The Irony of Amazon Reviews Mysteriously Disappearing

This post is not a complaint about Amazon reviews. It’s just something that made me smile this morning. I read recently that Amazon is going to crack down on reviews of products or books by people who are somehow related to said product or book. I get that Amazon wants reviews to be unbiased. As a consumer I want that too. And yes, I’ve heard the many stories of frustrated authors whose books have had completely legitimate reviews removed. I am, in fact, one of those authors and I’m not that happy about it.

I’ve had three reviews deleted from my page mysteriously. There were all there for a while and written by completely unrelated people. Two were 5-star, one was 4-star and OUCH it hurts to lose those. I’m guessing that somehow the Amazon algorithm used to crack down on bogus reviews somehow found that one of those writers is my friend on Facebook. He’s a guy I graduated high school with whom I haven’t seen or spoken to for 40 years. But, Amazon decided, I suppose, he and I were too close for their comfort and boom, his lovely review vanished. If you’re reading this, thanks for trying.

They deleted a review of someone I don’t know and to my knowledge she doesn’t know me. Five stars down the drain.

A woman who “liked” my Facebook book page sent me a message saying she was trying to write a review but was unable to “submit” it as Amazon seemed to be blocking it in some way. Maybe they discovered she is one of the 400 or so people who “liked” my page but for whatever reason they didn’t want her review to post.

But, overall I’m doing pretty well for a new nonfiction book about dysfunctional family. Twenty-four reviews, almost all five stars, a handful of four-star reviews and then these two, which are the ones that made me smile.

First is one written by a friend of my sister-in-law, one of the more despicable but true-life characters in my book. The “reviewer” even identified herself in the review as someone who “knows four of the people” I wrote about. She also pretty much said she hadn’t bought or read the book. And, she didn’t say she knew me, because I’ve never met her so I guess that was enough distance for Amazon to allow her review in which says the book is a “sad tale of a woman who is not happy in her own life.” That right there tells you she didn’t read the book because it’s not all sad. Some parts of damn funny, if I do say so myself.

But my favorite selection for Amazon irony in review deletion has to be the one by my brother-in-law. He does know me (alas for me), he’s an actual family member (alas for him since I pretty much described all the family members in detail and he is in no way happy about his depiction because it is, true and undeniably awful). Yet, Amazon allowed him to call me Hitler and that review stands!

But, as I said at the start, I’m just musing, not so much complaining. I’m overall grateful to Amazon for offering a platform for indie authors to get their fine work out there and to promote it to readers seeking new voices to enjoy. I’m hoping to garner so many good reviews I will no longer notice if a handful disappear. (Unlike now when I have pretty much memorized each review as if it were one of my children and therefore I notice when they’re missing!) Until that happens (the magical day when my reviews are in the hundreds instead of the 20s) if there are bumps along the way, if the system is imperfect, I can live with that. But when I realized the irony of stranger reviews being deleted while actual family member reviews are allowed to stay, it did make me wonder what’s up at Amazon?

Have you authors out there had mysterious deletions of your reviews? Do you think this matters much?

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10 thoughts on “The Irony of Amazon Reviews Mysteriously Disappearing

  1. I’m not sure at all how this works but I’d hope they take into account that a) if you’re an author then b) you’ll collect fans through various social media and that c) that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in cahoots or something but just a sign that you have a following.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so too. If I wanted to be in cahoots with a potential reviewer, I’d probably be very bad at it. Ironically, I’ve had lots of people I don’t know reach out to tell me they read and loved my book. I thank them graciously and ask so nicely if they will write a review. They rarely do, despite my polite request. If I wanted to impolitely dictate to someone what sort of review to write, I doubt I’d get a response at all! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do appreciate that. Now if you read my book, maybe you could write a review that says…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That sounds crazy to me that Amazon can arbitrarily decide what a legitimate review is… I have no experience with this yet since I have only one single review on my book, ha ha, and it’s not a Facebook friend, but it’s just insane that someone can’t like your page and review your book too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deb I’ve heard so many crazy stories about deletions from Amazon from many authors. It seems there is no rhyme nor reason for what gets deleted, and it’s frustrating. Although I haven’t lost any reviews as of yet, I’ve been told by a few readers of my books that they were unable to post a review. And since many readers aren’t as particularly tech savvy as us self published authors have to learn to become, they can’t quite navigate around the system very well to figure it out. They also can’t be bothered sometimes if it takes too much effort on their part; after all they’re just appeasing us with a quick review and if the process isn’t quick, they don’t bother.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re exactly right. It’s a dilemma because as a writer you want to engage with the readers who reach out to you but if you do and Amazon discovers the interaction, you may lose a valuable review. I only hope to garner so many reviews eventually that losing a few won’t matter! But it’s still a frustrating event when a reader who wants to post a review writes to tell me she was unable to do so and at this point that has happened to at least two readers of my book. Ironically, Amazon is ostensibly concerned about my friends and family writing skewed reviews. Well, my “family” is only writing bad reviews and some of my friends (who read and said they loved the book) don’t seem to be able to get it together to write reviews. Many of my reviews are from authors who don’t necessarily know me but they relate to the work and the process and understand the value of a review so they will take the time and the effort to write one. Those are the ones it hurts to lose!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did hear the petition asking Amazon to change their “Do you know this author” policy has garnered a great many signatures. Maybe they will listen. We’ll see…. but in the meantime I’m glad your reviews are safe and sound!

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