Saturday, October 22, 2016

Changes to Amazon's review policy

As some of you might have become aware, Amazon made some changes to their review guidelines recently. In a nutshell, they are no longer allowing paid or subsidized products to be reviewed where the reviewer is sent the product for free or at a heavily discounted rate (like paying $1 for a $100 product) for a review on Amazon. To Amazon now, this constitutes a paid review, and existing reviews are being taken down. You can read about it in more detail here.

Amazon review being removed

For book reviews, you'll see in the article I mentioned above, book reviews do not count in the change in review guidelines ... sort of. However, it has always been stated that reviewers who were given books or Advanced Review Copies for free should state in their review that they were given the book for free in exchange for an honest review. This is no longer viable because being given the book for free in exchange for a review does constitute a paid review. You ARE getting the product for free. ... Even though the article says books are not included.

Being a blogger and a book reviewer, obviously I am given books to review and I belong to a number of book and author groups. In one particular group, the author posted this notice in the group, which I think is fantastic. With her permission, I am reposting what she said here. It's great advice.

New Amazon review policy

So, if you're a reviewer and you've been posting reviews to Amazon and / or Goodreads with the wording above, you may want to consider changing what you write.

What does this mean to Deanna's World and the reviews I post either here on the blog, on Amazon and / or Goodreads? Nothing really. After all this happened, I went to my blog review policy page with the intent of changing my review policy only to find I really didn't need to. I had been careful in what commitments I would make with regards to posting reviews.

One thing I did try to do was post a review as close to the release date of the book as possible, oftentimes on release day itself. This will change. It has come to my attention that reviews posted too close to release day may come into question since someone may not have been able to purchase the book, read it and post a review quite as quickly as at the moment the book is published without it being an Advanced Review Copy, which may then fall under the "paid review" umbrella, intentionally or otherwise. A lot of this is open for interpretation, and a lot of it depends on the person working for Amazon sitting on the other side of the screen and what he or she may perceive as a paid review or not. I'd rather not take any chances, so reviews for new releases, while I will attempt to be as timely as possible will probably see a lag in posting timing between the release day and the day the review is posted. It does not help myself, my readers nor the authors if any of my reviews are taken down, so I would rather be safe than sorry.

Reviews will always go up on the blog here first. Following that, then Amazon and Goodreads, usually at about the same time. I do not know the timing or lag between the review being on the blog vs Amazon and Goodreads, though I understand the importance of reviews being on Amazon with it helping search algorithms and Amazon recommendations to other readers. I will not follow a pattern when it comes to posting reviews to Amazon and Goodreads. They will go up when they do.

I can understand if some authors may be unhappy with this slight policy change on posting reviews with Deanna's World, but please be aware, in the long run, I am doing this for the benefit of the books (and authors) I am reviewing. It helps no one if my reviews are taken down from Amazon or if I am banned from posting reviews.

I hope this has been helpful and has clarified a few things. If you have any questions, please ask. I will be happy to answer them for you.

I will continue to review books, of course. This does not change my reading and reviewing habits. Reading is my drug of choice. :-)

So what do you think of the new Amazon review policies? Will they affect you in any way?

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  1. I don't know I think in some cases Amazon is being really tough and I know there has been a lot of talk about Authors being "Friends" with the reader/reviewer through Facebook and taking those reviews down. I totally agree with what you are saying Deanna I too get a lot of books sent to me and I review them and I too have always done my best to get them red and reviewed as close to release day as possible and will still do but yes maybe put the reviews up a day after release day may be the way to go and I have never put on any of my reviews that I got this ARC in return for an honest review I think for the author getting the reviews up is better for them. To my knowledge none of my reviews have been taken down but then again I have done a lot of them and really have not checked :)

    Have Fun

    1. Fortunately, none of my reviews have been deleted either. Still you do hear stories of people getting reviews deleted or getting banned from reviewing on Amazon entirely and I don't want that to happen to me.

  2. So far none of my incentivized reviews have been taken down. I'm still posting reviews on release day as the pub's have requested. They say the reviews on release day (in addition to sales) weigh heavily on the book making bestseller or top 100 lists.

    1. I'm glad none of your reviews have been taken down.

  3. So far none of my incentivized reviews have been taken down. I'm still posting reviews on release day as the pub's have requested. They say the reviews on release day (in addition to sales) weigh heavily on the book making bestseller or top 100 lists.

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