Saturday, April 4, 2009

Amazon Deleting Reviews Online

Recently, I was forwarded an email from Cheryl Kaye Tardiff, Author and Book Marketing Coach. It seems that she started to notice some of her reviews were being deleted. Not just ones for her books, but reviews for other books.

I am sending this to ALL writing associations I belong to because I really want you to have this information before Amazon deletes all your reviews.

A week ago I found that all 85 of the reviews I've written for other books had been deleted. It has been a very difficult and stressful week dealing with Amazon. They are not very accessible and I was given at least 3 different reasons for why my reviews had been deleted. After numerous emails, this is what it's come down to:

Their final ruling: "Please know that our participation guidelines don't allow customers to promote their own titles in their reviews."

If you sign your review with anything other than your name, your reviews could be deleted. If any of you are in the habit of signing your reviews with something like ".., author of Whale Song", which has been common practice for years, Amazon has deemed this as "inappropriate" and will be deleting them. It seems they're on a campaign to go through reviews posted. They recently made changes to the Amazon Connect program and all our blogs were temporarily gone too. Most are back up.

They also will delete your reviews if you have added the book link (that they supply) and directed it to your own book title's Amazon page. Many authors have used that in their signature line. It can lead to deleteion and suspension, according to Amazon's latest email.

I argued the fact that thousands of authors sign their reviews like this, and that it's common practice in our inductry. I was told by my last publisher to sign my reviews like this; he even wanted us to include the ISBN, which I only did a couple of times then stopped. It made no difference to Amazon that this is what my publisher wanted me to do; they aren't accepting signatures with titles.

Amazon is starting to take note of such practices and you'll get no notice; they'll just pull all the reviews you have written. That's what they did with me, even though many of my older reviews were signed with just my name.

So to clarify, according to Amazon, when posting a review, you are not allowed to have a signature of anything more than your name, and NO links to or mention of your books whatsoever in the review or sig line. I am giving you the heads-up now so you can go in and edit your reviews if you choose. That's what I'd do, to be honest, because fighting with Amazon is not easy. There is no one who will talk to you by phone, and waiting for their response is not easy. This rule also applies to any comments you leave on a book review. Amazon does not want authors to mention their own books anywhere on the reviewpages.

I haven't heard from yet, but I expect this will be funneled over to all the Amazons, so I'll be working on editing my reviews there next week.

Please forward this on to all authors you know and any writing organizations or associations you belong to.

Thanks for letting us know, Cheryl! By the way, you can find out more about her latest book, Whale Song, over at her web site!

(Cross-posted at The Writing Mother.)

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