Fake Amazon Reviews, Real Angst
NOTE: This post originally appeared on October 19, 2016. Since online holiday shopping has begun in earnest, we want to do a public service and make sure you know that real people are reviewing the gifts you buy on Amazon. USA TODAY's Matt Granite says, "Amazon has many of the most competitive and aggressive Black Friday deals this year."
Author Kristin Johnson here. I am an Amazon reviewer. I've also been reviewed on Amazon. I know that Amazon works on its policy constantly, which is why it's the 500-pound gorilla of book and shopping sites.
Now author Anne R. Allen has written a viral post--upwards of 5000+ views/likes/eyeballs and 101 comments on her blog (with Ruth Harris--called Amazon’s New Review Rules: Should Authors Be Worried?
Allen writes about changes to the Amazon policy that prevent scammers posting fake reviews (positive or negative) for products they never even bought from the site. She adds, "Should we be worried? Is the Amazon Review Inquisition going to excommunicate more reviewers and banish our reviews?They will if you break the rules. But the good news is the rules aren’t quite as inscrutable as they used to be. They’re more straightforward and easier to follow."
The takeaway: “To post a review, customers must spend at least $50.00 using a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50.00 minimum. Customers in the same household cannot submit a review for the same product."
As authors we want honest reviews of books (and anything else), no matter if we disagree with them, e.g. "They just don't get my version of James Joyce's Ulysses set during a zombie apocalypse!"