Gossip and Rumors, Reflections

Amazon Reviews: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Yesterday I got an email from a fan. She said she read one of my books and enjoyed it, and she decided to write an Amazon review. (I include a short note at the end of all of my books asking readers to write a review.)

When she submitted the review, however, she got an email from Amazon saying her review had been rejected. So she wrote to Amazon customer service asking what was going on. (How many readers would even bother at this point, I wonder?)

Amazon customer service told her the review had been rejected “because she knew me” and it was therefore a violation of their Terms of Service for her to write a review for one of my books.

Now, until she contacted me about this, I had never heard of this person before in my life. (She has asked me not to print her name publicly, so let’s call her Jane Doe.)

She then complained again to Amazon’s review-appeal@amazon.com team–bravo, Jane!–and was again told she knew me (completely false) and her review was still rejected.

This raises some serious questions.

First, why on earth does Amazon think I know this random fan? And why won’t they show her the evidence of this supposed “misconduct”?

Second, how many other reviews have been rejected for my books because Amazon claims I somehow know them when I don’t?

Finally, in a broader context, is it not troubling that we are all guilty until proven innocent on the Internet? America likes to claim that there’s free speech, First Amendment, blah-blah-blah, but in the end corporate censorship does the job for the government, allowing Washington to claim its hands are clean.

Written by: J.M. Porup

Novelist J.M. Porup is An American Dissident in Exile. Read More

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1 Comment

  • James July 29, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Your post is older, but still relevant as it shows the omnipotence of Amazon, it’s down right disheartening. Why would a company making billions through the sale of their own product be concerned over 1 review? We live and die in a review-based business culture and for any small business scraping up a few reviews- to add one or two more sales a day- seems rather disgraceful.

    I personally have been struggling to get reviews. I barely got up to 127 over a year’s period, from which Amazon, quietly without any declaration, removed 5 from both my 5-star and 4-stars! I contacted them 3 times and each time they hemmed and hawed and sent me to some useless email. I could be even more cynical and ask why my 1-star and 2-star reviews don’t disappear?

    My point is, why in the heck does Amazon not track reviews? We all live by them. Secondly, if they are removing them, why are they not telling us first? maybe you’re right – guilty until proven innocent.

    Reply

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