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!
WARNING: Amazon.com have updated their review guidelines…Again! Along with the already restrictive guidelines I have discussed previously in this article – Amazon’s New Reviewing Rules – Could it Affect Authors in the Future? But now they’ve updated these guidelines yet again by adding additional rules near the bottom. These rules are on amazon US, the UK and other sites may or may not adopt these rules in full but in my experience almost all rules are adopted given a bit of time.
The new rules can be read here but here are the new points and be warned if you are an amazon reviewer:
- If your review is removed or rejected because it does not comply with our guidelines concerning promotional content, you may not resubmit a review on the same product, even if the resubmitted review includes different content.
- Reviews may only include URLs or links to other products sold on Amazon.
- Customers in the same household may not post multiple reviews of the same product.
- Customers can submit 5 non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week, starting on Sundays.
- 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.
So, let’s break these rules down. Rule 1 is that if you post anything promotional as part of your review and amazon removes your review, or rejects it when you try to submit you can NOT submit another review for the same product…..In theory this sounds like a great idea, BUT…Currently a computer/bot has been in charge of flagging reviews. Especially when submitting a review. Many of my reviews for both items and books have sometimes been randomly rejected by the amazon bot. When I’ve resubmitted changing nothing, the review has then been accepted. With this new rule: If you’ve written a review, a book review and amazon rejected it for any odd reason you will NOT be able to resubmit your review…at all!
The second rule is straight forward. It’s possible to place urls in reviews on amazon but in the past I’ve seen some people place their blog urls as well other addresses. This new rule is easy to follow and I’d advise against using any urls in your reviews, just to be safe. If you do want to include links to other items on amazon though, the review creation page has a button where you can easily add url links to products.
The third rule, customers from the same household may not post multiple reviews of the same product. This is already a rule that is upsetting some people. It is understandable that amazon is doing this. Its stops some fraudsters from writing multiple reviews for one items. However the question is how do amazon check this? Is it a simple case of two people having the same delivery address on their amazon account? Or is it more covert, such as sharing the same computer, which would lead to the IP address being the same? I don’t have an answer here but be wary if you and someone you live with both enjoy reviewing. One address = one review.
Rule 4 is the one I have most annoyance about. It has been discussed for a long time on the amazon reviewer forums that there should be a limit to the number of reviews posted. However I thought even a review a day would be the minimum. The new rule states that only 5 non-verified purchase reviews are allowed a week! A non-verified purchase review is any review where you haven’t bought the item from amazon. As a book reviewer I get sent countless books both digital and physical which would all count as non-verified purchase reviews. If I was reviewing on amazon.com and wanted to review several books at once I just wouldn’t be allowed to if it exceeded the 5-a-week limit! Beware book reviewers!! You can also accidently make a non-verified purchase review of a book you have BOUGHT! This happens if you bought a kindle copy but reviewed the paperback and vice versa. If you want to make a verified purchase review make sure that you head to the book from ‘your orders’ page.
Rule 5 confuses me. Amazon may stop people posting verified purchase reviews if they spot too many reviews being posted in a short time. The question is how many is too many? Famous authors may have had their latest books on pre-order. After that I can easily see plenty of reviews being posted in those first days, all verified purchases. I’ve seen it happen on a best selling colouring book. Plenty of new reviews every hour. All these people bought the books and yet if amazon think too many reviews are posted at once… You might not be able to post your own review…!?
These new reviews don’t make sense to me. While I can understand the fact amazon is trying to stop fraud and improve their site, it still feels as if they are throwing out random rules and hoping that they work without really thinking them through.
Book reviews are still allowed on the site, but does the rule of only 5 non-verified purchase reviews apply to books too? Are famous author’s books going to stop having reviews because plenty of people wanted to say how much they loved/hated the new title? Are book reviews exempt from the new rules? It’s very unclear and as usual amazon’s new rules just bring more confusion than clarity.
What do you think of the new updated amazon .com rules? Good, bad, confusing? Please let me know in the comments below.