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What Amazon has Done to Me – Authors I’ve Promised Reviews for may want to read this…

After yesterday’s post about amazon’s new reviewing rules which was written in a journalistic manner I wanted to give a more personal post today to sum up how I’m feeling and why I can’t continue reviewing as I was.

Authors I’ve promised reviews for Read this!

Before I start, if you are an author who I’ve agreed to review for please read the following: Given the recent news I found out about amazon US and the rule regarding needing a credit/debit card to review, I will no longer be putting reviews up on amazon.com.  I can only now review on amazon UK and Goodreads and of course this blog.  For those that have sent physical copies of books I will of course still review your book (but I’m sorry I cannot do it on the US site) but for those who have sent electronic books I will ask whether you still want a review if it doesn’t appear on the US amazon site.

Having to contact every author who’s already contacted me for a review is not only going to be a time consuming but painstaking operation.  Many of my recent requests have been with the understanding that a review appears on the US site, in fact one author was only interested in a review there.  Not being able to cross post to the US site will upset a lot of people and I just feel terrible in having to say I can’t post there anymore,  I am really sorry to all the authors who wanted a review on the US amazon site.  I’m sure my review requests will now go down significantly as most authors also put stock into the US amazon site.  When I read authors sites, regardless of where they live, they are always excited by the number of reviews on amazon US.  Even after my ‘Respect the Reviewer 2’ article was posted explaining the importance of keeping author bios updated on all sites, it’s still clear that most authors just have no care for amazon UK.  So I’m really sorry but I know I’m going to disappoint so many authors today :(.

The Effect on Me

The news about reviewing has had a bigger effect on my than I thought.  I understand first hand how corrupt the system of reviews is on amazon and how so many abuse it.  There was one very prolific reviewer in the UK last year.  They had reached the top 10 and posted countless reviews a day.  40+ was regular with some days reaching 100 reviews – yes in a day!  Most of their reviews were copy and pasted onto multiple listings of a product.  You may have noticed that some products have many listings with foreign versions, old versions all listed as ‘currently out of stock’.  Well this reviewer took to posting the same review on all of these copycat listings, just to give them a rise in ranking.

Not only did they post many, many reviews but they made sure their own review for products listed on amazon were always at the top of the product page.  They did this creating multiple accounts and voting their own reviews as ‘helpful’ using these accounts, and voting for everyone else’s reviews as ‘unhelpful’, at least until other reviews dropped below theirs.

Several of my colouring book reviews suffered this abuse of down voting when this prolific reviewer took to reviewing colouring books.  These were colouring books I had bought, loved and written careful and detailed reviews for.  Many people enjoyed my reviews (and I understand if sometimes customers rightly choose to find my review unhelpful) but one day when this reviewer posted up their reviews I incurred anything up to 9 ‘unhelpful’ votes on my review in the space of just an hour.  The amazon system rates 1 unhelpful vote as being the equivalent of 3 helpful, so it was like being given 27 unhelpful votes all in one go.

Amazon finally deleted this reviewer’s account when they had started arguing on the forums and had freely admitted to voting positively on their own reviews to avoid troll votes.  However it wasn’t the end of this person.  They soon re-emerged as another account.  They had changed their gender and were writing reviews to climb up the ranking again.  I even noticed the alarming similarity to my own reviews, in fact this reviewer had taken to copying my text and style when explaining how a product comes packaged (I usually go into more detail than others and use the same words and phrases so it felt spooky to be reading my own words in another’s review).    Soon this account was deleted too but it shows the horrible corruption that has occurred in amazon.

I started out reviewing as a way to help others know about the colouring books and videogames I loved.  It was an almost therapy for me having gone through a horrible time, it gave me something to focus on, to take my mind of thinking about the situation.  When I started being offered items for review, I thought I would be helping others by giving as honest and unbiased opinion as possible.  But being a reviewer who just receives stuff to review has lumped me into the great pile of ‘bad reviewers’.  I’ve had unpleasant comments on my reviews, down voting on amazon, and the exchanges between people on the forums is getting unpleasant.  It’s made my whole outlook on reviewing feel bleak and unrewarding.

Even though I focus now on book reviews, I know a lot of people and authors will be disappointed and may not even want a review from me anymore given I cannot post it on amazon US.

Conclusion

So it’s probably no surprise by the tone of this post that I feel more depressed than I want to or can cope with right now.  Every time something good seems to happen I then encounter a bunch of setbacks: a ‘friend’ author who left me feeling an idiot, an attack on facebook and now this.  I’ve even noticed an obvious drop off in the number of people visiting my blog – statistically similar to March/April where I didn’t such a following yet.  Even more depressing is the fact I’ve agreed to run two giveaways in November and December and it makes me wonder if there’d be anyone even interested in entering them.

I’m really sorry to leave this post on such a low note.  I’ve updated my review submissions page as well as my amazon profile to reflect the fact I’m no longer reviewing in the US and I’ve already decided to stop reviewing any more products on amazon (bar the ones that are still being delivered). I’m sure plenty of people are happy for amazon to be taking a stand like this, in fact my views on all this are probably wrong.  It’s been less than a whole year since I started blogging, nearly two years I’ve reviewed things on amazon, and I just feel drained.  Of course I’ll still review all the books I’ve been sent, and give my usual honest opinion.  But right now I’m struggling to decide whether I should continue to review them in the future.  I’m sorry everyone 😦

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59 thoughts on “What Amazon has Done to Me – Authors I’ve Promised Reviews for may want to read this…

  1. I really hate seeing you so blue. I haven’t asked you for a review because I figured you were already buried under a mountain of requests. I’m grateful for any review, regardless where it appears.

    Have you thought about writing reviews for other retailers like Nook, Barnes and Noble’s online store? or Apple? Amazon may be the biggest game in town, but they’re not the only player. Hang in there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I have been overworked and inundated with review requests. You might want to check my most recent blog post though, I hope it won’t offend :(. Of course I’d make exceptions for people I know :). I haven’t thought about those retailers, no, perhaps something to look into , thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So i re-read this. OMG. I always try to say benefit in everything . I know it doesnt help , words are easy. But, from my personal practising trying see benefit in everything …i can say it takes the pain away and allows you to see other opportunites, a new path, reinvent yourself. You have talent and a beautiful way of writing , so may be…

    See something new , see the clised door as space for something new. New us good.

    What i have to say is… the world is obessed with usa everything.. unfairly and blindly.. in every aspect of life and business.

    Change you perspective . There are better things waiting. I read this on fb… will explain later.

    There must be something good in this.. things come to us , horibble as this us.. but there us something good waiting , better infact around the corner ..

    You write well, you are comprehensive and from the comments you have a fan base. May be check out youtube..so many book reviewers there..

    Eitherway big hug and i say this us an opportunity for better things. You may gave to think outside the amazon box…

    Blessing in disguise… i believe it is. I find this book review world confusing but your 3 your 3 or 4 post are superbly written… i say bigger and better is waiting for you. Use the LO A and make it happen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I’ve been following your blog with interest, as I finalise the manuscript of my debut novel. It’s great to read about a reviewer with integrity, and based in the UK! Don’t despair there will always be authors with the same values as you looking for an honest opinion. Thanks for what you do!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. You need to take a little break away from all the negative things that have surrounded you. You are an excellent reviewer and will be top of your game soon again. It`s upsetting indeed that you can`t review on amazon us anymore but it`s not your fault. It is the same old “a few spoil it for the rest of us” quote. Shocked by the UK reviewers tactics. Sending a huge hug.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I didn’t know about this – as you know, I review books as well as write, and have never been asked for any credit/debit card details when posting one… but perhaps it hasn’t started yet?

    I wouldn’t worry too much. If you’re in the UK, most UK writers find that most of their sales come from the UK. To be honest, I don’t often look at .com to see what reviews I have there. As for all this voting up and down nonsense by saddos who have nothing better to do – just ignore them and keep on doing what you do well. You don’t have to have huge numbers to be appreciated. The trouble with all large websites is that there is so much room for abuse – it’s annoying for writers when we see others with tons of ‘fake’ reviews, when we wouldn’t stoop so low, too!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The credit/debit card is in force on the .com site now, so I’ll have to stick to the UK site. Thank you for the supportive words too. I do get annoyed seeing fake reviews on products, even more so on books. A good book will get the reviews in time and a bad book, poorly written, etc shouldn’t have so many 5* reviews, especially when people have clearly not read the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Even if you can’t post reviews on US Amazon, there is a work around for authors – since you are a book review blogger, your review (or part of it) can be posted in the Editorial Reviews section of the product page. It won’t affect star rating, but it’s a way for US readers to see it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Try not to be too despondent my dear xx You are an extremely good reviewer who takes a lot of time and trouble with your writing. Anyone wanting a good honest review will continue to consider you and request that you review their book/product.
    There could be many reasons why you don’t seem to be getting as many visits to your blog. As your other correspondents have hinted, the stats may not reflect the whole picture. Also this week all the universities go back and many people are doing other things. They’ll be back I’m sure.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Glad you are better. So sorry it has taken me a while to catch up with the changes in your life. I have posted a cimment read that.

        There are blessing in disguise… i think and i believe…

        Like

      1. Thank-you. I have given up with stats altogether too. I don’t have the time to post as often as I used to and I’ve no energy to tout for more followers. I have a good rapport with the followers I have and with the authors of the blogs I follow – I am happy and I don’t worry about gaining more. It is a little different for bloggers who provide a service – reviews etc – but a good review/reviewer is a good review/reviewer and I am sure that someone will think of a way round some of the problems Cat has highlighted.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes there is always something better … and sometimes we need to chucked out to find it. I agree a good review us a good review. I am not a review just a plan joe blogger ..who has just started out and i think blogging is harder than work and part of we wants to say… just look i am going to make it different .. and create a way that you dont have blog ever day network everyday… i mean where is me time where is spirituality. Where is? I love blogging and the community …but i fiercely disagree with everyday…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Big corporates thing having money they can buy everything and since people review by asking for money too. corporations even think that putting false reviews will help their product sell and because of that Amazon & Flipkart got sacked by govt. few days ago about selling bad imported cells.. Well they got away with it. I wonder when will it stop..

    On the other hand, my darling, don’t be sad. Keep up your good work. We are here, we read your reviews.. Goodreads, blog, some websites that genuinely take good reviews into account are there too.. Don’t be sad. Blog stat may go down at bad times but you can figure our new ways to reach public.. Cheer up and keep doing your best. 🙂

    Hug.
    have a wonderful day ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I am sorry you have to suffer and feel sad because of flaws in the system and flaws of human nature.
    I would be happy you still review my book, no matter if you post it on any Amazon or not.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No rush, please! I really try to be understand of reviewers, especially since you are never dishonest. This is an extra thing I like about your reviews. You honestly tell it will take a few months before you can even touch my book, and I really respect that. You did not ignore me and you gave me an honest timeframe.
        I sent a lot of review copies where reviewers promised me, made pledges and similar they will review in maximum 2 weeks or something only to never review or speak to me again 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m sorry others have been so disappointing, even worse if they don’t speak to you again 😦 I’m glad you equally respected the longer time frame due to all my other reviews and other things that have been happening. You are a good friend 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the whole amazon system is flawed and they are breaking it more than they are fixing it. When no one on an author’s fan page can review a work, that’s insane. Those are the fans. I’ve written about that myself! They are trying to put a droplet of superglue in a 10cm gash.

    Chin up! I’m happy for a review on .uk. 🙂

    And more importantly… don’t let the assholes get you down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, it’s just very raw at the moment and a few authors have been adamant about reviews being for the .com site that I didn’t know if authors would be upset by it. I will reply to your review request later, but might be tomorrow given how swamped I am with stuff still, thank you 🙂

      Like

  11. I really don’t know what to say, except, I believe you are one of the best reviewers I have came across.So many Authors will feel the impact because many books now will not be seen by the public do to the lack of reviews. i believe the other book-sites will reap the awards and it will not surprise me Amazon will sink to a degree, then they will end up changing this back.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Book reviews can still be done on amazon US but not by me or anyone who hasn’t bought something for at least $50 in the US site. But I do worry that if this vine only idea is a great success with regular products, a similar system will be implemented with books. The main problem I still see is that people just don’t care that much about reviews visible on other sites, only amazon US, at least a few authors who contacted me recently have been all about the US site. 😦

      Like

  12. How on earth could anyone read 100 books in a day?!? No wonder Amazon is cracking down. I plan to review 4 this month, and figured I would be pushing my limit.
    While it is good that they are trying to weed out the corrupt, I can see how this is giving honest reviewers fits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t 100 book reviews, sorry I should have made that clear, although this reviewer did review the odd book in so much detail that they basically gave a symopsis of the entire book, and included pictures that were inside an autobiography I had also read. So much was revealed I’m sure an author would have hated the review just because of the spoilers. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop the corruption on amazon. some of the more corrupt people can still post bogus reviews, just don’t have to declare it was for a free item…Amazon really didn’t think it through I don’t think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I try to give the ‘feel’ of the book, and characters, but not a synopsis of the book when I do reviews. That said, I’ve had people do that type to me – didn’t appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t understand the need for a credit or debit card in order to post a review. I should think that Amazon would want good conscientious reviews of the products they have for sale. The requirement for a card isn’t going to stop a bogus review. What are they thinking?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amazon is mad lol. I have no idea where the thinking or logic is but it’s just another bizarre rule imposed by a company who believe they own the entire online sales market…Unfortunately they kind of do, it’s certainly the place I would go to for most stuff I can’t find in shops but I’m no rethinking even buying things from the site!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Blog stats are a bad reference point for how many people read your site and should generally be ignored. Go by interactions, comments or affiliate links, but never stats. They simply do not offer a good representation of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. A brief post on my experience. http://sableyes.co.uk/?p=2382

        You have subscribers, those that see your post in an email do not count towards your stats. When someone views your archives, they can read 5+ posts, but you only get one view. WordPress reader views don’t count unless someone actually opens your post. Personally I read 99% of blogs, including this post, in reader.

        What do you want from this site?

        What do you currently take from it?

        You seem generally demotivated outside of Amazon with book reviews. Try giving it a break or change of direction?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you I didn’t know that about amazon. I’ve had a bad few days so I’m feeling down yes. I did say in a previous post that other factors have made my mood plummet this week. I appreciate the info on the stats :), my last comment was a bit of a joke seeing as I’ve generally gotten less clicks and comments of late.

        Like

  15. That really sucks about Amazon, sorry to hear about all the hassle. 😦

    I wouldn’t worry about the drop of in blog stats, I was talking with a good friend who is also a blogger and we have both noticed that the stats are down for our own blogs so it’s not just your blog that is currently suffering. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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