UPDATE: Amazon have seen sense and since posting this blog post they have exempt book reviews – sort of. There is more in this final post about the new rules Whoooo! Complaining Works! Amazon Book Reviews Are Now Exempt!
ANOTHER UPDATE about amazon rules for you. It seems that along with new UK rules amazon US made a boo-boo in their previously released rules and have amended part of it which will bring some relief to authors.
If you are confused by this blog post please read the previous one to understand what this is all about: Amazon’s Even Newer Reviewing Rules Will Book Reviews Be Affected?
I’ll start off with amazon.com. At the time of writing all about the new rule changes point number 5 was this:
When we find unusually high numbers of reviews for a product posted in a short period of time, we may restrict reviews of these Amazon Verified Purchase reviews.
This rule has caused uproar but it seems amazon has now amended the rule to include the simple word ‘to‘. This changes the statement above to:
When we find unusually high numbers of reviews for a product posted in a short period of time, we may restrict reviews of these TO Amazon Verified Purchase reviews.
D’oh, the amazon people must have forgotten to add the ‘to’ or did that happen only after complaint? The rule states that if there are a number of reviews coming I that ones ONLY verified purchase reviews will now be allowed. Yes this does bring some relief to all authors as all pre-purchased items won’t be restricted, however amazon has caused a lot of worry and I did check back and forth, the rules have only just been amended to include this word so thank you amazon.com for scaring everyone with your improper sentences!!
Now Amazon UK has updated it’s rules too. These rules can be found here. And here are the two rules that are new/have changed:
- You can submit five non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week, starting on Sunday. If we find unusually high numbers of reviews for a product posted in a short period of time, we may restrict these products to Amazon Verified Purchase reviews
- Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a prize draw or competition, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts. The sole exception to this rule is that you may post content requested by Amazon (such as Customer Reviews of products you purchased on Amazon or received through the Vine programme, and answers requested through Questions and Answers). In those cases, your content must comply with any additional guidelines specified by Amazon. Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.
The rules are similar to amazon US in that no longer can any free items be reviewed, except of course books. However just as with the US rules the UK ones are causing confusion. It’s again unclear whether books are exempt from the 5 non-verified purchase reviews a week limit as the rule is in a different section of the page. It is also unclear now whether you actually need to disclose that you got a book for free!
Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review. This point is worded badly and basically suggests that authors must give books with no expectation of a review. Although sites like NetGalley do have this rule in place (that you don’t HAVE to review a book). It does make me wonder what sentences will be allowed in a disclosure ‘I got this book free to review’ – could this be flagged as bad?
At least there is some relief for authors. All verified purchase reviews should be okay. But what will happen in the future at amazon? Will fraud be stopped with this? Or will dodgy people find a way around it by being paid to buy a book/item for review? Will amazon impose even more rules? Change them again without warning? Will amazon be as popular a platform for authors in the future? Time will tell.
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