It has come to our attention, that Amazon has been taking down book reviews. Some readers report that up to five years worth of their reviews have disappeared. It has also been noted that some people aren’t allowed to even leave a review. This is quite harmful to authors, as reviews are the life-blood of their business.
As we investigated this, Reader’s Entertainment found a news release from Amazon that explains their change in policy. It seems readers must spend at least $50 per year to be ‘qualified’ to review a book or product or you must be an Amazon Prime member.
This still does not explain why they would take down past reviews.
Here is their policy:
Guidelines for Amazon.com Community participation.
Amazon.com 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, 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.
To contribute to Customer features (for example, Customer Reviews, Customer Answers, Idea Lists) or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months. Promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum. You do not need to meet this requirement to read content posted by other contributors or post Customer Questions, or create or modify Profile pages, Shopping Lists, Wish Lists or Registries.
Be Helpful and Relevant
The Community is intended to provide helpful, relevant content to customers. Content you submit should be relevant and based on your own honest opinions and experience.
- For Community features focused on a specific topic, you should only submit content related to that topic.
- Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers should be about the product. Feedback about the seller, can be shared at www.amazon.com/feedback. Comments on a product’s value and sentiment for the manufacturer or price are allowed in Customer Reviews or Questions and Answers. Example: “For $29.99, this blender has outperformed my expectations.” Other uses of pricing, product availability, or alternate ordering options should not be shared in Customer Reviews or Questions and Answers. Example: “Found this here for $5 less than my local store”.
Amazon values diverse opinions, so you may disagree with some content that you come across. Keep in mind that something that may be disagreeable to you may not violate our Guidelines. In order to maintain a welcoming environment for all users, your participation in the Community must always be respectful of others. In particular:
- Don’t post content that is libelous, defamatory, harassing, threatening, or inflammatory. For example, don’t use obscenities or profanity, and don’t express hatred or intolerance for people on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender or gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, or disability, including by promoting organizations with such views.
- Don’t post content that is obscene, pornographic, or lewd, or that contains nudity or sexually explicit images.
- Don’t post content that invades others’ privacy. For example, don’t post other people’s phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, or other personal information, and don’t post links to phishing or other malware sites.
- Don’t impersonate other people or organizations or pretend to be someone or something you’re not.
- Don’t repeatedly send messages or requests to other people.
- Don’t attempt to drown out other people’s opinions, including by posting from multiple accounts or coordinating with others.
- Don’t engage in name-calling or attack people based on whether you agree with them.
- You may question the beliefs and expertise of others as long as it is relevant and done in a respectful and non-threatening manner.
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.
For more information and examples, read About Promotional Content.
Some products containing sexual content and some sex and sensuality products are permitted to be sold on Amazon, and we encourage users to express their opinions about those products. Some sexual content such as nudity and sexually explicit images or descriptions is restricted because audiences within our Community may be sensitive to that content.
Don’t post content or interact with other members of the Community in a way that infringes the intellectual property or other proprietary rights of others. Only post your own content or content that you have permission to use.
Don’t post content that encourages or supports behavior that is illegal, including violence, fraud, illegal drug use, underage drinking, or child or animal abuse. Examples of prohibited content include:
- Content advocating, threatening, or joking about physical or financial harm to yourself or others, including terrorism.
- Content offering fraudulent goods, services, schemes, or promotions (e.g., make-money-fast schemes, pyramid schemes).
- Content posted intentionally as sarcasm as it relates to self-harm or harm to others.
- Content that encourages or supports the dangerous misuse of a product.
Additional Guidelines for Customer Reviews
The following guidelines apply to Customer Reviews in addition to the other guidelines given above:
- If your review is removed or rejected because it does not comply with our guidelines concerning promotional content, you may not resubmit a review on the same product, even if the resubmitted review includes different content.
- Reviews may only include URLs or links to other products sold on Amazon.
- Customers in the same household may not post multiple reviews of the same product.
- We may restrict the ability to submit a review when we detect unusual reviewing behavior, or to maintain the best possible shopping experience.
- You may not manipulate the Amazon Verified Purchase badge, such as by offering special pricing to reviewers or reimbursing reviewers.
To learn more about Amazon Verified Purchase views refer to About Amazon Verified Purchase Reviews.