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.