Amazon, KDP Select, and Reviews: A corrupt system?

The last twenty-four hours have proven to make me so hot under the collar I feel I’m going to explode. First, I receive a message from ANOTHER reviewer telling me their review was denied for reasons that are Truly false-this one was for Blizzard, then I found two reviews & ratings had been removed for Snow!
Now, I just recently removed Snow from KDP Select to once more try out have the availability of multiple vendors. I had, after removing Snow from KDP Select, made the request to have them price match the FREE listing that is available everywhere else. This raises concerns for me, as it appears as some backlash for not sticking strictly with Amazon. The review in question that had been denied for Blizzard wasn’t even one that would not be considered wholly positive, though certainly honest, and not biased in any manner as such. Amazon has made the claim this review was biased. If that had been the case I would expect the review to have been of such praise as to put the most well-known authors to shame! I call BS on Amazon/Kindle

Now, a little over a month ago another author had warned me Amazon had been going through stripping away reviews from book reviewers who identified they were given a free copy of the book for an honest review and rating from the author. This was sticking to Amazon’s Strict guidelines, mind you. Below are the guidelines from Amazon as of TODAY-which were Very Recently changed:

Community Guidelines

Guidelines for Community participation. wants your voice to be heard! The Amazon Community provides various features for engaging other users and sharing authentic feedback about products and services – positive or negative. These Community Guidelines help you use Community features, including Customer Reviews, Customer Questions & Answers, Amazon Follow, Profile pages, Outfit Compare, Style Check, Spark, Digital and Device Forums, Registries and Lists.

Note: These Guidelines do not apply to content included within products or services sold on Amazon, which are subject to separate policies.

We take the integrity of the Community seriously. Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including by contributing false, misleading, or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited. If you violate our Guidelines, we may restrict your ability to use Community features, remove content, delist related products, or suspend or terminate your account. If we determine that an Amazon account has been used to engage in any form of misconduct, remittances and payments may be withheld or permanently forfeited. Misconduct may also violate state and federal laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act, and can lead to legal action and civil and criminal penalties.

We encourage anyone who suspects that content manipulation is taking place or that our Guidelines are being violated in any way to notify us. We investigate concerns thoroughly and take any appropriate actions.

By accessing or using our Community features, you agree to our Conditions of Use and to abide by these Guidelines as modified from time to time. These Guidelines apply to any content (including text, images, video, and links) you submit to Amazon and actions you take (such as voting on helpfulness or smiling at a post) when using Community features. These Guidelines also apply to your interactions with other members of the Community.

Note: Additional guidelines apply to Customer Reviews

Promotions and Commercial Solicitations

In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:

  • Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.
  • Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your competitors’ products or services.
  • Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products, refunds, or reimbursements) or on behalf of anyone else.
  • Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
  • Posting advertisements or solicitations, including URLs with referrer tags or affiliate codes.

The only exceptions are:

  • You may post content requested by Amazon (such as Customer Reviews of products you purchased on Amazon or received through the Vine program, and answers requested through Questions and Answers). In those cases, your content must comply with any additional guidelines specified by Amazon.
  • You may post an answer to a question asked through the Questions and Answers feature (but not a question itself) regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (for example, “I represent the brand for this product.”). We automatically label some answers from sellers or manufacturers, in which case additional disclosure is not necessary.
  • You may post content other than Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I was paid for this post.”). However, no brand or business may participate in the Community in a way (including by advertising, special offers, or any other “call to action”) that diverts Amazon customers to another non-Amazon website, service, application, or channel for the purpose of conducting marketing or sales transactions. Content posted through brand, seller, author, or artist accounts regarding their own products or services does not require additional labeling.

Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

-This here. I have been requested a free copy from readers, with their own intention to provide their reviews on many occasions. The one’s I’ve recognized as being removed were from one who had WON the book in Goodreads Giveaway – which Goodreads works with Amazon, and makes the reminder that it is Kind and Considerate to leave a review at both Amazon and Goodreads – and a reviewer who had reached out to me asking for a copy, and that they would provide their review honestly (either way it fell).

  -This also infuriates me that they would identify, at all, that an author cannot request a Read and Review from Book Reviewers. New authors, ESPECIALLY Indie Authors, have to struggle to get their books out in front of the general public, and this Always means putting out the request to Book Reviewers(Bloggers) who are given free copies for their HONEST Reviews, whether that is a Positive or what’s considered Negative. I’m sorry, but Amazon’s Kindle is NOT geared to help in selling or promoting an author’s work unless they get so many ratings and reviews. Their marketing and advertising tools have done NOTHING, and I honestly believe they have individuals that they are paying/utilizing to click simply to drive up the cost that author’s and businesses have to pay.

For more information and examples, read About Promotional Content.

So here I want to point out one last thing: this JUST recently changed regarding Authors and Reviewers. I have had Snow published for almost a year now. It previously identified that if a Reviewer had been contacted by an Author for their review, they would have to identify that in their review when posting – and it would be ACCEPTABLE. Amazon/Kindle is doing something I find completely unethical by removing any and all reviews that were provided previously, that met their guidelines, prior to their modification.

At the very least I would expect them to leave those that were posted prior to the modification that met the requirements at that time. Amazon/Kindle is wrong in these actions, and they are only making it more difficult and regressing on a matter that had once helped to champion forth. I see Bias on Amazon/Kindle. What I want to do is contact a news outlet and identify this change, identify this injustice that so many others are starting to face. It’s hypocrisy, corruption, and bias in the worst forms from a company that is beginning to have too much influence and control. Disappointment reigns supreme on this matter, I honestly expect better from Amazon/Kindle.

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