Amazon reviews are both a blessing to authors and the bane of their existence. Whether it’s poor reviews, vindictive reviews, or lack of reviews altogether, authors struggle to get the word out about their work through positive and numerous reader reviews.
Over the years, Amazon has come under fire for basically having to come up with the best-but-still-feasible option when it comes to reviews. Things came to a head following the infamous Goodreads Bullies wars (Amazon brought into it as the owner of Goodreads, but refusing to get involved) in which authors and reviewers waged war online, often devolving into personal attacks. But without adequate time in the day or the manpower, the company has had trouble pleasing customers and authors while maintaining some level of credibility in their review process. That, coupled with the scathing attacks by both reader bullies and disgruntled authors, has left a lot of consumers doubting the process altogether.
Now, Amazon’s review guidelines have a new requirement that is aimed at curbing fake reviews or accounts that have been established just for the purpose of uplifting or attacking anyone. The new requirement mandates that the account holder spend at least $50 on purchases with a verified credit card before being able to leave any product review. Anyone looking to leave a fraudulent review will have to really want to stir up trouble by making verified purchases of some kind before exacting his revenge or boosting his friend’s book.
While this is a plausible and fairly harmless guideline, another requirement is a lot less understandable. Now, reviewers who live in the same household cannot leave reviews for the same product; a married couple who both enjoyed the same book will not be able to leave a review in each of their names, even with separate accounts. That’s far less palatable, but again, it’s part of the company’s efforts to bring some measure of validity to customer reviews.