Blogger Confession: Why I don’t post Amazon Reviews

Posted February 25, 2016 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 56 Comments


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Blogger Confession: Why I don’t post Amazon Reviews

I used to cross-post reviews on most platforms: Amazon, Goodreads, Library Thing, Edelweiss (even non review books), and on my blog. Amazon is no longer in my cross-post rotation.

Why? Well it appears on Amazon that people feel free to comment like crazy on any small thing that might offend them. Here are just a few reasons that I don’t do it anymore!

Street Teams/Fan Groups

Have you ever posted a “this didn’t work for me” review and a street team/fan group come after the review? I have only had one experience like that, thankfully. It was a Jamie McGuire book that totally did not work for me. Evidently according to her fandom, I was not only wrong but terribly misguided in life. I have heard far more horror stories from other people: name calling, comments full of hate, and let’s not even mention the vote down option that makes your review ranking tank.Β  So I guess I got off easy but that one incident was enough to make me rethink posting any kind of negative review to Amazon. Problem: I refuse to just post positive reviews. I don’t like everything I buy.

Spoilers (yes or no)

Beware the spoiler sensitive person. This particular one has happened to me numerous times. I tend not to mention any specific story things in my reviews and when I do they are in clear spoiler sections. Problem: some people find that talking about a characters attitude is a spoiler. While we are there let’s talk about other things that might fall into the spoiler sensitive person’s purview: locations, pacing, emotions surrounding the ending, or emotions surrounding the story. I am guessing these are the people that don’t read blurbs. Once you have been told your ruined the book for a person, it is a little hard to feel comfortable posting in the future.

Not liking a fan favorite characters

This spills over to the Movie/TV section. Be wary those that do not like fan favorite characters or disagree with a choice they make. While this doesn’t particular bother me aka when people disagree with me passionately about a character (in fact I love when people love a character so much they want you to know their love). However, when it veers off from passionate defense of the character to attacking that is when I check out.

Final Thoughts

These are the big 3 that I have had happen to me. In each of those cases I removed the reviews. Then that got to be old so I quit posting reviews period. For some reason this kind of stuff just doesn’t happen on Goodreads (at least not to me –or not to a big extent). Amazon, though, is like a minefield that I have no desire to get through.

So there, I came clean. It has been almost 6 months since I posted a book or movie review on Amazon. I just don’t see myself going back. Anybody else quit posting reviews somewhere for particular reasons?

PS: I know this doesn’t help authors and I’m sorry about that. I just would rather keep my love of reading and good book discussion than deal with trolls.

Felicia S
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56 responses to “Blogger Confession: Why I don’t post Amazon Reviews

  1. Wow! Great discussion topic! I am a reader who has always pretty much ignored Amazon reviews. I only post one there if I’ve agreed to post a review there as a condition for receiving a review copy of a book. I agree with your reasons for not posting reviews there anymore, but many of the commenters bring up valid points too. Interesting!

  2. Worst experience for me was when an account using the name C. S. Friedman (I assume it was really her?) commented on my review of her book saying how I had gotten all these things wrong and would be eating my words. I still post reviews now and again when I think of it for books I really wanted to support, but mostly I don’t bother for just that reason. I also am usually writing reviews before the book is out and since Amazon doesn’t allow reviews to be posted before the book is out unless you’re with Vine, it’s too much work to set a reminder and go back to put them in after pub date.

  3. I don’t often post on Amazon mostly b/c of the controversy that is increasing with them not allowing genuine reviews from bloggers. I’ve only had one that didn’t like my review but they just thumbed it down with others and I suspect the author’s family since he wasn’t well known. Plus, I didn’t say anything bad, just that I didn’t love it and give it 5 stars. But, I’m happy that is the worst thing I got… which is really nothing.

  4. April Moore

    I can understand not wanting to leave reviews because of the responses and I respect that, but why go back and look at the responses at all? Why not ignore them? It seems to me that by refusing to leave reviews, you’re letting the trolls win and you and the authors lose. The sad reality is that Amazon has a lot of control over the success of an author’s book. Is it fair? No. Does it need to change? Absolutely. And I think changing the rating system is a start. Book promotion falls largely on the shoulders of authors (traditionally published or not). Any help from readers who truly enjoyed the book goes a long way! Generally, if I didn’t enjoy a book, I don’t write a review; if I liked it, I definitely leave my kudos. If I don’t have anything nice to say (or at least very little nice things) I don’t say anything at all. I think not leaving a review is just as effective as leaving a negative one. Plus, I don’t invite trolls to leave their nasty responses. If you’re leaving a negative review for the sake of potential readers, chances are, if the book truly is poorly written, other reviews will reflect that. Why add a log to the fire? If a book has a lot of positive reviews and your not-so-positive one is in the minority, I can bet readers won’t even takes yours into account–they’re going to pay attention to the majority anyhow. I don’t know what the right answer is and I do think you bring up a good discussion topic. So just my two cents.

  5. Alas, trolls are a fact of life and have bred so ferociously they are now an invasive species. also they are hard to kill so they aren’t going anywhere soon. Just don’t feed them, and they move on to richer feeding grounds.

  6. I haven’t experienced any of these things YET but I’m wary. I don’t keep an eye on how my review ranking is doing though so I might have down votes…Amazon doesn’t make you aware of those, right? It’s ridiculous though that people would attack you for your opinion. Hello!?! Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Who cares if you don’t agree. What lights my fire is that authors encourage the readership to down vote/attack reviews that aren’t glowing. That’s not ethical. And there are books, even by some of my favorite authors, that don’t always work for me. Why should I, or anyone, be attacked for that? I do still post my reviews to Amazon (when I remember *ha*) but I kinda like the idea of not posting there. I can still pimp an author’s work without posting there. Great post, Felicia! Thanks for making me think on this… πŸ˜€

  7. Bravo. I wish more bloggers would stop posting on Amazon so readers have to go OFF Amazon for info about good books. Amazon has far too much power, and I’d love to see blogs regain their status and power again. I think readers need new ways of finding books and not letting Amazon decide what they might like. WTG

  8. I’m sorry you had these difficult experiences. We don’t all enjoy the same books. I think I would try to ignore such narrow-minded commenters but I haven’t noticed that happen to me yet.
    Amazon and Goodreads are part of the same family now… but I agree you are less likely to get those sorts of comments on GR. I think as bloggers we have to get a thick skin too and enjoy our reading and reviewing or it becomes more like work. I have actually started to cross post more since my goal is to support authors. I appreciate your decision and like your comments. Thanks.

  9. Wow, I never had any problems with my reviews on Amazon, but if I did have these problems I would just stop sharing them there t00. That’s the thing with a site like Amazon I guess, where $$ is an issue. A site like Goodreads doesn’t have such an overtly monetary stake in their reviews.

  10. I used to go off of the reviews on Amazon to buy books, well before I really got into blogs and Goodreads and the books were always, always terrible. People would be raving about them and giving them 5 stars and so I’d buy them and always be disappointed. I always wondered how many authors’ fan clubs or families were writing these reviews to hype up a book. Needless to say, a lot of these books have been purged from my shelves and now I’m more likely to not go by what people say or the book’s star rating at all, but just how the book looks to me. As for posting reviews, I just found it more of a hassle and if I want to rave about an author, I’ll do it on Twitter or Facebook or on my blog. I don’t like feeling obligated to post in multiple places.

  11. I just recently had a person comment on a review I posted. I said the book didn’t work for me, gave some of my specific reasons. I was trying to be nice and said “Overall, I don’t think this is a bad book but it just didn’t work for me’. This person commented and said “How can you give it one star when you said it wasn’t a bad book. Authors need these ratings to be suggested by amazon and you should think about that before you lowball an author”. I was really taken aback because that is the first time this has happened to me!! Of course, when I clicked this persons name, all their reviews were 5 stars…I can totally understand why you are hesitant now because to be honest, now I am as well…

    • L. K.

      I rarely leave comments, but felt I needed to reply to this one. You stated you gave a one star review to a book that’s “not so bad.” By giving that book one star you instantly equated it with books that are riddled with grammatical errors, incoherent plot lines, badly defined characters, and overall substandard writing. I believe this wasn’t the case, but that’s what a one-star review reflects. The problem isn’t you–everyone is entitled to an opinion. A review is yours. The rating system is to blame. It doesn’t differentiate between one-star (badly written) and one-star (I don’t like. ) That’s a big issue with writers. If I rated Outlander using the star system, I’d have a hard time giving it even one-star. I didn’t like the characters one bit. Frankly, both Jamie and Claire were as dumb as a box of hammers, but I’ll also be the first to tell you the book was expertly written. I understand why people love it, but I”m not one of them, nor would I recommend the story to others. So what do I do? I can’t give it one-star because it’s well-written, but I can’t give it five-stars because I hated it.

      Trust me, Diana Gabaldon doesn’t care about my opinion or my stars. She’s too busy backing her dump truck loaded with cash to the bank. Neither do her fans. They love her books. But what about new writers, especially indy authors who don’t have the same financial means? The big publishers in New York have deep pockets for advertising, blog tours, and spots in pricey sites like NetGalley and Bookbub. Throw enough cash into the system and you’ll find subtle ways to buy good reviews. For the rest of us it’s a daily struggle to garner a few kind words from people who take the time to read our work.

      So am I saying don’t post one-star reviews? Absolutely not,but understand it equates the book with others out there that are unreadable mush. So what should one do? Sad to say, I’ve struggled over this and have no idea. I review myself and have come across plenty of books I hated, but are well-crafted. I now post those reviews to Amazon and Goodreads without a star rating explaining what I like and what I don’t. It feels like a cop out, but there you have it.

      Review systems are badly designed and desperately need an overhaul. Until that day comes, consider the book as a whole. Was it badly written or did you just not connect with the characters? Does the antiquated star system now seem inadequate? Unfair? Reflect upon those stars before they’re doled out or withheld. Explain the reasons clearly and you may find stars unnecessary after all.

      • You bring up a good point. To me, 1 star isn’t about bad grammar, or poor editing, etc. Even when you click on the stars on Amazon, they say “I hated it”, “I didn’t like it”, “It was okay”, etc. So, for me, I’m going strictly off that. I almost never comment on grammar because, frankly, I haven’t ever read a book where the grammar/editing was bad enough to warrant it. So, for me, the star rating is strictly my feelings on the book. So, if I hated a book, it gets 1 star. But I am always careful to say why I thought it was a 1 star book. Maybe it had cheating in it, and that makes it a no go for me. So, my rating would be 1 star because I hated it, but lots of might love it. So, I think your right-the fault is in the rating system. However, that doesn’t give anyone the right to belittle me on Amazon because they don’t like my thoughts. I think regardless of the reasons why, etc, being rude on a public forum is not cool. Honestly, if Amazon had a DNF, I would pick that instead because often thats really my rating. Perhaps I should try to list the redeeming qualities of the book since that seems to be the issue? If I hated the book, I only list what I hated? To me, this isn’t about helping the author make money. Its about helping the reader find books they will love. So, maybe thats the difference too-the ratings that I give are for other readers, not for authors. I include the information that I would want to know as a reader. Thanks for your feedback. You have given me some things to ponder.

  12. I used to cross post to Amazon frequently, but I stopped for some of the reasons you mentioned. I have also had reviews deleted for no reason so that is the main reason I stopped. I mostly just rely on Goodreads which I love and with UBB it transfers my review automatically to goodreads which is awesome. I hate the whole “was the review helpful” theme they have as well. I feel that it doesn’t do anything for me especially since I am honest in my reviews and if I don’t enjoy a book I am not going to sugar coat it. Love this post here.

  13. Wow, just wow.. I stopped posting there because their rating system seemed skewed to all books getting 4 or 5 stars and it irked me that people would down rate reviews simply because they didn’t agree with the reviewer. Thankfully, I never had your experiences.. I wouldn’t be able to handle them. What happened to ‘to each their own’ or honest reviews?

  14. Hmmm… I’ve had a few negative things like this happen to me, most the spoiler kind. But I kept posting reviews on Amazon b/c it helps the authors. HOWEVER… last year, Amazon began requiring me to answer a question before I could post a review. I had to say what I thought of the author’s writing, and I only had 4 choices to answer… things like “good” “fair” etc. What is the purpose of my review if I have to minimize all of my thoughts into one simple answer. No thanks. It’s ridiculous. So I stopped. And then, what happened to Liza, I was pissed. I don’t need the hassle.

  15. For what it’s worth, I think we’ll start to see a shift away from people using Amazon reviews to decide which books to read.

    Of the handful of reviews I’ve posted on Amazon, only the two-star one got any reaction — and that got voted unhelpful. As much as I know how much reviews help authors, I’d rather stick to Goodreads.

  16. Lea

    Does this seem to happen more often with authors that are not as “mainstream”? I had a friend who is an author and her and her author friends all hate Goodreads (which I love) but she has never complained about Amazon. I don’t usually review on Amazon unless I have something to say that might be helpful and then usually only if there are less than 100 reviews. I review every book I read on Goodreads tho to return the favor of all the info I get from there.

  17. I have had some strange comments on both Amazon and Goodreads, but nothing really nasty. I think I could delete it on Goodreads. I am months behind on posting on Amazon and Goodreads, but occasionally I spend an hour copying my reviews there. I never look back, and I don’t have a rating anymore I think.

  18. I stopped adding reviews to Amazon long ago, except for the ARC and only IF I commit to the publisher that I will cross post there. Otherwise, I just cross post to Goodreads with a brief final thought. It became too cumbersome to go to various sites and copy/paste a review. Ain’t nobody got time for that. lol I am familiar and have witnessed street teams and other bloggers encouraging the vote down, and it’s a pet peeve that grinds my gears. It’s a misrepresentation, in my opinion. The spoiler issue drives me crazy, and you’re right about different spoiler strokes for different folks. The wind blew in this book….Oh! Cry spoiler! Sorry, but not sorry. You can’t please everyone and fortunately, these things haven’t happened to me, but I’ve seen exactly what you’re talking about. There’s always going to be someone crying, “Offensive!”

  19. In my early days of reviewing a few people complained that my review gave the whole book away and that a review should only be one or two brief sentences. Her lecture was longer than any review I had ever written and then I noticed she this to everyone regardless of what the review was. I just ignored her.

    I don’t pay attention to what happens to my review once I post so they all may have been down-voted or someone is over there screaming at me lol

    I stopped posting reviews on Amazon because they kept getting plagiarized. And not by bloggers/reviewers but by spam commenters. They would take snippits of my review and post them in someone else’s review for the same book and a link to whatever website/product they were trying to push.

    I know now that they have a policy of not posting your review if you follow an author on any social media. I just can’t be bothered with all that.

    I do feel bad for the authors but….

      • Here is the Amazon Review guiideline:

        Promotional Reviews – In order to preserve the integrity of Customer Reviews, we do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services, to post negative reviews on competing products or services, or to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For the same reason, family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.

        How they determine you are a close personal friend is “iffy”—from what I can tell it is random. It could be based off your social networking or any number of things. There is no clear cut answer to the last.

  20. I didn’t have that bad of experiences with posting to Amazon, but because of yours and others that did I don’t post to Amazon any more either. It’s been YEARS for me. I don’t even read book reviews on Amazon tbh. You’re not alone though! πŸ™‚

  21. Yep, I am done posting on Amazon too. I never got a personal relationship letter, but sometimes Amazon makes my reviews disappear even if they say they are posted. It primarily happens with one author that I have reviewed the most. The frustrating thing is that I buy all the books I review on Amazon. whereas anyone can post a review even if they have not read the book. I have seen reviews that are packing complaints etc. I actually have taking a long hiatus from reviewing on my blog too, my heart isn’t in it right now.
    Like someone else mentioned it is hard to trust reviews on Amazon for books. I was looking at an ebook that had 66 reviews and only one was a verified purchase. That tends to make me suspicious as a reader.

  22. I stopped posting my reviews on Amazon as well due to a couple of negative experiences that have never occurred on Goodreads. I have had some nasty comments made and I also don’t like that people can flag your as unhelpful without siting a reason. I also don’t like that I can’t post my reviews until the book releases, and so most of the time I don’t remember to go back and do it. Amazon doesn’t seem to have checks and balances and so I am done with them.

    • Hello, Heidi!

      I can’t seem to leave a reply to the whole blog post (or I’m missing where to do it), so I’ll respond to your comment as I have questions regarding something you’ve said.

      I agree with many of the comments left on this blog. So many things are unfair and make it difficult for bloggers to leave HONEST reviews on Amazon. Opinions are like bellybuttons – everyone’s got one! And we should all be entitled to them. However, although nasty comments are also “opinions”, I think there’s a measure of responsibility and kindness to each other that should be exercised to govern responses. Nasty comments are just uncalled for!

      I am personally working on a project where I’m gathering information about how bloggers and readers feel about the current rating and review systems and so many of these comments are useful!! Thank you all for sharing your opinions!! And thanks to Felicia for sharing her experiences!!

      As such, I was curious, about what you say here regarding people flagging a review as unhelpful without giving a reason. I’d love to know what you would suggest be some of the responses. Let’s say Amazon did allow people to justify their “thumbs down” (which I think is a good idea). What kind of responses would give you a better idea as to why someone might have given a review a thumbs down…or up? Perhaps…

      –I don’t agree with the review
      –Too many spoilers
      –I thought this review was harsh and unfair

      Of course, those would be for the thumbs down. And I’d love to see others chime in with other helpful responses.

      Then, the follow-up question I have to this is what’s to stop someone from answering untruthfully? For example: Even if this answer was an option, I highly doubt someone would answer, “I’m on her street team and I’m trying to push this bad review down the ranks so it won’t be seen.” *grin* So would these answers really help?

      I personally don’t agree that Amazon should not allow people to post reviews if Amazon has deemed the person has a personal relationship with the author. My mother cannot post reviews on my own novels and I’m really curious as to how the hell they found out we’re related when we have completely different names! (*Arial looks over her shoulder at the big gorilla named Amazon*) I get WHY they’re doing it–because they think those opinions are biased–but friends, family and especially street teams and review teams may genuinely like the author’s work! So what if their opinion is a little biased?

      BUT what if there was a notation that says, “This reviewer has a personal relationship/connection with the author.” Would that be helpful? Does such a label make people disregard the review? If so, then I can see why Amazon might want to not post it, though I still don’t agree with their philosophy. IF it was possible to note that the reviewer was a member of the Author’s Street Team, would that be useful? If Amazon has found a way to note if a reviewer is following an author on social media, why not just let the review be posted, but note, “This person is connected to the author via social media.” Would that be productive/positive/useful information? Thoughts, anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

      Thank you so much for your input and any input anyone else has to offer! I’m genuinely curious about how we as a community of readers and authors can help improve the rating system in our own little ways.

      • Arial is Facebook connect to your Amazon account? That’s how they find the connection in most cases. If your Amazon account is connect to Amazon, and your mother is a friend. That boat has sailed.

        There’s also the thought that they might be datamining from Goodreads, which they own, in terms of who is your friend there. Just two possibilities.

          • They will never say how they get that information. Being in IT I can tell you it could be any number of ways: IP addresses, social networking connects (not just the obvious ones but like Flikr) , or anything really. I am not sure their exact way of determining. Their policy doesn’t state how they determine it just that they don’t allow it.

            Promotional Reviews – In order to preserve the integrity of Customer Reviews, we do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services, to post negative reviews on competing products or services, or to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For the same reason, family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.

            • My husband told me that there is some kind of legal case going on now where the state or government (I don’t know the details) are trying to get it where employers cannot discriminate against a potential employee based on what they see on Facebook. I need to find out the facts here, but if this is true and it goes down, as an author, I would want to use that to go to Amazon and say, “Sorry! You can’t do this. That’s discrimination and you’re making personal assumptions about someone’s opinion, which is affecting my ability to gain reviews.” As an author, I’m not allowed to leave reviews for fellow authors because of my social connections…and yet that’s my job! I read and review books as part of my daily peer support and professional interaction. It’s crazy.

  23. I still do post reviews on Amazon every now and then, and apart from being down-voted every now and then, nothing has really happened to those reviews. I just don’t know that it’s worth my time, but if an author asks me to cross-post, I’ll do that.
    I have seen some comments on other people’s reviews, though and I’m just :O I don’t have time to go search out negative reviews for books I liked, and I don’t get that that’s something to actually do.

    • Right? I am like do you really have time to track all the reviews written for a particular author, book, whatever? That has got to be exhausting! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Heck I don’t even have time to track my reviews —if it wasn’t for emails sent when someone responds I would not even know.

  24. I had it happen, a street team jumped on me..but I ignored them. I tend to make my reviews spoiler free, unless clearly marked, but have to wonder why would anyone who doesn’t read the synopsis read a review? Of course I want you to love the same books I do, but we are all different and our journeys aren’t the same. Great post Felecia. I am sorry you experienced any of these things.

    • It wasn’t so bad and I have a pretty thick skin but for something that is fun–I just choose not to throw my hat into that ring anymore. I like goodreads better anyway (even though it is owned by Amazon). It seems more reader friendly.

  25. I used to routinely post reviews on Amazon until a few months ago when one was denied because “there was evidence I had a personal relationship with the author.” I fought this with a vengeance and Amazon was downright rude about it. As best as I can tell, I was a Facebook friend (that’s how the author had her account set up) and Amazon’s algorithm screened me out.

    Now, I only post author/publisher review requests, including NetGalley reviews. The above situation just sent me over the edge. That “not helpful” tag is just a means for people who disagree with your point of view to ding you and is horribly abused, especially by street teams and that ilk.

    Right now, and I’m only posting on Goodreads and the blog. I couldn’t be happier.

    • Oh I forgot about the “personal relationship” emails that went out awhile ago. I never had one removed but yep at some point it is just too much work.

      Street teams quite frankly scare me if they are of the militant type. I get supporting and promoting your favorite authors but going after those that don’t share the love—UGH!

      Me too on the Goodreads and blog. I occasionally remember to post at library thing but I just import my reviews into Edelweiss once a quarter LOL πŸ™‚

  26. That makes me feel better about never remembering to cross post on Amazon. I have a plug in that automatically posts to Goodreads but my reviews tend to go off on personal tangents that aren’t really appropriate for Amazon reviews. I’d have to write a separate blurb for there and I just haven’t taken the time.

  27. That sucks. Honestly, I don’t understand why Amazon allows comments on customer reviews at all. I guess they’re trying to make it a social site too. Blech. Plus, the whole “was this review helpful” system is a joke. They should change it to the Goodreads “Like” system instead, if they have to have something like that.

    I’ve received a couple of snarky comments on my reviews there, like “I don’t understand how anyone could like a book like this!” or “You wrote a book report!” LOL. My reviews are so dang brief, I feel like I hardly say anything about the plot at all. So far, I’ve avoided the wrath of a street team, though it seems teams aren’t as popular with the books I’ve been reading.

    • I don’t get it either. I mean it makes no sense. It makes even less sense on the product side. Like is someone going to say “you mean that toilet paper wasn’t the best ever”. Seriously, it is just a review.

      The Book Report thing cracks me up. If the review is longer than you want to read then skip it. I mean I get 4 sentences is a lot but really LOL

    • Lea

      Yeah the “not helpful” voting is weird. How is my review telling you how it worked for me (I’m thinking about non book items) not helpful!?!

  28. I’ve never been very good about posting reviews on Amazon. I mostly just post indie authors reviews there. So far, I haven’t had any issues, but I’ve heard of some others who’ve had this issue. I think Tori made a comment on Twitter that one told her she wrote a book report, but the review was really short. *shakes head*. Stupid people, the world is full of them.

    • Yep that was Tori and it cracked me up. First that someone would comment on a review being too long and Second that a sentence is too long πŸ™‚

  29. Well, I don’t write reviews at all anymore, but when I did I never posted on Amazon, nor do I look at reviews on Amazon. It’s just not a reliable place for book reviews. Sorry you had to deal with all of that!

  30. That does suck- and yes, I read an awful book once, like really awful, and when I wrote a review for it on Amazon I was fairly kind, even though I rated it low. Still got downvoted though. It definitely made me leery of posting reviews on Amazon. I thought the reason for reviews were to help people make a decision when purchasing, not kick off a witch hunt.