By Kyle Perkins.
So, a lot of you have been sharing and freaking out over this article which says that Amazon is banning incentivized reviews tied to free or discounted products. Well, you can relax now, and here’s why.
“These changes will apply to all product categories other than books, as Amazon has always allowed advance copies of books to be distributed, the retailer notes.”
Now, while ARCs are permitted, Amazon is notorious for yanking reviews that they perceive to be biased (even when they aren’t), so diligent measures such as regularly screencapping reviews is always a good idea.
Also, there is absolutely no reason a reviewer needs to, or should mention that they got the book in exchange for an honest review. I mean, that information helps no one. Instead, just review the book like you would if you hadn’t gotten it in exchange for a free review.
Ways to avoid reviews disappearing: Do not connect your Fb and Amazon. If the algorithms see that you are friends with someone who reviewed your book (even if they befriended you after they read and enjoyed your book) they may take the review down. Make your friends list private, or at least only viewable to people who are your friends. Phrases like “ARC” or “I received this book in exchange for an honest review” have been rumored to flag the review-yanking algorithms.
So, although Amazon’s current policy change does not affect books, it might be wise to take precautions to combat any future policy changes. It’s already a battle to get readers to review your books. So valid reviews suddenly disappearing can be extremely disheartening.
And a final ‘just in case’ would be to make sure your books are listed on sites like Goodreads so that your reviewers have the opportunity to post their thoughts elsewhere.