Amazon Modifies Its TOS to Prohibit Incentivized Reviews

On October 3 Amazon posted a notice of an update to their customer reviews. This mainly addressed the problem of incentivized reviews that has been a topic of much sometimes heated discussion lately.

From Amazon’s TOS:

Promotions and Commercial Solicitations
In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:

Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.
Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your competitors’ products or services.
Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else.
Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
Posting advertisements or solicitations, including URLs with referrer tags or affiliate codes.
The only exceptions are:

You may post content requested by Amazon (such as Customer Reviews of products you purchased on Amazon or received through the Vine program, and answers requested through Questions and Answers). In those cases, your content must comply with any additional guidelines specified by Amazon.
You may post an answer to a question asked through the Questions and Answers feature (but not a question itself) regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I represent the brand for this product.”). We automatically label some answers from sellers or manufacturers, in which case additional disclosure is not necessary.
You may post content other than Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I was paid for this post.”). However, no brand or business may participate in the Community in a way (including by advertising, special offers, or any other “call to action”) that diverts Amazon customers to another non-Amazon website, service, application, or channel for the purpose of conducting marketing or sales transactions. Content posted through brand, seller, author, or artist accounts regarding their own products or services does not require additional labeling.
Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

For more information and examples, read About Promotional Content.

There is a lot of discussion many places about the disclosure on reviews and, yes, you still need it. Please note that not only will it not save your Amazon reviews but it will make customers distrust any review you post. And any author who encourages this.

Like this one.

screenshot-2373

Then she sort of leaves it up to the reviewer:

screenshot-2372

I know she has been evacuated because of the hurricane so hopefully when she returns home (may it be in one piece) she will find her misplaced good judgement.

Add the disclaimer. If you lose a review on Amazon, it’s just words. If you don’t disclose and people find out you’ve been receiving books you review for free, well, you might lose their trust and that is something  a lot more important than any review.

 

Reviews deleted by Amazon? Here’s why (update)

UPDATE: On October 3, 2016, Amazon announced a change in its policies, eliminating nearly all “incentivized” reviews. According to the new policy, reviews (and certain other content) may no longer be posted on products received for free or at a discount in exchange for a review. Amazon’s own Vine Program is an exception to this new rule, and reviewers also continue to be allowed to post reviews on books they have received for free, so long as the book isn’t given in exchange for the review.

In response to Amazon’s announcement, some sellers and clubs changed to a policy that reviews would now be optional and, therefore, permitted under Amazon’s new rules. They also said that because reviews are optional, no disclosure of the freebie/discount would be required. That is NOT correct. The FTC Guidelines still require a disclosure that the item was received for free or at a discount and who provided it, even if the recipient can choose whether or not to write the review. What’s more, Amazon’s executive customer relations staff have stated that a review “tied to” a free or discounted product is not permitted and that making the review optional doesn’t change that.

The rest of this post was written when incentivized reviews were permitted, provided the sellers and reviewers complied with other rules, including those against manipulation.

For the original post, go here.

Brian Bilston’s Poems – all gathered up into some kind of book thing

I’ve already pre-ordered a Kindle copy which will be released on October 13.

Brian Bilston's Poetry Laboetry

I’m pleased to say that my poetry collectionYou Took the Last Bus Home has now published and is available through bookshops and online stores in both print and ebook formats.

If you’re interested in buying a copy, do seek out your local bookshop – or Hive is an excellent online alternative, as it allows independent bookshops to benefit, thus enabling the book industry as a whole to continue to thrive.

http://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Brian-Bilston/You-Took-the-Last-Bus-Home–The-Poems-of-Brian-Bilston/19417281

It will publish in the US in January.

If you’d like to read more about how I went from posting poems in tweets and blog postings to publishing a book, you can read about it here in a piece I’ve recently writtenfor The Irish Times.

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/brian-bilston-twitter-s-poet-laureate-on-his-print-debut-1.2819450

Brian Bilston

View original post

Stitch's Media Mix

A critical Stitch.

Miss Baci Travels

Travels through European summers

Illuminite Caliginosus

Reviews, Random Thoughts and Life in the USA... from a Certain Point of View

Kanega Ivesi Veritas

Speaking & Writing About the World As I See It

Grammargeddon!

It's not as bad as it seems. Trust us.

The Villain Library

Your every day Villain with a passion for books

The PJV

A Nerd's Wonderland

The Bias

45° off the grain.

'Nathan Burgoine

mostly short queer fiction from a tall queer guy

TheReadEye

"We read to know that we are not alone." -- C.S. Lewis

Brian Bilston's Poetry Laboetry

From Ideation to Poemification

CrazyQuiltEdi

Crazy quilts are unique and innovative quilts created from scraps of materials. My hope is for a world that uses all the scraps, rough cut diamonds and hidden treasures. I blog to make IPOC authors and their works more accessible.

Katzenworld

Welcome to the world of cats!

Robin Ellis

Actor, writer, cook and author

Geeking Out about It

BlerdWatching Waaay Too Much TV

Arizona Angel Feathers

Gemstone Jewelry and other Delights

Begin in the Dark

Targeting the self-published author

David Gaughran

Let's Get Digital

navessa allen

serial novelist

J. W. Kurtz

Fiction Writer, Product Reviews, Politics, and Movies: Something for One and All!

Quoth The Wordsmith

Written words from a (not so) witty wordsmith.

A Broken Laptop

Mercedes M. Yardley's Writing Blog

A Goode One

Sometimes life defies description. But I'll try anyway.

See Sadie Read

Sci-fi, fantasy, UF/PNF & LGBT+

Brin's Book Blog

ramblings of a bumbling bibliophile

Ruthless Culture

Jonathan McCalmont's Criticism

There You Have It

The never-ending miscellany of a passionate life

Daily (w)rite

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

Writing through Rose Tinted Glasses

The blog of Rose Summers - A bright-eyed realist who shares her random musings in 500 words or less (most of the time) and/or videos.

Tez Says

Tez Miller: Reader. Reviewer. Blogger. Urban Fantasy & Futuristic.

Crazy Green Thumbs

Chronicling a delusional gardening experience.

SHE PROJECT

SHE Believed SHE Could So SHE Did...

KJ Charles

KJ Charles is a Rainbow Award winning romance writer and a freelance editor

Literary Ames

Reading through life

Lori Goldstein

Young Adult Author and Editor

Be Still, My Heart

Targeting the self-published author

akaKody

Targeting the self-published author

Old Rocker's Scrolls

Targeting the self-published author

La La in Indieland

Targeting the self-published author

My Fiction Nook

Targeting the self-published author

Literary Escapism

Finding the stories to help you escape.

Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

For badass reviews on all the best Young Adult books

Book Goggles

Targeting the self-published author