I’m the latest in the line of reviewers that have received the email from Amazon stating that they will be removing ‘incentivized reviews’.
Update: This has been crazy. I’ve honestly considering taking this down, but I’m not the only one to freak out over this random email from Amazon that makes it look like they’re yanking your reviews.
What is an ‘incentivized review’? An incentivized review is when you receive a free or discounted product, etc, in return for the review. Now, the Amazon policy does say that this does not hold to books . This seems to be a mass email that was sent out (I’d love to know the parameters on it – did everyone get it? was it if you’ve review more than x amount of products? The reason I’m curious because I’ve reviewed a handful of NON-book products (that were verified amazon purchases), but a couple hundred books) as an update on policy.
Here is the email I received from Amazon:
Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. (Notice it doesn’t say some of your reviews may be removed – but some of your reviews WILL be removed) We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.
Your reviewing privileges will not be affected by this action, but you will not be able to resubmit the reviews that were removed.
To learn about our review policies, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).
Here’s the backup from their website:
- Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
However, it wasn’t exactly worded with finesse so a lot of people (like me!) were like “Gack! But I’ve been following FTC guideliness and stuff!”
Update: I went through and changed the disclaimer on all my reviews after reading up on FTC guidelines to either “I received an ARC from “x” for review consideration” or “I received a free copy from “x” for review consideration.” Changing the language should prevent any problems. There’s some stuff in the TOS about how they don’t want this to apply to books because they welcome reviews of ARCs or whatnot. So, we shall see. I’ll keep you guys updated on how things play out.
So, just to be clear guys, play it safe when it comes to Amazon. Don’t send out copies of your books to reviewers with the automatic assumption that a book given = a review given. You’re sending your book out for review consideration. Which means it may get reviewed, it may not. I’d nix the ‘free in exchange for an honest review’ language too.
Update 2 (10/10/16): There’s been additional commentary (you can see it in the comments below, so I’m not going to paste it here) about ARCs, and having ARC reviews placed in the editorial section. Most of the book reviewers I’ve interacted with have kept some sort of tally sheet letting them know when the book has gone live on Amazon so that they can place their customer review appropriately. Once something goes on sale, it’s no longer an ARC, so I can see the point to removing the mention on an ARC from your review.
I’m definitely no longer freaking out, but I don’t think things are exactly clear cut, either. Again, I’m definitely not the only one confused. (Just the various discussions I’ve seen happening on Goodreads and whatnot.)
We shall see.
Also: As of this point (which I don’t know if this is attributed to me changing the wording on my disclaimers or not), all my reviews (except 2 that -I- yanked for specific reasons) are still up.
I’ll keep you guys updated.