Update 6/24/18: Everything has been restored for the second time! I’m glad to have my reviews and reviewing privileges back and hope they don’t get lost again.
Update 6/15/18: All my reviews have been deleted again, and I cannot leave reviews on Amazon. The post below was written after the first time this happened and was resolved. I have started complaining to customer service again and will update the post when this is resolved.
After I had written a lot of reviews, I started getting requests for review from authors who offered me free books. Then I started getting requests to review other products and acquired some nice products for free or deeply discounted as a result. Then Amazon changed its rules to disqualify incentivized reviews, reviews for which reviewers were given free products or deep discounts.
I had a number of free products I was testing at the time and felt bad that I couldn’t review them as promised. So I started a review blog and reviewed all the products there.
I have tried extremely hard to follow all the rules as they changed. Years ago, it was acceptable for reviewers to review books even if they had a relationship with the book or author. I wrote reviews of books I edited but always stated that in the review. When that was disallowed, I discontinued it.
When incentivized reviews were disallowed, I made sure that neither the sellers nor I circumvented Amazon’s policies. Many sellers now ask reviewers to purchase the product, then the seller reimburses the reviewer after the review is posted; some even add a bonus to the reimbursement. I have refused every offer I’ve had to do this or anything even remotely questionable in my mind. Whether or not I agree with the rules, Amazon has the right to make whatever rules it chooses on its site, and if I want to use its site, I agree to abide by its rules.
Since I usually read at least five or six books a week, I often post several reviews at one time. A couple of weeks ago, I started to post the reviews for the books I’d read the previous week. I got a strange message that I wasn’t allowed to review the book because Amazon had determined that my previous review on that book indicated I had a relationship with the author. This was on a book I had never read or reviewed before, by an author I’d never heard of until I saw the promotion for a free book. Thinking it was a glitch, I tried to review another book. The same thing happened–on all the books I tried to review. Then I went to my profile page. Instead of more than 1500 reviews, the page showed 0 reviews!
I contacted Amazon customer service regarding the issue. The customer service representative said she would send the issue to a review team to investigate. I should get a response within twenty-four to forty-eighty hours. No response. Several days later, I tried again–with the same results. And again. And again. And again.
Finally, I received a brief message from Amazon that my reviews and reviewing privileges had been restored! Now I have to post the thirty-plus reviews I’ve written on Goodreads and my review blog in the meantime to Amazon.
I always read reviews when deciding to make a purchase–even a free one, and I’m glad to once again be able to share my opinions with Amazon customers.
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