Amazon has successfully implemented a new book review policy in the last few months. Many authors have noticed that reviews have begun to disappear and they are scratching their heads on why this happening. In order to help self-published and traditionally published authors understand the new policies we managed to get our hands on what Amazon is looking for when a book review is posted. You can consider these the new laws of the land.
1) A review by a book blogger whose blog is part of a paid blog tour, even if the book blogger is not paid. Often only the organizer of the tour gets paid, but the blog review is considered a “paid review,” so it can’t be posted on Amazon.
2) A review written in exchange for a gift card. Even if that card is only in the amount of the price of the book. A reviewer could possibly use the card for purchasing something else.
3) A review written in exchange for another review. Review trading is 100% verboten.
4) A review written in expectation of a free book. A review copy must be given before the review is written or the book will be seen as payment for the review.
5) A review by a person you “know” online. Amazon can now detect if someone leaving a review is following you on Twitter or befriended you on Facebook. Amazons expectation is that a fan will leave a biased review, so it wants only impartial people writing them.
There is now an expectation that if any of the above rules are broken, Amazon will automatically delete the review in question. They will not let the author know whenever a review has been absorbed into the ether, it will simply cease to be.
Amazon has reported there will be more changes to the review algorithms in 2016. They are introducing a new policy where verified purchase reviews will have more weight, as will more recent reviews.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.