Comments: 8
Linda Hilton 10 years ago
I'm going to guess that they think the 4-star reviews will keep them under the radar. It doesn't matter, really, because Amazon won't do anything. Amazon does not remove "commercial" -- paid for -- reviews.

There are dozens of "Top Reviewers" on Amazon who have been identified as paid sellers from fiverr. Approximately 5,000 to 6,000 of their reviews and ratings have been removed from Goodreads, but they continue to post their advertisements in the guise of consumer reviews on Amazon.

Debbie's Spurts 10 years ago
Because amazon.com is subject to U.S. consumer laws -- while paid reviews are allowed in with consumer product opinions, paid reviews not disclosing payment received (monetary or services, including review exchanges) are not. Those are considered fraudulent and amazon's stated policies prohibit reviews not complying with the FTC disclosure guidelines.

In practice, amazon tends to only act on the ones that are not perceived as book promotional. And even then they act at a snail's pace.
Debbie's Spurts 10 years ago
I'm surprised at how often I see a reviewer profile that a group of reviewers use. How on earth is a business entity with a handful of reviewers writing reviews considered an individual consumer? Granted the individual reviewers might be but why aren't they reviewing under their own profiles? (I know, stupid question because probably they do review individually then add another review under the blog/company name then go around upvoting each other's reviews and campaigning the blog followers and participating authors to also upvote those reviews). Grrrr...

Frankly, unlike fivver or other paid reviews, the "group" "brand" "business" reviewers with several individuals participating are something amazon could very easily identify and remove. We'll see if or how long it takes them to act on my reporting this one.

If the bloody damn awful badly behaving minority of authors would stop getting by with attacking reviewers and all this fake or outright illegal crap -- maybe they just might be able to actually get more reader reviews. I am absolutely sick that dozens of reading community friends I used to follow no longer review. I review less myself (not as fun anymore) and certainly don't review new to me authors without checking them out ...
Debbie's Spurts 10 years ago
U.S. consumer fraud laws don't agree. Plus if the reviewers don't want their review conditions/policies considered the same as the blog's they need to be reviewing under their own accounts and not under a group account for said blog. Since they are all reviewing from that account with a profile linking to the blog, the blog payment/funding stuff behind the account/blog has to be disclosed in the individual reviews and even then it is possible that account should not be considered a consumer and instead should go in with the editorial opinions if allowed at all. Amazon has fought through the court system before and made settlements with the FTC before so they could very well let it stand and just wait for the legal battles.

It's not a consumer product opinion if it is cross-posted from a review site with multiple reviewers (whether or not they identify themselves) and payment/funding in any form whether for the blog or the individual reviews (again, if they don't want to have to disclose the blog terms then they need to review under individual accounts and not the group account). That's not a consumer reviewing; that's a business entity, organization or group account.

And anything at all behind a review other than a reader (not a group of readers or a company or a website) just stumbling across a book and obtaining by means available to any other member of the general public that is not disclosed (including payment for reviews or for the company site) is CONSUMER FRAUD.

The reviews, if they want to post in with consumer reviews, have to disclose all the fine print and details or they need to be removed. If the individual reviewers and the individual reviews have no compensations behind them, on the individual reviewers account nothing has to be disclosed; but, on the group blog account attempting to post as if just a consumer that's a whole other bag of worms and the funding/payment/compensation (even if just for the blog itself) has to be disclosed.

It does not belong in with consumer product opinions on sites subject to U.S. consumer laws unless everything not readily apparent to the general public gets disclosed (and, no, having to follow the link to their website and wade through menus looking to see if anything is disclosed doesn't count -- the review has to say so). And it must be from an individual consumer, not from a group of people.

If the review site is getting compensated or funded in any way, reviews have to disclose to be considered consumer reviews. Otherwise, it's a paid or professional review or outright consumer fraud if echoed to sites hosting consumer product opinions. The blog itself can choose to not be a site with "consumer product opinions" and clearly say so thereby avoiding all the disclosure stuff; of course that also means the reviews could not then cross post to sites like amazon with consumer reviews (again, unless disclosed).

They need to rethink using a group account versus individual accounts to cross post reviews. If reviewer receives no money,salary, advertising being purchased on the blog site, free books, services or anything else for the reviews and wants to cross post their review on amazon under their own account -- no problem whatsoever and doesn't violate consumer laws or amazon policies. If the individual reviewer receives anything for the review (even a free book) and wants to cross post to amazon with that disclosed under their individual account -- no problem. Under a group account from a group/blog/business/organization, problem; particularly if the group site has fine print that the reviews don't.
Debbie's Spurts 10 years ago
I hope amazon gives them a chance to copy the reviews onto individual reviewer accounts (with proper disclosures) before outright deleting but the group account should not be allowed to review and none of those reviews should remain without proper disclosures.

I strongly suspect that any compensation/funding/advertising or whatever the blog site gets is at least partly because of the reviews even if not directly paying for a review. It's not uncommon for those funds (and any books submitted or provided free for review) expect reviews to cross post to amazon or other sites and often that's even in the agreements (particularly free for review books) -- those agreements that aren't readily apparent to the general public looking at the review as if just from a consumer being exactly what the consumer laws are trying to prohibit unless disclosed.

Even for bloggers on blog sites not getting paid with advertising, funding or anything beyond a disclosed-free-for-review-book -- they have zero business posting consumer product opinions from group (versus individual reviewer) accounts. The reviewer is the consumer, not the group of bloggers.

Amazon sure has been quick to remove book clubs (even ones meeting in real life in libraries and book stores) trying to review under a group account soley on the basis that they needed to review under their own accounts because group accounts are not allowed.

Why should a funded blog's group of reviewers be considered more of an individual consumer than a group of readers wanting to review from a group account?
Linda Hilton 10 years ago
Based on past performance, Amazon won't do a blessed thing.
Debbie's Spurts 10 years ago
They don't like bad publicity around the times they are releasing new things and the holiday buying season; reporting during those times seems to be more effective. I was hoping I was reporting close enough to the release of the Fire phone to see some action.

An account for a group of people, seriously, how on earth is that a consumer review? Why cannot they just review under their own consumer accounts? Why should group accounts for 3 to 500 people get put into top reviewer ranks? Of course if the account has 500 people reviewing from it they will likely have 100s of times more reviews than a review account for just an individual consumer, duh! And it's not like the individual accounts couldn't also reference the blog on their profile and in their reviews.