Amazon Removes Hundreds of “Verified Purchase” Reviews

This is a fascinating forum post. Apparently, publishers are sending Amazon gift cards to reviewers. The reviewers buy the books and then write the reviews.

The reason publishers do it? To get the “Amazon Verified Purchase” badge on the review.

Cheating? You decide. After all, it’s just a way of getting review copies into the hands of reviewers, so there shouldn’t be a problem. However, if it’s a sneaky way of getting the “Amazon Verified Purchase” notification, making it look as if it’s a enthusiastic buyer who bought the book and then wrote the review… it’s cheating.

Of course, Amazon is completely aware of who bought the gift card, who bought the book, and who wrote the review.

Read the post, Amazon.com: Customer Discussions: Cheating with supply of review copies – the Amazon Verified Purchase scam:

“Some authors and publishers, seeing that some customers attach an importance to those Amazon Verified Purchase badges that I think they don’t deserve, have tried to get round the problem by sending Amazon gift cards for the value of the product to their reviewers, who then use that credit to buy the product.”

It looks as if Amazon’s cracking down on reviews in which there’s a connection between the author, publisher, and cover designer.

Also from the above forum post:

A graphic designer, who does book covers for authors, received an email from Amazon that she is not allowed to review the books/stories that she designs the covers for, even though she gets paid a flat rate, regardless of sales of the book, even though she chooses to review only the books she likes or reads when she makes the cover, etc., but they still consider that a monetary and material connection to the product, so she can’t review them any longer.

I’m with Amazon on this one. I constantly buy Kindle books. Reading is my pastime, as well as my business. Over the past couple of months, I’ve become chary of four and five star reviews on a book, to the point where I read the one-star reviews first. More to the point, I trust the one-stars more than the five-stars.

I’m sure I’m missing out on some great reads this way, but what can you do if the system is being undermined and gamed?

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.

One thought on “Amazon Removes Hundreds of “Verified Purchase” Reviews

  1. Angela:
    Walt Whitman is well known to have reviewed his own Leaves of Grass pseudonymously.

    As long as we live in a capitalist society, people will seek advantage in making money within and outside of the rules, from the loaded-dicers in the alleyway to the megabanks behind the casinos.

    I have written a lengthy blog post about how Amazon’s review policy contributes to a monopoly, and also compare it to DRM:

    http://clothosloom.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/cowboys-and-indies-amazon-and-monopoly-in-the-free-market/

    Since posting the article a couple of days ago, I have confirmed from three separate reviewers that, not only have their legitimate reviews been removed, but they cannot even submit completely new reviews for the products, in strict conformity with the guidelines. In other words, Amazon is banning PEOPLE, not just REVIEWS. The business about violation of guidelines is nonsense.

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