Amazon’s Inaffective Review Policing

Either Amazon’s algorithims that are designed to weed out reviews by those with a interest in the product, or affiliated with the product are selective, or ineffective.

Not long ago, shortly after the John Locke business exploded, reviews began disappearing left and right from amazon, leaving many indie authors who are also readers to wonder where their reviews went. It seemed like Amazon was making an effort to increase the credibility of their review system and catching many innocent reviews in the process.

And if an author is caught buying reviews, or reviewing their own products, the backlash has the potential to be tremendous. This afternoon, while poking around the reviews of Dead Ever After, trying to decide if I’m going to give it a chance or not, I noticed something curious. Out of 78 reviews, 5 were 5 stars. One of the five stars had this conversation in the comments.

Curiosity is a strange beast. I checked out other reviews by “Pageturner in NYC.” I wish I could say I was surprised to find that of their 60 reviews, many were 5 star reviews for books published by none other than Tarcher.

The reviews could have been before the reviewer was employed by Penguin, or they could have been missed during Amazon’s review culling. But the point I’m trying to make here, is that by all logic, if Amazon’s algorithms that are supposed to eliminate reviews by those somehow connected to the work were effective, these reviews( several dating several years old ) wouldn’t still be here. Does that mean that all the authors who lost reviews, and reviewers who had ALL of their reviews removed experienced the long arm of Amazon without any real benefit to the review system? Sad to think that might be the case. 

It is this type of inconsistency on the part of Amazon’s policing of reviews that has lead me to once again begin reviewing what I read. Personally, I don’t consider myself to have any interest in whether the books I read succeed or fail. At least not any beyond a hope to see authors whose work I admire find more readers–which to me is sort of my own point in reviewing.

I am sure I’m not the only author/reviewer who had become a little leery of reviewing on Amazon. I’m curious, have you started to review again?