Paid Amazon Book Reviews Continue Unabated

Amazon Paid Reviews

Despite Amazon’s book review clean out three years ago, after the revelations by John Locke about paying for book reviews, nothing has changed at all.

Well, apart from the fact that Amazon deleted a lot of honest ones during their cull at the time.

Amazon did not take much more than token action against paid book reviews back then.

But instead decided to remove those posted by fellow authors, or by those deemed to have a personal (even if only by social media) connection with the author.

Because of this, a lot of genuine, honest, and unpaid for positive reviews were deleted. But what about the dishonest paid Amazon book reviews? Hardly any were removed.

But now we hear that Amazon is going after Fiverr. What?

After three years of knowing very well that Fiverr is, was and has been the ‘go-to‘ site for authors wanting paid Amazon book reviews?

It’s hardly been a state secret.

I did a quick search of Fiverr and returned hundreds of offers to write reviews for products on Amazon, including books.

The Guardian reports that Amazon is to sue 1,000 fake reviewers.

However, I am not sure what the difference is between a fake and paid.

One thing is certain, though, paid Amazon book reviews are rife, and Amazon has ignored this issue for a very long time.

paid amazon book reviews continue

Amazon paid book reviews are big business.

While it is commendable that Amazon is taking action against Fiverr, it is, in fact, only the tip of the iceberg.

Even if Fiverr is closed down tomorrow, a quick search on Twitter will find hundreds of offers to write and post Amazon book reviews.

I asked one review site on Twitter for their price.

For a verified Amazon Review – $30. Verified meaning that they will buy the ebook and therefore be able to post as verified on Amazon.

This is where Amazon has a real problem, though.

Fiverr will probably be easy for Amazon to reduce because, for $5, these are not involving a verified purchase.

But pay a little more, even on Fiverr, and an Amazon verified purchaser who publishes them can earn quite a bit of money.


It’s not only Amazon who has a problem.

TripAdvisor fell foul and was fined $600,000 for allowing fake customers to post on its site.

In fact, almost every site on the Internet that allows customer feedback is full of fake and paid.

So as much as everyone says that paid Amazon book reviews are a curse, the fact of the matter is that they are a reality, and no matter what action Amazon takes, they will continue.

Every author knows that to sell books, you need reviews, and to get them; you need to sell books.

That’s the catch 22 that is resolved by paying, and why it was so successful for John Locke, and why the practice continues today, on a commercial scale.

Paid book promotion in any form is big business.

As one said in a message, “people think there is a taboo regarding paid book reviews, despite the practice being utilized by some big-name authors on a regular basis.

While authors need reviews to sell books, don’t forget that Amazon doesn’t do badly out of it either.

Reviews are one of the prime movers for sales of all Amazon products, so don’t expect the Amazon world to change too much.

Sure, Amazon will give Fiverr a hard time for a while.

But at the end of the day, Amazon needs reviews just as much as the product suppliers do.

So it will be as it always has been, again.

Money makes money, and those willing to invest will reap the rewards for paying for advertising.

Whatever you want to call it fair, fake, or foul, it’s all paid advertising, isn’t it?


Update: Amazon has now introduced a $50.00 spend minimum to stop fake book reviews.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

9 thoughts on “Paid Amazon Book Reviews Continue Unabated

  • January 14, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Reviewers are paid not only to promote certain books but also to damage competing books.

    For example, an author with poor sales can pay a reviewer to write something positive about his or her own book and another review blasting a book with a higher rank.

    A critical review can damage one book as much as a positive review can lift another.

  • November 22, 2019 at 5:15 am

    What a sensational topic? Sensational because we all know the polices, rules and regulations of Amazon. Yet, the buck rolls in for those who have been monetizing book reviews. I have been reading since the day an Oxford dictionary was on my birthday presents box before I was ten years of age. I found it fascinating. I then read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich with a highlighter, stick notes, and a small notebook. The reading streak has never stopped. When I sat in a class to learn how to write good book reviews. The cap was 1500 words – and it was such a task. That assignment lit a bulb in my journey of life.
    An author wallowing in despair for their book has not seen a good review should first read this article.
    Thank you for writing this article.

  • November 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I have had a running discussion with Amazon as to why they removed a legitimate review from from my book page. They replaced it once and then removed it a week later. Do these clowns actually want to sell books or do they simply want to control every aspect of the marketing of books. The fact that they allow their own people to provide a paid-for review of your book is unconciousable.

  • May 12, 2018 at 11:18 am

    There is a private company in the USA called Indiebrag that awards ‘medallions’ for good books that pass the acid test of internal, anonymous review. It is owned by a linited liability private company, whose CEO is an author and retired marketing executive. His own books have been reviewed by Indiebrag and passed the test. Guess what? His wife, Geri Clouston is the CEO of Indiebrag. Do I have an axe to grind? yes, of course. My book was rejected rudely and aggressively, based on seriously flawed and inaccurate comments about Sci-Fi. It was so bad and untruthful that I have reported it to the relevant internet commission in North America.

  • February 23, 2018 at 10:45 am

    3-star reviews are usually the reviews I pay attention because they give a much more useful review of a book. 5-star reviews usually don’t give too much info on the actual story, whether it’s worth reading, how, why and what makes it so.

    Also, as a writer, 3-star reviews gives tips on how to write my own books, e.g. ‘saw the twist coming a mile away because too big a hint at the start’, ‘felt the main character was a little too weak and most people would’ve behaved…’, etc.

    Obviously, I’d love to have 5-star reviews because they’re nice to have and good advertisements for books so, I don’t begrudge other writers their 5-star reviews and read them from time to time. Some of them are genuine as I’ve discovered after finishing a book.

  • November 8, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for the article. Until I read this I was not aware of such a thing as a “paid review.”

  • February 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Very interesting article. I’m a regular reviewer on Amazon and have myself often criticised some 5-star reviews of mediocre books. But I had no idea that authors actually paid for reviews.

  • October 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Many thanks for all your informative posts. I’ve read a number and I do wonder when you’ve got time to write a book. Keep it up.

    • October 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks Iain! My blog keeps me writing, so I don’t lose the daily habit. But books do eventuate, eventually.:)


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