real shame because like I said, good writing deserves good reviews.
At the moment there are three authors I’m aware of that I am not permitted to review, even though I don’t know them any more than the other authors that are sharing their books on the Internet.
This has gotten so bad that author Jas T. Ward even started a petition to get Amazon to Change the “You Know This Author” Policy. It already has over 6500 signatures on it.
Amazon has become Big Brother and it doesn’t seem as if they are going to change their handling of this anytime soon.
Brenda Perlin is an independent contemporary fiction author of five titles and numerous short stories. From memoirs to illustrated books, Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book in the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfillment. Learn more about Brenda on her website and her Author Central page.