Why Did My Amazon Reviews Get Deleted From My Book?

4.57/5 (61)

Why Did Amazon Delete My Book Reviews

Because there was a problem with how you got your Amazon reviews.

All new self-published authors are thrilled to get a few great book reviews but are shocked if or when their book reviews are deleted by Amazon.

“Why were my Amazon reviews deleted?”

The reason why Amazon deletes reviews is not easy to understand from its guidelines, which you can read here in full.

However, there are two main areas that cause the most problems for both positive and negative reviews. Paid book reviews and reviews from close friends.

 

Paying for book reviews can cause your reviews to be deleted

Paid reviews are clearly not acceptable to Amazon. It states:

We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind.

However, it is well known that paid reviews are available, and are being posted. It only takes a few minutes to find a paid book review service on social media or by doing a Google search.

But Amazon is well aware of the practice and takes action quite quickly.

If you are tempted to buy book reviews, you could be taking an expensive risk.

 

Too many reviews for too few sales

Amazon also looks for a sudden influx of positive reviews that are well in excess of what would normally be expected from the number of Amazon verified purchases for the books.

If you have only sold five copies of your book over a month, and you suddenly receive twenty-five new five star reviews in the space of a week, Amazon will treat this as suspicious.

It will probably consider them as possible paid or fake reviews and may start deleting some of these new reviews.

Very few readers leave reviews on Amazon, and this is why genuine reviews are so hard to get. On average, you could expect one review for every two to three hundred books sold or for free books.

You can use gift cards to attract reviews, but there are some drawbacks to this method.

When reviews start coming in well above an expected average rate, Amazon will take a look, and then examine the legitimacy of your book reviews.

 

Reviews from close friends will almost always be deleted

This is where most authors get into trouble and it is very often the reason why your book reviews are deleted.

Firstly, Amazon states that is does not accept reviews from an Amazon customer who is classed as an immediate family member of the author or publisher:

We do not permit reviews of the same ASIN from customers in the same household.

However, the following clause about Amazon products is what causes the most problems for authors:

… family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews …

Close friends can be defined by Amazon as someone you are in contact with on social media.

Yes, Amazon can check this very easily. There is very little privacy on the Internet. So a lot of your data on Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms is available for Amazon to access and scan.

Therefore, it is easy for Amazon to cross-check your friend list, followers and any other form of social connection that might be connected to a book review.

If you have asked someone on Facebook or Twitter, who is also an Amazon customer to give your book a nice book review, be prepared for the review to be deleted quite quickly.

Amazon’s data reach is enormous and perhaps even bordering on draconian. It doesn’t seem fair at all. But I know from first-hand experience that some of my readers have even been barred from adding a review to my books because they are in contact with me on social media.

Another connection to lost reviews can be commenters on your blog. I can’t prove this. But again, it is data that is in the public domain so it is very easy for Amazon to access and cross-check. If you have your blog feed connected to your Author Central page, it would also make it very easy for Amazon to cross-check.

I have heard from a few authors who believe this might be the reason why they lost some reviews.

 

Amazon checks all reviews

You need to know and understand that Amazon can and does check your online connections in relation to your book reviews, and can classify these as close friends.

Asking other authors is also a way to possibly have a review deleted because any other author publishing on Amazon is classed as a person selling on Amazon. Because of this, they can be precluded from adding reviews to any associated products.

Getting honest and genuine organic book reviews is painfully slow, especially if you don’t sell a lot of copies. But unfortunately, this the reality of the book market today.

Trying to kick this process along by either asking friends, and especially online friends to post reviews, or paying for reviews, will probably end up in your reviews being deleted, and tears shed.

When it happens and you contact Amazon customer service, you will most likely get a copy and paste reply telling you to read the terms and conditions. Don’t expect to get a reason or explanation as to why your reviews were deleted.

It is frustrating, but with over one million new Kindle ebooks being published every year now, Amazon is not going to spend much time answering every complaint about deleted book reviews.

 

Learn how to you CAN add reviews to your book

If you have a professional review, or reviews you have received from other sources, you can add these to your book on Amazon. and they will not be deleted.

You can do this by using your Amazon Author Page to add editorial reviews to both your Kindle version and paperback.

Read our short article on How to fix Amazon Reviews using your Author page and you will be able to publish your reviews to your book’s sales page.

 

Further reading: Policy Change On Amazon Book Reviews Updated With $50 Minimum

 

How helpful was this article for you?

1 2 3 4 5

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

24 thoughts on “Why Did My Amazon Reviews Get Deleted From My Book?

  • July 11, 2019 at 11:00 pm
    Permalink

    Not an author but just found this while searching for reasons my reviews sometimes get deleted. As a long time amazon reviewer i can confirm that my reviews sometimes get deleted for no apparent reason (as far as i can tell, several went missing sometime during 2018). I write a lot of reviews on books and products but have never been one of those people who reviews free/discounted stuff so this irritates me.

    When you submit a review and it’s determined that you’ve “violated” their guidelines they send an automated email telling you that you’ve done so and that they won’t be able to “publish” it. But if the review passes that initial test and it’s posted and then days/weeks/months later they–for no apparent reason–delete it, they will not inform the reviewer of the fact that it’s been deleted or why (probably because it didn’t actually “violate” any guidelines). It just sort of disappears – most people probably don’t even notice it.

    They also no longer allow comments, or at least none of mine are ever allowed to stay longer than a day. They got rid of their discussion boards so I can only assume that they don’t want anyone discussing books or anything in any form on their site anymore (regardless of whether it’s positive or negative or even just a genuine question!).

    If they deleted reviews for books just because the reviewer didn’t buy the book all my reviews would disappear. I mostly borrow and even when I buy i usually buy through a different account because for some reason I have credit under a different account (plus my audible account isn’t the same as my amazon account). I’ve never used one of those disclaimers informing people of where and how I got a book.

    As for you authors worrying about negative reviews: you really shouldn’t. Negative reviews are really important. The first thing i look at are negative reviews and if there aren’t any I’m WAY more likely to pass your book up. They play a big part in helping me decide whether I want to read it. A lot of times, they work in FAVOR of a book, because what someone dislikes is something someone else likes (I don’t even bother reading gushing 5 star reviews). Also FFS give your readers a little credit! You really thing we swallow everything a reviewer says without thinking about it? We know a negative review isn’t worth much when a person admits they only read the 1st chapter.

    Anyways I agree with that person up there who says amazon is “cutting off their nose to spite their face.” I don’t really trust their reviews for products anymore. They claim to be fighting fake reviews but they’re making their reviews worthless by being so restrictive. Plus, i’ve noticed now that whenever I write a negative review Amazon allows the seller to email me INCESSANTLY begging me (sometimes even CALLING ME) to accept $$$ or credit in exchange for changing or deleting my review. This explains the complete lack of negative reviews for some products. Sometimes amazon just deletes the review anyways so what’s the point?

    Reply
  • May 30, 2019 at 11:05 pm
    Permalink

    While Amazon may have some algorithm checking social media, it clearly doesn’t care as much as folks think – depending on the circumstances. A review was posted on the first day “Beneath A Scarlet Sky” was available (Kindle First and Unlimited) by a person identified as a lifelong close friend of the author – who should know better – and despite numerous “reports” and contextual complaints in comments, it’s still online:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1H7M8G48WSUGQ

    It isn’t exactly difficult to suss out the connection between the two men either.

    Reply
  • February 20, 2019 at 2:28 am
    Permalink

    WELL GUYS, I JUST LOST MY 1ST CHOICE NARRATOR DUE TO AMAZON ONLY POST 20% OF THE REVIEWS THAT I KNOW WERE SENT IN. Here’s the email, names redacted.

    NARRATOR
    Thanks for reaching out. Glad you like my work!

    Your book looks like a very compelling story. I’m assuming when you say partnership, you’re looking for a Royalty Share deal. This particular book isn’t a great prospect for an RS deal, but if you’re open to paying for production (you keep all royalties), my rate is $400 Per Finished Hour. For a book this length (108k words = 12 hours of audio\), the budget would be around $4800. This includes myself, my audio engineer, and my audio proofer. We can get more into the details if you’re interested, just let me know.

    best of luck,
    narrator

    AUTHOR RESPONSE:
    Thanks for a quick response. Although you are my first choice, I am not that well funded and so I’ll need to give you a pass. I would like to know why you said: “a book of that type is not well suited for a split”. I can take away a lot of guesses but would like to hear the explanation from you, as a professional. I have several actors, one from Hollywood who isn’t hesitating to do a 20/20 split. You seem to have the most experience of anyone I’ve looked at, although none in this genre, so I would appreciate a candid opinion very much. I appreciate your time and consideration.

    NARRATOR RESPONSE
    Sure, I can try to explain. Just to be super clear it’s not “a book of that type” it’s “this particular book”. The short answer is that the book just isn’t selling well enough.

    My goal with royalty share is to simply make back my usual rate, but over a longer period of time. It’s just too much risk to take on a book that isn’t currently selling well. And if a book isn’t selling well, it may not be an ideal time to even create an audiobook version at all. Audiobooks are a fractional percentage of the market, and only very rarely outperform the ebook version (usually it’s a single-digit percentage of ebook sales). So the demand just might not be there yet.

    However, if you feel strongly about the future of the book or have some strong marketing plans in place, then go for it. And keep all the royalties yourself by paying a narrator their rate (even if not me!).
    Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have any other questions. And by the way, none of this stuff reflects on the quality of the book, it’s purely business.

    Best of luck!

    AUTHOR RESPONSE
    THANK YOU for answering. Now it is very clear. AMAZON REVIEW RULES ARE HURTING AUTHORS IN MORE WAY THAN ONE.

    I was wondering if Amazon’s new REVIEW RULES would have come into play. I actually sold over 100 books in the first month. Out of the 26 reviews that I KNOW where submitted, Amazon has “ultimately” allowed 6. Two days ago, the reviewer hadn’t purchased $50 in the past month so she got a notice “you do not qualify to leave this review” return message. SHE BOUGHT THE BOOK BACK IN DECEMBER IN CANADA. No ‘friend, family member, no one who got the book as a gift, no one who hasn’t spent $50, it goes on and on. It’s almost impossible to get a review now. Of course, you promote to your friends and relatives. I have 5000 friends on Facebook, 90% I have never met. NONE OF THEM will be allowed to post a review! Everyone is talking about it, news articles galore. It’s killing off authors. AMAZON merged publishing with kindle, one must ask if they plan to dispose of the publishing arm of Amazon down the road.

    They are likely doing this with Audible too. There are blogs from very well known indie authors (who have sold 6-12 books on Amazon) about the new “ratings” game and how Amazon is not good for authors anymore. I published on December 31, 2018, six weeks ago. I thought to sell 100 books the first month was good, and it ranked me in the top 100, but after trying to figure out WHAT IS GOING ON AT AMAZON REVIEW DEPARTMENT and getting zero response, only cut and paste, from their very arbitrary rules, I DID STOP PROMOTION. Between all their different bots and algorithms and nazi-reporting, any book now published will not be getting their reviews, it’s not just me. In fact, they are even REMOVING OLD REVIEWS FROM PREVIOUS BOOKS OF WELL-SELLING AUTHORS if they EVER find a connection between the author and the reader online. So, they want you to promote, have all sorts of direct contact, blogs, and Facebook etc. to promote, BUT IF YOU DO AND THOSE READERS JOIN OR BECOME A FRIEND, THEY GO BACK AND TAKE OUT ALL THEIR REVIEWS FROM YOUR PREVIOUS TITLES.

    Cheers, Author

    Just thought you should be aware. It probably will soon apply to Audible Books too. I provided links below so you don’t think I’m a nut job or something! hahahahhaha.

    NARRATOR RESPONSE
    Sounds like tough waters for independent authors to navigate these days! I have heard of reviews being removed, so I know what you’re talking about and I’m sorry that happened to you. I hope things improve on that front.

    I actually thought you had a good number of reviews for the short time the book has been published, especially considering it is your first book. I’m sure you want more, but what you have is a good start! I am looking at Sales Rank primarily when I make royalty share decisions. This indicates to me in general terms how much a book is selling day-to-day. I consider books for Royalty Share where their Kindle editions rank in the top 10k of the entire store over a sustained period of time (my better selling audiobooks have ebooks that regularly rank in the 1000-3000 range). As I mentioned, audiobooks are a small fraction of overall consumption, so the ebook had better be selling very well in order to have a profitable audiobook.

    If you do end up with an audio version, my authors tell me that it is difficult to have success in promoting only the audio version. Audiobooks are just another format that certain people prefer to consume their books in. Promotion should be for the book in general. The consumer will decide how to consume it (e.g., Kindle, paperback, audio)…

    OPINION
    The authors he has narrated for all have thousands of reviews, starting from the years before 2013 until now, WHEN AUTHORS REVIEWS WERE ALL ALLOWED. OF COURSE, THERE BOOKS SOLD. AND BTW, THEY WERE MOSTLY HORROR OR THRILLERS, AND NOT ALL WERE WELL WRITTEN. BACK THEN, AUTHORS COULD OFFER A FREE KINDLE FOR A REVIEW IF THE READER STATED IT. BACK THEN, NO REVIEWS WERE UNDERGOING THIS STRANGLE-AS-MANY-REVIEWS-AS-POSSIBLE ALGORITHMS.

    AUTHOR RESPONSE TO “LOST” NARRATOR
    The Amazon Review Process 2019 is flawed. For me, this is a DOUBLE WHAMMY LOSS. I stopped promoting the book (I was in the top 100 for the first month) because of the Amazon policy to reject MOST of the reviews) So, I stopped throwing 16 hours a day and hundreds of dollars at the “SELLING THE BOOK MARKETING PLAN” since it was obvious no matter how many books I sold I would never get more than a miniscule portion of the actual honest reviews that could come from that expense of time and money. BECAUSE I STOPPED THAT PROMOTION, my book sales dropped off and now I’m in like 30,000 or lower ranking, so NOW THIS GREAT NARRATOR DOESN’T BELIEVE MY BOOK IS GOOD ENOUGH TO SELL ENOUGH TO DO THE COMMON 20/20 SPLIT OF PROCEEDS which is one option with Audible narrators. BTW, AMAZON keeps 60% of the “air” they sell as Audible Books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the author is still doing ALL the promotion, as far as I can see.
    I LOST MY BEST NARRATOR – DOUBLE WHAMMY! I CANNOT RECOMMEND ANY AUTHOR TO GO THROUGH THE HELL I HAVE BEEN THROUGH FOR THREE PLUS SOLID MONTHS USING THEIR VERY LAME TEMPLATES, DOING ALL MY OWN PROMOTION, CREATING AN AUTHOR IMAGE ONLINE, ONLY TO HAVE AMAZON REJECTING THE MAJORITY OF MY LEGIT REVIEWS.

    I loved that narrator because of his ability to do a wide range of vocal varients and abundant talent for having a voice for each character. He is amazing! I AM VERY SAD. The worst thing is it doesn’t make sense. Amazon makes more money than the author on the book , not to mention the Audible that they also get for free than, so they are cutting their own sales. Why would they not care about their sales enough to repair this damaging severe rating policy? One must ask if they have a long-term plan to terminate their publishing arm?

    I am just beside myself, have stopped all expense to promote my book, looking for other avenues. I have read all the defensive articles and reviews about how poor Amazon is fighting with bots and fake reviews, etc., but they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. I might just need to go back into the traditional marketing methods. Query letters and rejections? I’d almost rather die! AMAZON HAS CUT MY THROAT.

    Reply
  • February 7, 2019 at 11:43 am
    Permalink

    The whole cross checking social media thing is ridiculous. I share on Facebook that I have a new book coming out. On their own, people decide to buy it. They love it, so ON THEIR OWN they decide to review it.

    I’ve done nothing more than let people know who might be interested.

    Reply
    • February 7, 2019 at 12:07 pm
      Permalink

      I share your frustration, Peggy.

      But our personal social data is now so readily accessible, and it is being used by Amazon and others to enforce (ever-changing) terms, conditions and rules.

      Unfortunately, I don’t see any change ahead until social media platforms decide to protect our data from external access.

      Reply
  • February 6, 2019 at 10:16 pm
    Permalink

    Beginning in 1999 I began to post book reviews on Amazon. I was one of the pioneers. I have always submitted my reviews under my own name. As of 2016 I had 284 of them. I wasn’t one of those crazy reviewers on Amazon that craved status, I simply wrote thoughtful reviews of those books that I read. (Some I didn’t like.) I was good. There was a time when I was a “spotlight” reviewer for about twenty books, including Lolita, Crime and Punishment, Life of Pi, and many, many other great books. It was the pride of my life. I got requests from authors almost daily to review their books. Sometimes, I accepted their books. Only rarely did I review them. (Most of them were bad; it seemed heartless to write a review of those. But if they were good, well, sure!) In 2016 Amazon deleted all of my reviews. I asked for an explanation on three occasions. Each time, all they did was to send me a copy of the Amazon guidelines, and told that I must follow them. I honestly can’t think of anything I did which did not conform to the Amazon guidelines. I am no longer allowed to post reviews, make a comment, or even give a positive thumbs-up. Amazon is not going to help me. I am simply crying for help.

    Oh, my goodness. I did accept free books. Could this be the reason I was suppressed?

    Reply
    • February 7, 2019 at 1:21 am
      Permalink

      Hi. I am an author who found out the hard way that people who receive a book for free by the author will not be allowed to review it. I sent free books to several dozen people, some friends, some family, and some not. I received good, bad, and mediocre reviews. Suddenly, they all disappeared. After contacting Amazon, I was told that all solicited books will not be afforded a review. As a side note, I received a scathing, nasty review on a political book that I wrote. The “reviewer” went on to say that he didn’t actually buy or read the book, but based his review on the Table of Contents. …But Amazon allows this?!

      Reply
  • October 26, 2018 at 3:12 am
    Permalink

    This is all ridiculous. Bottom line is, if you dole out cash to buy a book, then you should be able to leave a review. If Amazon doesn’t want my friend, my daughter, my fourth cousin, or my mailman to leave a review, then don’t sell them a book.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 5:56 pm
    Permalink

    Although illuminating, this article did not answer my question completely. Hence, I rated it 4 out of 5. Here is the bizarre situation I am facing with a couple of now-deleted customer reviews of a book I had written which was published by a medium-sized academic publisher back in 2001. Both customer reviewers (I recall at least two book reviews by customers ut there could have been a third as well) were from customers I either did not know or were from someone I have not been in contact with for years but who went to graduate school with me back in the mid-to-late 1980s. They were both positive customer reviews of my book. One was a guy whose name actually appeared (I guess he is or was a frequent Amazon book reviewer) and the guy lived in a different part of the U.S.A. which is not anywhere near me. He is a total stranger. Don’t know the guy AT ALL. Never paid the guy. The other reviewer or reviewers were not named and were from people I don’t even know. They certainly were not paid by anyone. Amazon had POSTED both book customer reviews in the publicly-visible listing of my book in 2001 and 2002, and these customer reviews were visible on Amazon’s site from their date of posting in 2001-02 until the middle of 2018. Suddenly, sometime in mid-2018, Amazon removed ALL customer reviews associated with my 2001 book! I emailed them twice and they replied twice with no explanation and instead, asked more questions like what was the exact date of the customer book reviews (I only remember the year(s) they were posted – hey, it’s been almost two decades and, as I said, I didn’t even know who these customers were in the first place) and the names of the customers. I remember one guy’s name (I think). But the other customer reviewers’ names? Who knows! It just said “A Customer” next to their 2001 review(s)! I gave Amazon the book title etc. so they could easily look up my 2001 book. They didn’t even offer a stock explanation such as reciting their customer review guidelines. Even if they had, these customer reviews DID NOT violate Amazon’s guidelines as demonstrated by the fact that Amazon HAD POSTED AND DISPLAYED these customer reviews of my 2001 book for almost TWO DECADES! What do folks think is actually going on? These were positive reviews. I appreciated receiving them all those years ago. Now my book has zero reviews and looks really bad with the “Be the first to review this book” message from Amazon across the top of the Amazon listing for this title. Sad. Any suggestions on who I should contact at Amazon or where I go from here to get a substantive response from Amazon as to why they deleted customer reviews posted since 2001-2002 all of a sudden in 2018? Any best guesses from folks as to what is really going on? You can safely assume the reviews I saw posted did not violate Amazon’s guidelines. They were obviously from customers (at least to my eyes as the author). Thanks everyone!

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Ronnie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.