Keeping Book Reviews on Amazon
You see, she has a new book coming out on writing craft and thought I might like to give it a read. Well, of course, I’d like to take a look, and I promised that I’d give her a fair review on Amazon or Goodreads. But my author friend was told that Amazon would pull my review, since we’re Facebook friends. So she unfriended me, hoping that my (future) review would make it through the marketing behemoth’s gauntlet.
If you’ve been kind enough to write a review for a Facebook friend’s book, you might find yourself unfriended, too. Or worse, your Facebook author friend has found that your review has suddenly been removed. All because you’ve used social media in exactly the way you've been encouraged.
You’ve engaged with readers, sometimes at a conference, or perhaps through a blog, or maybe through email, and you’ve invited them to “friend” you on Facebook so that he or she will know what’s going on in your author world. You’ve spent time and energy forming relationships; even if you’ve never met that reader in person, you feel like you’re much more than virtual friends. And just when your friends want to show you how much they appreciate your hard work and writing skills, Amazon says, “Oh, dearie, no. We can’t allow Facebook friends to write reviews for each other. It might not be unbiased—or some other sorts of shenanigans could be going on.”
Now, I understand that Amazon wants their reviews to be credible. And I get that there’s some algorithm set up to pull reviews when certain sets (like a Facebook reader and a Facebook author) intersect. But there has to be a better way to cull bogus book reviews. Because it seems to me that the authors being penalized are, for the most part, the ones who can least likely afford to lose a review.
I mean, the author with 812 reviews (and thousands of Facebook friends!) can certainly stand to lose 10 reviews. But the author who’s managed to get 47 hard-earned and honest reviews from her 600 friends? If he or she loses one or two reviews it can really make a difference!
I love to write reviews for my friends—and I have lots of author friends on Facebook. So far, all my reviews are still standing, and honestly, I’m not sure why. I like to think it’s because I write a good and fair review but I have friends who have written just as good and fair reviews and have had their reviews pulled.
This is not a new Amazon policy, but it’s odd that in the last few weeks I’ve heard from several authors about pulled reviews and the Facebook connection. So what has changed? If you’re an author, have you lost reviews? Or if you’re a reader, have you found that your review went missing from a friend’s page on Amazon?
I’d like answers. But if I can’t get a reasonable explanation, then I suppose I’ll unfriend every author friend I have in order to leave a review. And I’m fine if you do the same to me.
~Cathy C. Hall