How Can Amazon Stop (or Greatly Reduce) Paid Book Reviews?

While a few people, primarily Joe Konrath, think authors buying fake book reviews on Amazon is not a big deal, most of us would rather it stop.

I was going to outline the evils of paid Amazon reviews, how they reward people who lie, but let’s cut to the chase:

How Can Amazon Stop (or Greatly Reduce) Paid Book Reviews?

I’ve heard that paid book reviews are against Amazon’s Terms of Service, but I don’t actually know that. Let’s face it, no one reads those terms of service. Here is what people DO read. The instructions for HOW to post a review.

When someone clicks a link to “Write a Customer Review” they go to a page that asks you:
- Are you over 13 years old?
- How did you rate this item (from 1 star to 5)

You are instructed to:
- Provide a title for your review
- Share your opinion either through a video or at least 20 written words about the product.

The next step that you must take is to Preview Your Review. Here is where Amazon could make a simple change.

My suggestion: When a customer hits Preview Your Review, a popup should come up that says:

It is against Amazon’s Terms of Service to receive payment for writing a review. If it is determined that you have been paid for writing this review, then ALL of your customer reviews may be removed from Amazon. Hit Continue if you agree to these terms, Cancel to end this process.

Holy cow… If I was a paid reviewer, that would stop me in my tracks. If I had been paid to write 100 reviews for other people and Amazon told me that just one more could mean those 100 reviews might be deleted, I’d have visions of hordes of angry former clients demanding their money back. I think I’d hit Cancel and find another line of work in a hurry.

Now, how could Amazon actually determine if the review had been paid for? Simple, go to websites where you can hire people to write reviews. Hire one. When the paid reviewer tells you which review is theirs, then delete every review associated with that user account.

Let me know what you think of this idea via the comments below. If you want to hear more from me (I usually write about funnier stuff), check out books by me (Anne Emerick) and of course, feel free to leave a review of them. I always tell people, “if you think my book is so-so, it is okay to say so.”

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