Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Biting The Hand That Feeds You - Amazon Hurts Indie Authors By Pulling Reviews

John Locke admitted paying $3000 bucks for 300 five Star reviews on his books. This propelled him to the top of the charts and he made a little over a million bucks in five months.

He even wrote about it in a book called just that How I sold a million ebooks in 5 months, but having read the book cover to virtual cover, he neglected to mention that part.

When other authors caught wind of this, there were some heated discussions over ethics, practices, and what's right and wrong.

The term "sock puppets" derived from authors (and others) creating fake accounts and leaving positive reviews for themselves. Some even took it a step further and left negative one star reviews against other authors they don't like. 

In an effort to control "sock puppets" created a filtering system that is hurting more than its helping. Strict algorithms are intercepting and deleting reviews before the see light of day. I know because I have 4 unaccounted for reviews from customers who bought my book Got Ghosts? Real Stories of Paranormal Activity. Hundreds more are reporting the same.

As a new author, I depend on every honest review I get. If people write a long review and Amazon is just going to delete it, guess what? People are going to stop leaving reviews. If anything I think it only encourages people to leave "sock puppet" reviews because Amazon is denying the legitimate ones from being posted.

This knee-jerk reaction is like killing an ant with an atomic bomb because you have a few bad users. You don't level the playing field without the means to justify yourself. 

Here's an idea Amazon... If you delete it, say why or give the author or reviewer a chance to prove it by adding a capcha or means of proving you're a human and legitimately bought the book (or what ever item you're reviewing). Have them submit a picture or order number that your algorithms can verify. 

You're biting the hand that feeds you. Yes its your site, your rules, but if you piss off enough authors, guess what? There's Barnes & Nobles, Sony, Apple, Kobo and a few others who may treat us better. I'm just sayin' 

Steven Wolff

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