So, yesterday was not a banner day for me as a reviewer. I got the following short, but not so sweet email from Amazon:
You have failed to comply with our policies by manipulating product reviews. As a result, you may no longer post reviews on Amazon.com, and your reviews have been suppressed. Any new reviews written will automatically be suppressed.
To learn more about this policy, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).
Yep, I now have a great big fat ZERO under my reviews. Every single one wiped out. I’ll admit, I cried. I have to ask myself, why me? What did I do? I can’t concretely say, and since I’ve had a conversation with Amazon about something else that I didn’t like that they did, I knew that I wouldn’t get a single answer from them, so I didn’t bother.
But I was still upset, who wouldn’t be? Let’s face it. I was called a liar and a cheat, and I am neither of those things (as my close friends will tell you). However, I did something that many others before me have done. In fact, I believe that this is going to get worse, not better. We are going to see more and more of this, until likely only verified purchases will be allowed on Amazon. I tripped the Amazon Bully Algorithm, and got squashed like the bug that I am. (In fact, for those that this will happen to later, I think I know what triggered it. I had had reviews that were suppressed previously for an author friend. Somehow they knew we were friends [still not sure exactly how they know that] and they kept rejecting my reviews for “content” when posting them. Since then I had not attempted another review for that friend. Now a year later, I attempted to post a review, and several days later I get the email.) So, yes, I cried. I put “FUCK YOU AMAZON! FUCK YOU!” on my personal FB account, and cried on my good friends shoulder (another author friend who picks me up when I am down, and vice versa). And she told me to buck up, and we’d figure out what to do.
So here I am, doing something. I’m mad as hell, and I really can’t do much about it right? I can’t control the beheamoth that is Amazon. But I can control me and how I react. So, I will continue to support the author’s through my blog (which fortunately has reviewers who CAN post to Amazon), and post my reviews to place I wouldn’t have normally, like GR, BN, ARe and DSP. And I will continue to post their Amazon links, and throw more ARe and DSP links out there. I’ll do the blog tours, and the cover reveals, and the interviews, and the release day reviews. I’ll be part of a blog tour company that will help reinforce what I believe, that authors work hard, and getting their books out there makes people happy.
What Amazon’s words CANNOT take away from me is my reputation. Because let’s face it, their own reputation is not the best, so trying to destroy mine won’t get them too far. I know that I am respected in the MM book community, by authors, bloggers and readers. I know that my reputation is honest, reliable, supportive and caring. Amazon can’t take that away from me, even if they want to. If anything they have strengthened my position.
Moving forward will feel a little tough, but if we are going to fight back against Amazon for their arbitrary and hurtful decisions, then we have to hit them where it hurts, their income statement. So, although I will continue to be an affiliate, and am appreciative of it, I will also be more willing and able to yell the benefits of purchasing at other e-tailers, when the opportunity is there. Because they are the ones that feel the pinch, much more so than me. Supporting them can help the authors keep their product available to more people.
In the meantime, I hope that the authors and bloggers I have supported over the last several years know that my support will not waiver. I will just be doing it beyond the iron curtain of Amazon.