Amazon Tries Another New Attack On Paid And Fake Book Reviews
Amazon has taken a new approach and policy change against paid customer reviews, including fake book reviews.
In the past, Amazon deleted these product reviews or went after the provider of paid reviews.
But Amazon has now set its legal sights on sellers.
Paid and fake book reviews is an important issue for self-publishing authors.
Authors are Amazon sellers
If you publish your ebooks and books on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, Lulu, or even through a publisher, you are an Amazon seller.
If your book is for sale or you even offer a free or discounted product on Amazon, you are an Amazon seller.
According to an article on TechCrunch, Amazon is suing sellers for buying fake reviews.
While the article details three legal suits that are not connected to ebooks or books, the fact that Amazon is targeting sellers should forewarn authors that Amazon has changed tack.
Up to now, if an author bought fake reviews, the only ramifications were that these positive reviews might be deleted.
Amazon would go after the provider of the good reviews, such as it did in the case of Fiverr.
But now, Amazon has issued a clear warning by initiating these three lawsuits.
If you are an Amazon seller and pay for Amazon reviews, you are risking Amazon taking you to court.
It’s hardly a pleasant thought.
Paid and fake book reviews are rife on Amazon. Some think that is just part and parcel of the business of promoting a book.
Many authors shrug their shoulders and say, “well, if you can’t beat them, join them.”
A provider offered me paid book reviews some months back.
I said that it was against Amazon’s policy and Terms of Service. But they told me that all the successful authors buy Amazon book reviews.
Also that I would never stand a chance of selling well unless I bought a lot of Amazon verified purchase reviews.
Needless to say, the provider was probably right in some respects.
I didn’t buy any reviews, and my books are definitely not up in the top twenty bestsellers.
I’m not sure if the Amazon paid reviews policy and a new threat of legal action against sellers will work.
But it proves that Amazon is still trying to rid its stores of fake and incentivized reviews that attempt to manipulate rankings and deceive Amazon customers.
In previous actions, though, Amazon has sometimes used a hammer to kill a flea.
In the process, it deleted a lot of honest reviews, so beware.
The safest way to avoid any problems is not to get involved in any review in exchange, fake or paid Amazon reviews, or any attempt to influence review ratings.
Okay, your book may not do so well. But at least you won’t risk being sued by Amazon.
Or worse, Amazon KDP ends up suspending your account.
Waiting for readers to write reviews of your book takes time, but it is the safest route.
Related Reading: Policy Change On Amazon Book Reviews Updated With $50 Minimum
13 thoughts on “Amazon Tries Another New Attack On Paid And Fake Book Reviews”
I have never paid for a review but when customers told me they put a review on Amazon, the review never showed up. I always wondered why. Amazon must have deleted them thinking they were paid.
Getting honest reviews for your product or application is very difficult. It’s sad that someone thinks otherwise.
So far, no one has mentioned MALICIOUS fake reviews from competitors who slam a new title in order to thwart the competition. Yes, it does happen to authors.
Unfortunately, Amazon does not provide an adequate means of redress to correct these “anonymous” postings.
They proceed from the assumption that any negative review has to be genuine and make it next to impossible to challenge it and have it removed.
A number of major sites that host goods and services have similar problems making online selling for the small trader more and more hazardous.
It’s definitely something I’d thought about – but have never done, thankfully.
As far as Kirkus, don’t waste you money like I did, for some poorly-worded, half-assed, barely-coherent paragraph of garbage, written by a high-schooler who waited until the night before class to write his book report using Cliff’s Notes.
I know an author who’s books sell in the tens of thousands and I’m sure he wouldn’t pay for reviews. He has enough real ones and doesn’t need to. So I don’t buy the story that everyone’s doing it.
Yes, a gift ebook might not allow a review. But it’s always a guess. As for Author’s Den, it’s been around a for very long time, so I would think that what it offers is all above board.
Does this mean that if I gift a book to a reader in exchange for a review, this is against Amazon’s wacky regulations? Author’s Den as a new program where reader’s and writers can ask for a book–free to them–with promise of a review on AD. But tis review can also be put on Amazon. Is this allowed.
I believe Amazon’s terms state that review copies of books are allowed, but if you’re reviewing a free review copy, you need to state clearly in your review that you received a free copy in return for your review.
I think that encouraging people to buy your book is one thing. But this is a little unscrupulous. One should always be honest when conducting business practices.
So what about Kirkus, and all those other paid for services that provide reviews as part of their ‘marketing Strategy’? Will we see the end of those scams?
Yes. But Kirkus is owned by Amazon I believe. One rule for some.
They’re hosted on Amazon Technologies (which is just a server farm), but the owner is listed as Calendar Holdings LLC.
At this point, I have no idea who operates Kirkus, LOL.
Interesting. So ironically, if you want to attack an author (it happens), post a glowing, 5-star review of his book on Amazon. Word this review in such a way as to make it fairly obvious that the author paid you to write it.
Then, sit back and wait for Amazon to sue said author. The author probably be cleared, eventually, but it will cost them a significant amount of time and money in the process, and their reputation may never recover.
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