Amazon, you hit like a bitch.

It’s taken me a bit of time to write this post, but I figured it’s about time to share the utter nonsense that’s happened between me and Amazon, and how a company that I once highly respected, has now become one that I have zero respect for.

I’ve thought about writing this post for weeks, what I would say and how I would capture everything that’s happened, and I’ll be honest with the fact that this post has taken on many forms, but finally I decided that it would just be easiest to state the facts.

So here it goes…

IMG_0376

This is the first email I got from Amazon.

As some of you know, on February 24th I was sent an email from Amazon letting me know that I could no longer post reviews on their website, and that all of my previous reviews had been suppressed or removed. In case you’re wondering, that was well over 300 reviews that I had written in my over 2 years of book blogging.

All gone in an instant because Amazon decided that I was “manipulating product reviews.”

I don’t even know what that means for Amazon. I have no idea why my reviews were deemed manipulating or misleading, and when I asked for clarification on this, you know what I got? I got an email from them saying they weren’t going to give me any information or “evidence” as to why this all happened.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let me backtrack a bit.

About 2 minutes after I opened my email and found out I was no longer able to review on Amazon, I called customer service because I wanted an answer. Really, I wanted someone to tell me what the hell was going on, why they were doing this, and what they even meant by “manipulating product reviews” since I was sure that I had never done that.

I was so frustrated, so upset, and I will admit that I was near tears because of all of this.

That customer service representative I talked to had no idea what to do with me and my issue, and as it was also 7 o’clock in the morning, she couldn’t talk to anyone who worked in the online communities department because they weren’t there yet. She told me she would forward what was going on to them, and that they would call me back within 24 hours.

Well funnily enough, 24 hours came and went, and I got no phone call. Can’t say I’m shocked about that one.

So that’s when round 2 of calling customer service came, and over 48 hours after I first called Amazon about this, I tried again. That customer service representative also had no idea what to do with me, but after about 10 minutes on hold, they informed me that they had submitted a form to the online communities department about my inquiry as to why I was banned and why my reviews were removed. This representative informed me that I should get a reply within 2 days.

And he wasn’t lying. I got a response alright, and that response is by far one of the worst displays of customer service I’ve ever seen. (And this is coming from a girl who worked in retail for many years.)

Amazon sent me a *lovely* email telling me they found my reviews to be manipulating or misleading, yet I still had no clarification on what that actually meant, and that they were not going to give me any other information about this. They also added that they were probably not going to respond back to further emails about this issue, and then added that they could only respond via email to questions about reviews.

The second, even more *helpful* email I received from Amazon.

The second, even more *helpful* email I received from Amazon.

That’s when I started scratching my head a bit.

So Amazon can only respond to my questions about my reviews, why there were removed, and why this was all happening via email, but as they say “we may not reply to further emails about this issue.”

That seems a bit like an oxymoron to me, but what do I know? I’m just a school teacher who’s passionate about book blogging.

Basically what I got from that is that I can only email them about this whole thing, but they’re probably not actually going to respond to me.

Super helpful Amazon. For a multibillion dollar company, their customer service with this was horrendous in my opinion, and I really don’t think it was too much to ask for to speak to a human being on this issue.

If you’re going to remove my reviews and ban me forever, the least you can do is talk to me in person.

Right? Apparently not though, since all I got was that email.

So where did that leave me?

Well that left me angry and frustrated and with no reviews on Amazon. It also left me scrambling to try to figure out what this would mean for me as a book blogger. Luckily all my reviews were saved to my Goodreads account, so they weren’t fully gone, but that still left me pissed and unsure of what this would all mean going forward.

And when I get pissed, I act, so you know what I did? I calculated how much support I had given Amazon over the last year.

Now I’m not a numbers person, but you can’t deny numbers and facts, so here it goes:

  • In 2015 I spent roughly $1,441.33 on books on Amazon. That’s a combination of over 344 e-books, paperbacks, and Audible books. (And let me remind you, that’s just for 2015. That doesn’t include the money I spent in the 2 years before when I started buying e-books and paperbacks through Amazon.)
  • As of February 28th 2016 I had already spent $163.17 on Amazon on e-books, Audible books, and pre-orders.
  • Between 2015 and 2016 I have done giveaways on my blog for over $196 dollars’ worth of e-books and gift cards from Amazon. ($115 of that was gift cards to get people to buy things on their website.)
  • I’ve also been a member of their Amazon Associates Program since 2015, meaning that on a daily basis, multiple times a day, I promote Amazon and their products on my blog and my blog’s Facebook page.

And what did Amazon do to thank me for that daily promotion and my almost daily purchases from them?

They banned me.

They didn’t ban me from buying things from them of course, but from giving my honest reviews of the products I purchased.

They also removed hundreds of reviews I worked my ass of on, and for what reason?

Oh wait. They won’t give me a clear reason.

tumblr_mc32p3pxMR1qc8jh0o2_250Was it because I “know” authors? Well let me tell you Amazon, I wish I knew even a fraction of the authors that I’ve read books from. I wrote a review for Grey by E.L. James that you removed. If you think I know her then I would gladly give up my reviews to say that, but newsflash, I don’t know her. (Even though I wish I did, because I think she’s pretty amazing.) I don’t know Sylvia Day, or Abbi Glines, or Jodi Ellen Malpas, or Colleen Hoover either, or the other authors’ books that I’ve reviewed on your website. (And believe me, I wish I could say that I knew them, but alas I don’t.)

I would say I probably know 5 or 6 authors, tops. And if you don’t want me to review a book of theirs, that I can understand, but removing all of my reviews? I don’t get that at all.

And while we’re on that topic, how do you even determine that I “know” those authors? What formulas or tactics do you use to figure that out? Because I’d seriously like to know.

Was I banned because I like the books I read too much? Is it because almost every book I read is 4 or 5 stars, or is it because my book reviews are super detailed and long? Well let me tell you something Amazon, after being an avid reader my entire life, I have a pretty damn good idea of what I like to read. I know what I’ll love, and when I love a book I love it hard, and I write reviews that show that. I want to spread the book love, which is why I’m a fucking book blogger in the first place, and I’m not going to waste money on a book I know I won’t like, just so I can give it 2 stars and not be deemed as being a “misleading or manipulative reviewer” by you.

Was I banned because your computer system deemed me to be paid or fake based on whatever wonky system you have? Well let me tell you, I make absolutely ZERO dollars every year reviewing books, and I spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars buying books. (It’s kind of my thing, if you couldn’t tell.) In fact, to date I’ve only been paid out once by the Amazon Associates Program, and that was a $10 gift card TO AMAZON. That I gladly spent on Amazon, as it was the only place I bought e-books from.

Whatever Amazon’s reason for doing all this is, I will probably never know. And you know what? It is what it is at this point. I unfortunately have no control over the crappy things Amazon tries to do, and since they won’t give me a reason, I’m done looking for one.

I’m sure many of you at this point, including Amazon, are thinking, well what’s the big fucking deal? It’s a book review.Jon Stewart

Well to me it is a big deal. Book reviewing and blogging is my passion. It’s something that helps keep me sane from my daily on the go life, and it’s what I LOVE to do. So to remove hours and hours of work that I did, to remove reviews that I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into, and to ban me from supporting books and authors pretty much feels like a slap in the face.

Especially after all of the support I’ve given Amazon over the past few years.

It may not be a big deal to Amazon, but is sure is hell is to me and countless other reviewers who have had the same thing happen to them.

I get it Amazon, it’s your company and you can do what you want, but one of these days you’re going to realize that it’s bloggers like me that bring people to your website, that tell people to buy your shit, and support you in countless ways…and by that point it’ll be too late.

Because you’ll have probably banned us all.

So now, over a month later, what am I supposed to do?

Stop book blogging over all this crap? Stop being an avid reader and a huge supporter of authors because of all this? Stop writing book reviews or change the way I write them because I can’t post them to Amazon?

That’s a big hell to the no. anigif_optimized-28150-1440411350-1

Because if I did that, Amazon would win, and they don’t get to fucking win with this, or tell me what I can and can’t do.

Sure I can’t review on their website anymore, and to that I say good riddance, and fuck you.

What they did shows a hell of a lot more about their company and its ridiculousness, than it does about my book reviews.

What I can do is keep reading, and reviewing (on my blog and other retailers), and telling readers about the books that I love while supporting hard working authors who deserve a damn book review.

I can also tell people about what’s happened to me with Amazon, and how it’ll probably happen to them sooner rather than later because let’s face it: Amazon makes their own rules, and they just don’t care about the ramifications those rules have.

It also means that I can be a smarter consumer with whom I choose to give my money to when I buy books and other products. 

Today is April 3, 2016. The sun is shining, it’s springtime, and yeah I’m still banned from reviewing on Amazon and that still kind of pisses me off, like a lot, but at the end of the day, I won’t let one company’s ridiculous policies and handling of this situation keep me from doing what I want to do.

I won’t let them keep me from being the book blogger I want to be. I won’t let their asinine system keep me from spreading the book love and supporting authors, and I won’t let them keep me down or stop me from being a passionate book reviewer.

So that’s what I have to say.

Amazon, you hit like a bitch.

And you know what?

You’re not going to stop me and my book loving brigade.

Not one little bit.

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176 thoughts on “Amazon, you hit like a bitch.

  1. Stick to it! Keep up the great work and stick up for booksellers with class! I hope you share them with us, so we can show our support for good business too!

  2. Amazon has terrible customer service in all respects. I ordered a calendar from the UK site late last year. It didn’t arrive when it was supposed to, and I had a hard time finding any contact details to query it. When I did, they told me to wait a few more days. Then I got an email telling me my parcel had been returned to Amazon. They linked an article with contained the reasons this usually happened. None of them applied–I double-checked and the addresses and everything were correct.

    Not only did they not tell me why they returned the product, but they then cancelled it and refunded my money! Now I still wanted that calendar, but now I had to order it again. Because it had taken so long for all this to happen, I now had to order it expedited international shipping, so it cost me more.

    When I emailed them again (after again having trouble finding contact details–no phone number to call), demanding to know why the order was cancelled, and why I had to order it again, and saying that the least they could do for the mix-up was to waive the expedited shipping costs, you know what I got?

    NOTHING.

  3. Hi there. I’m Mark, founder of Smashwords. As A Cup and A Book mentioned (thank you!), you’re welcome to move your future purchases and reviews to Smashwords. We have an affiliate program that pays about 11% of the after-credit card fee net. We pay quarterly via PayPal for balances of $10 or more. We also have a coupon feature that allows our authors to issue reviewers such as yourself free custom coupons for their books.

    • I did not know this. I myself have been looking for somewhere else to do my business. I won’t be renewing my Amazon Prime. They have gone too far. And there’s also a special place in hell for Apple. Their latest update the other day caused my Kindle app to freeze. Uninstalling and reinstalling didn’t work. I guess all the thousands of kindle books will have to be read on my kindle. I should look for another product to read on besides theirs. Apple support wasn’t any help. They just blame my problem on the app. So I am between a rock and hard place. I didn’t want to do business with either one. I’ve gotten books from you guys in the past from authors. I really like supporting authors. My hubby said it was on the news the other day about Amazon getting sued because a customer had bought hundreds of dollars of stuff from them then, over a few months time, returned maybe 35 of them. They were banned and their account canceled. What’s more, is Amazon zeroed out all their gift cards! This customer is now suing Amazon, what about the reviews that state the reviewer couldn’t read the book because of some stupid crap and only give them one star? They state something like they couldn’t get past the first few pages. Why not get a sample before purchasing? These reviews aren’t fair to authors. They are the ones that should get banned. I’ve even complained on them before and Amazon says they can find no wrong done or violations of their review policy. Smh. Sorry for the soap box. It’s just so wrong. Thank you for posting here. I will be doing business with you more in the future.
      Lisa

      • The Kindle App was updated today, so try the update again and see if that unfreezes the App. There has been an issue since the last Apple update a few days ago.

    • Mark is awesome. Smashwords made publishing on iBooks and places like Kobo super easy. As an author, thank you for reviewing books. Buyers generally make their decision to buy based on reviews. Don’t let them win! Keep reviewing!

    • Hi Mark! I’m not the author of this blog, but I run a different one and I have had similar issues with Amazon. I haven’t been banned YET, but they have deleted probably a good 60 or 80 reviews of mine and I put a lot of time and effort into writing reviews! I have been thinking of switching to Smashwords but was unsure of how that would work with my kindle. I did just read “A Cup and a Book’s” comment and understand they are compatible. I am also an affiliate for Smashwords already too! My only concern is, when I read a book I try and add my reviews to as many platforms as possible. But Smashwords doesn’t let me add mt review unless I’ve purchased the book from them. So when given an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) from an author to read and review (I also beta and proofread too) how would I go about adding my review for those? I would love to switch to Smashwords for all my book purchases but this plays an important part when it comes to my blog.
      Please let me know.

      Thank you so much!
      ~Kathryn Jacoby

      http://mybookangel.blogspot.com/
      https://www.facebook.com/MyBookAngel

      • The author would have to create a coupon code for you so that you can purchase the book from Smashwords for $0.00. Then you can leave your review.

      • Hi Kathryn, thanks for that question. Yeah, our review system is hardwired to require either a purchase or a coupon redemption before you can leave a review, unless the book is priced at free in which case anyone can leave a review. I’d suggest that when the author sends you the ARC, ask them to also supply you a Smashwords Coupon code so you can leave a review at Smashwords. For authors, it’s super easy to create the codes. They simply click to their Smashwords Dashboard, then click to Coupon Manager then click “Generate Coupon” beside the given title. A lot of our authors promote their coupon codes to bloggers because it makes it easy for the blogger to get the book in whatever format they prefer. Thanks!

      • Oh, okay. Thank you again for that bit of information Mark. I appreciate it. And typically, even if I do receive an ARC for a book, I usually go and buy it when it’s live anyway. I like to support my authors. But I wanted to find out about that so I can share accurate information with others about this, so thanks! One more question, which I could probably go find the answer from your site, but does Smashwords offer gift cards?

    • And when you have a question for Smashwords, a real person answers your email, usually within hours–with a real answer not some kind of form response. I hadn’t know that about the bonus for reviewers! I do know they treat their authors with respect. I wish I could afford to publish with them alone and skip Amazon.

  4. Reblogged this on Read What I Like and commented:
    What happen to this blogger is horrible, no one should be treated like this. Only serves to reinforce my decision NOT to post my reviews to Amazon. Props to her for calling them out and NEVER giving up her passion!

  5. This happened to me last year. They didn’t outright ban me at first. They removed a few posts claiming I had been compensated monetarily for my reviews. I went through the same email bullshit you did. But I managed to convince the gift card department to tell the Amazon review Gods that I was not compensated with gift cards. But it was all downhill from there. My reviews were constantly removed with no notifications. And eventually I got the same denial of reviews email. I eventually quit blogging (for a few reasons along with the Amazon shenanigans). The whole situation makes me think Amazon has no idea what they are doing when it comes to reviews.

  6. I had never heard of that happening. I know that they did talk about removing reviews from people because the reviewer may “know them,” but like you mentioned, I’m not sure how one goes about “knowing” an author that they may be connected with through social media or otherwise. I follow Nora Roberts, but that doesn’t mean I know her. Same as George R.R. Martin.

    Either way, good for you for speaking out. As an author, I know the customer service messages seems to be more of a regurgitation versus personal so it’s aggravating to deal with them. Did not know they’d ever say something like, hey you can email us, but we may not respond. That’s a new one.

    I hope they realize doing THIS is very wrong to all of you who do so much good for them. They need you reviewers.

  7. UGH man ive had reviews deleted for this crap about knowing authors. What they just don’t get is that yes I talk to authors on twitter and Facebook and ya sometimes I even email them but are we FRIENDS? UM NO Even Krystal Wade who ive known for what like 5 or 6 years. Yes I know her but I mean I would call her a BFF! I can’t call her up and hey I’m short like 100 bucks to pay my bills this month could you spot me it until I can pay you back. O hey were coming up that way can we crash at your place? No I can’t do that because were not friends friends were blogger/author friends. UGH this really pisses me off and I have been wondering if I just want to quit amazon all together and well this is really making me want to lean closer to the YES (H*LL YES) section.

    Thank you so much for your post. I totally believe this crap happened because I had it happen to me over on Goodreads and well it SUCKS!!!

  8. Pingback: Amazon, you hit like a bitch. | vwritesdotcom

  9. Pingback: Amazon, you hit like a bitch. | I Feel the Need, the Need to Read

  10. Try emailing Jeff Bezos. The address is jeff@amazon.com (NOT kidding). It might not help, but it couldn’t hurt. I’m a part of the Amazon reviewing community, and I’ve seen stuff like this happening recently. I think that in their crackdown on bought reviews a few honest reviewers have accidentally been banned, the proverbial throwing the baby out with the bath water. Good luck! Amazon needs good reviewers. We’re the main reason why people choose Amazon over other online stores (and you should probably mention that to Mr. Bezos).

  11. To me, the affiliate thing is ridiculous. Let’s say I buy a backpack. It’s a great backpack. I love it, it holds up in the elements, is lightweight, has lots of pockets, and is all around perfect.
    So now, because I love it, I post a link to it on FB and let my friends know how awesome it is. If I use my affiliate link, my review is deemed invalid?
    I mean, WTF? I review things I’ve purchased and recommend things I like. 1+1=2, Amazon, you useless twats.

    • I have just been through the same thing, totally soul destroying. You buy something like it, review it tell your friends about it but god forbid you make a tiny percentage of the sale on something you advertised for them for free.

  12. I would email the Amazon’s email provided above. I had a problem with a package that was stolen that was never investigated even though they told me it would be. You know what I did? Threatened to close my account and boy did they turn their heads and help me then.

  13. I found your article very interesting in light of amazon’s growing push to ban certain books from being sold on amazon. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the authors you mentioned that you reviewed are erotic writers. That is probably not all you read or review, but I think that is beside the point to amazon. I have not heard of Abbi Glines or Jodi Ellen Malpas, and out of suspicious to test my idea, I looked them up on amazon but could not find them anywhere, in fact I was kicked off amazon and sent to Angus&Robertson online store for Jodi. Perhaps you have been swept up in amazon’s aim to clean their image. I am a writer and I follow an organization called k-lytics that analyses the book market and posts reports about what is the next big thing, what is a dead market etc, handy for writers and publishers. The latest report stated that for the first time EVER amazon have revealed, what is for them a closely guarded secret, ‘what is fast becoming a hot niche’. You can guess, what according to amazon, is going to be really hot, sweet romance. I suspect that this is a propaganda push by amazon to force what they want; that is squash the erotic genre and force in sweet. Hey I might be wrong, but I thought it really interesting that they should, after never having done it, release that secret (in inverted commas). At some point the biggest usually fall and so too at some point will amazon.

  14. You need to appeal this:

    Here is the advice from several bloggers that have successfully appealed”

    1. Brief
    2. Polite
    3. E-mail (not call)
    4. Identification of what might have tripped the sensor unbeknownst to her

    Here is a letter that won an appeal successfully. Unfortunately I can’t find the link to the original poster,

    I understand that Amazon has been cracking down on fake or manipulated reviews. But I don’t understand where I fall into that group. My reviews are all ebook reviews, some books I have purchased through Amazon, some I have purchased through other outlets, and some I have received as ARCs from author groups. Every ebook I have received as an ARC has had the necessary disclaimer “I received this ARC in return for an honest review” attached to it. Have I misunderstood this policy? Did I forget to do something for these reviews?

    The only other thing I can think of that I’ve done recently is link my Amazon books to my goodreads account. In doing this, I did rate several of the books on goodreads with their rating stars. Did this somehow flood my Amazon account and flag it?

    I do my best to post thoughtful and thorough reviews on the ebooks I read. I also try to follow Amazon’s guidelines when posting reviews. I would like to keep my good standing as a reviewer.

    I appreciate the time taken to review my account and to let me know how I could fix this and/or what I may have done wrong concerning Amazon’s guidelines and rules.

    Please let us know how this turns out for you.

  15. What is so funny is that Amazon is always hounding us to leave reviews. Aren’t all reviews “manipulative” in a way? I mean, what is a review’s purpose? To let future consumers make a decision based on your un-biased feelings toward a product. They are literally asking you to manipulate possible consumers and then saying that “No! You aren’t allowed to manipulate them in THAT way.”
    It is a very strange concept. Aren’t your good reviews helping sell their products? I wonder if this kind of action is a result of a lawsuit against Amazon by a rival company? It seems like something a watchdog would look out for. Because good reviews don’t hurt Amazon. I could see this being something that Amazon doesn’t necessarily have control over.
    But what do I know. It could be an algorithim they have programmed and if you give X amount of reviews you get banned. Or X amount of 4-5 star reviews. Or it’s the affiliation thing (again, this is HELPFUL for Amazon.)
    I’m really sorry that all your hard work has been tossed like trash and you aren’t even given the time of day to someone you GIVE MONEY TO.
    Backwards!

  16. Thank you for writing this. I’m sad that all your reviews are gone from Anazon. I buy from them just like you and most likely spent just as much, it’s sad that they can’t give you a reason why you can’t review anymore.

    I’m a blogger as well and avid reader. I can relate and it sucks that this happened.

    I wish you luck on future reviews and Anazon can just suck it!

  17. I have not heard of anyone getting banned from amazon, but i have been hearing lately of reviews being removed or not accepted in the first place.

    To me the worst part is that amazon should have to tell you what you did wrong. It makes no sense that theya re allowed to take away all of her reviews but can’t tell you why. Ridiculous.

  18. Woah! This is really scary. I leave reviews on Amazon here and there, but I like to build on my own playground, so I aim to keep my ace content on my own blog. I have been considering posting reviews to Amazon, but…now I’ll be rethinking all of that.

    • If you are reviewing on your own website, it appears Amazon does not like this. This is what I do and Amazon deemed they own the copyright to my reviews on their website, so I can therefore, not post that review anywhere else, including my own website. They are totally impossible to deal with frankly.

      • I don’t post the exact same review in two places, simply because duplicate content benefits no one. I usually change things up. The review on my own blog contains a lot more information, though.

        I do have to wonder if it’s different for affiliates—the rules, I mean—in that we are essentially trying to help them sell more, especially since we are given permission to use product photos displayed on the website to help make a sale, for lack of better wording.

  19. Apalling. I do actually “know” well, knew because it’s been 30-odd years since I saw him, a published author whose book I’ve reviewed on Amazon. I’ve only done one review. I don’t re-blog, but I will be sharing this on my various social media platforms and among the avid readers I know. Seems you could now find a few more “receptive” platforms. All the best!

  20. I have soooooooooooooo much to say to this I don’t even know where to start. But first of all, BRAVO TO YOU! Amazon’s practices have become extremely questionable in several cases as of late, and I do believe it’s because of corporate politics. In other words, “I’m a big bad company, so what can you do if I make a decision based on “because I wanted to” policies?” In the review department, it’s just really sad. Authors need 50 reviews before Amazon will promote them, so to hear they’re removing them? And for some shady “I’m not gonna tell you” reason? Not only does that insult reviewers, it slaps the authors who might need those reviews to get some exposure.
    Not sure if you heard about this, but they also changed the way their publishing program pays authors from percentage to “you’re paid by the number of pages read”. Another shady move because, er, well, how does Amazon know how many pages a reader’s read? If you hear any crickets chirping, it’s because no one seems to know the answer to this. I’ve even heard some authors saying they’re not 100% convinced Amazon even reports the royalties to authors as thoroughly as it should anymore, but that’s a rumor with no solid evidence to back it up (yet, anyway, as scary as that sounds).
    But yep, there are other vendors to post reviews on, and goodreads for sure. So keep on keepin’ on! 🙂

  21. How totally bizarre! Like you say, you are bringing people to Amazon to buy books – why wouldn’t they like that? Reviewing is a difficult area though – I have recently been watching reviews of a hotel we are soon visiting and reckon as many as half of them are fake (often it is the reviewers first and only review) which I hate. It is a shame there isn’t a way of making sure every review is genuine. But as a specific book blogger you would think they could work out you are not just doing it because that author is your friend!

  22. It’s not just reviews. I’ve had a similar experience from ‘Author Support’ or whatever they’re called. I did wonder at one point if I was simply emailing a robot. Very unhelpful, to the point of being rude. Good post, shared. Amazon’s service with regard to readers, bloggers, reviews, audible, KDP…at present it’s shockingly bad.

  23. Reblogged this on Suzi Love's Weblog and commented:
    I so agree with this book blogger. The removal of reviews by Amazon, and I’ve lost lots of mine, because we supposedly ‘know’ people who read our book if we cross paths anywhere on social media. And isn’t that what social media is for? To spread our news? Crazy situation!

  24. This happened to someone I know and it all came down to the affiliate program… because you use the affiliate program and promote/guide people to books you have reviewed you then get paid if they buy the book via your affiliate link… this is seen by Amazon as you getting paid for your review and that is what they are banning you for – getting paid to review a book!!

    • So wait, if I get it right, she is getting banned, for reviewing a book she purchased through them and then has readers go though their OWN affiliate program to buy said book? I thought this was the whole idea… -> affiliate makes (in time) some money for pointing buyers in the Amazon direction…

      • I dropped out of the affiliate program so I’m unsure of all the ins and outs, but this is what I have been told by a couple of bloggers that this exact same thing has happened to – but yeah, basically anyone who uses your affiliate link to buy a book you have reviewed is therefore ‘paying you’ for your review – as I said, I dropped out and no longer use the program so I’m only going by what I’ve been told has been said to bloggers by Amazon as to why their reviews were yanked!

  25. I can tell you, it’s not because you are a book blogger. Same thing happened to me, oh about 6 months ago give or take some days. I had either over 200 reviews, can’t remember if I’d hit 300 or not. But maybe that’s their magic number. I’d seen it happen to other reviewers and somehow I was convinced maybe they had forgotten to put disclosures or whatever, because of course that’s what people said. However, I was very careful and made sure if I received an ARC or something I disclosed that. Didn’t matter. One day a bunch of us got the boot. We even tried to organize a bit. But after a while and so much wasted time I just kinda let it go. I get a few ARC and I post to Goodreads, but every time an author comments about Amazon Reviews, I tell my story again – on their public pages – that I’d LOVE to write them a review, but Amazon took away my right to review and refused to tell me why. I got the exact letters you did. Exact. We reviewed different items. They have a Vine program – I’m betting you were ranked – geez, I’m bad with numbers, but if you get too close to the Vine program (the reason you get close to the Vine program is because they kick people out of being able to review) – when your ranking JUMPS up alot getting you close to that magic 100 mark – yea. Anyway, I think that’s part of it. I might have gotten up to the 200s. Either way, one day, all my work gone, not to mention I’d gone through a separation and had no reviews and no order history for my 11 years of marriage, I had to start over. Either way, yes, I agree Amazon sucks. However, as big as they are, you and I are but a drop in the water. And I know it’s hard, but the only way for Amazon to do something about their program, is for the sellers to start making noise. I said this a long time ago. Without sellers, Amazon won’t exist and won’t get money. Sellers are affected by customers being unable to leave reviews. There was talk about Fiver when I was banned. Never used the site, didn’t even know what it was. Seems the only reviews left are the scam, paid for, etc ones. Sellers need to put a stop to the nonsense. THEY are affected by honest and real reviews being removed. THEY are fighting against the waves of made up reviews on products that aren’t worth crap. Look at products with TONS of reviews. You’ll see Vine reviews glowing. Then lots of great reviews. But if you look at the recent reviews, crappy product, 1 star reviews. THESE are the products that need to be targeted, but oh, they are VINE reviews. I dunno how to fix it, I just see the broken system. And those emails from Amazon say it all – they don’t wanna talk to you because they KNOW they are wrong.

  26. Sorry if someone already said this, but I’d advise everyone to make sure your Amazon account is disconnected from all social media. No idea if Amazon is farming Goodreads, Facebook etc. data to determine who you’re “friends with” or linked to, but it can’t hurt. I have a friend who works at Google who put me in touch with someone at Amazon, and I wrote to her to ask for clarification on this stuff…no answer. Not even, sorry I can’t answer. Nada….

    To disconnect your Facebook or Twitter accounts:
    Go to Your Social Settings.(https://www.amazon.com/gp/socialmedia/settings?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0&amp😉
    Click Disconnect my Facebook account from Amazon or Disconnect my Twitter Account from Amazon.

    xo sorry Amazn sucks 🙂 Brad

  27. I’m so sorry that this has happened to you. We (authors) appreciate the hard work that goes into each and every review. I’m glad that you mentioned reviewing on other retail sites. It’s particularly hard to get readers to post reviews on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo. So when a reader or book blogger goes that extra mile it’s appreciated more than you know.

  28. I’ve been hearing these rumblings for months but up until now haven’t had to dealt with it myself. A friend of mine wrote a book, and I finally got around to reviewing the thing in the past week or so. She had maybe 3 or 4 total reviews at the time I posted. After I read this today, I decided to check on her book to see how it was doing. Every one of her reviews have been removed. Every. Last. One. This has to be incredibly disheartening for her; I know it galls me. I haven’t had any reviews removed from my books yet, which honestly surprises me since one of my friends absolutely gushed about being my best friend. It just makes me wonder what criteria they’re using to pull reviews.

  29. This is the kind of shit that pisses me off.

    You stated that you gave glowing 4-5 star reviews that have now been removed.

    I’m in a book review group, so I review 3-6 books a month. I’ve gotten books where I’ve posted a solid 3 star review and the owner of the group’s page was contacted by the author (!) regarding my review. She said it was the first 3 star review she has ever gotten, and wanted me to delete the review. I was pissed, because it was an honest review, but I begrudgingly deleted it as to cause no harm to the group owner’s credibility/reputation.

    Some of these books I see are riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, yet they have 5 star reviews across the board. I don’t understand why Amazon doesn’t review these books, because there’s no way possible that every single person that has read the book had no complaints. You start to feel that those reviews are by family members, friends, or paid reviewers.

    No, instead they look at legit reviews and either delete them or ban the reviewer. It’s maddening.

  30. Ever since Amazon created kindle unlimited, my book sales have dropped by half and never recovered. Most of the indies I know are in the same boat. Amazon looks out for Amazon. Not authors or bloggers. Which is fine. But I’m going somewhere else instead.

  31. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a reviewer being banned and basically given no elaboration on the reasons why. You’d think they’d let you know so you have the opportunity to fix your reviews and if you don’t then, yes, you are trying to manipulate reviews. But they don’t offer that chance. You are instantly assumed guilty. =(

    I recently lost 10 reviews on one of my books. Another author I knew lost of a bunch of reviews on her debut book. She emailed them and they claimed she knew the reviewers. I didn’t bother to email Amazon because I assumed that would be the answer they’d give me, and they’d refuse to explain how they came to that decision. I’ve also heard authors say when they did press Amazon, Amazon threatened to ban them from selling books! I’ve basically got to the point where I don’t seek out reviews because who knows if it will get removed in the end? Which sucks because I love getting reviews––even the bad ones because those let people who wouldn’t like the book know to avoid them.

  32. Pingback: Amazon, you hit like a bitch. | thelittledeathisabigo

  33. As an author, thank you so much for reviewing – even if it’s no longer allowed on Amazon.

    If your authors also publish on Smashwords or Draft2Digital, buy from there – it’s not as well known, but it puts your reviews out on some main distribution points without having to tangle with the 100 pound gorilla. (Yes, I’m there, no I’d rather not have to be.)

    I’m not familiar with Draft2Digital’s review policy, but I have run into a few of the tripwires on Smashwords – if you don’t buy there, you can’t review there. It sucks, because I’ve found some wonderful author gems who sent me ARCS, and when I tried to leave a review for them, I couldn’t. Amazon tackled the fake reviews one way, Smashwords another. Frankly, irritating as it is, I like Smashword’s idea to combat the issue better, but that’s just my opinion.

  34. You are not alone in what has happened to you. I also was wiped around the same time as you and I lost over 1,000 reviews (book and product reviews). When I called and emailed them I received the same responses that you did. They cannot tell me what i did wrong and will no longer answer my emails about it.

  35. Echoes of Kafka’s ‘The Trial?’
    (My sympathies, years I had a related experience on what Lulu called ‘Shameless Publicity’, thought at the time it was all an obvious joke pretending that several folk had hacked into my account and were arguing over my book , some one complained- and a pompous moderator told me to stop posting, I posted an apology for my previous posts and the fellow banned me for posting an apology- when I tried to ‘chat’ to a c/s person on Lulu, they were flummoxed – ps the moderator’s books were…..well…. I maintained my dignity and did not comment on them

  36. Just another example of Amazon’s ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’ mentality! Q: What sells books? A: Reviews Just because you follow an author on social media does not mean you KNOW them! And this is how they’re saying you know the author, because you follow them socially you’re corrupting the system! I would like to say I’m surprised but with everything that’s come out lately about pages read, this doesn’t shock me, but it makes me sad that you lost all your hard work.
    E

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