Most writers would not be so unethical as to deliberately give bad reviews to fellow writers' books. Basically they would give an honest review good or bad, or if it's really bad, tell the author privately, if they can.
But now it seems Amazon have applied a sledgehammer approach and are taking it upon themselves to decide writers' close relationships with fellow writers of the same genre.
I think we all thought the reviews that were being removed before Christmas on Amazon.com were aimed at self-published or independent publishers, where friends and fellow writers were likely to post reviews-usually after reading the book.
But it seems 'names' are annoyed too.
Today's Bookseller online has a piece, 'Authors Angry over Amazon review crackdown' worth reading- if you haven't already.
I missed this Telegraph article over Christmas on the subject.
Amazon seem to have decided that they are going to judge whether the writer of a review is "perceived" to have a "close personal relationship" with rivals.
On what basis do they decide that one person appears to have a close personal relationship with the writer of a book they've reviewed?
Do they define it by the other person following and commenting on your blog, or website, or perhaps talking to you on Facebook? Or do you have to actually have met them in real life- and there's online photographic evidence?
Have Amazon never heard of workshops and writing conferences?
A lot of writers become friends at such events and keep in touch, even though they may have never met them before, or never meet them again, merely exchange comments on social media.
If I was considering buying a book on the basis of the reviews, I'm more likely to find the reviews posted are by fellow writers from within the same genre, or genuine fans of the writer's work- who aren't going to say it's good when it really is bad, and can highlight the strengths and weaknesses.
Why should Amazon decide my views on a book/genre aren't valid merely because they could consider I have a "perceived" "close personal relationship" with a writer of the same genre?
If Amazon want to be stupid then they will have to realise, some people will stop posting reviews and will post them on other numerous book sites, and sales may follow.
One writer on Facebook yesterday complained a good review on her book had been removed.
But the case still stands as the author had no connection with either the buyer, or reviewer.
If Amazon wants reviewers to declare if they know the person whose book they have reviewed, I would have no problem with that.
Publishers send review copies of new books out. Perhaps newspaper book sections should start carrying a warning, 'this review is the result of a free review copy'. But I don't see this happening anytime soon...
Have you found previously published Amazon reviews of your books missing?
What do you think of this situation?
Or just share your thoughts...