Our Amazon Overlord* Means Business

Especially when it comes to product reviews.

So, here’s some news you can use…

Well, at least it is useful news for me.

And by it, I’m referring to the fact that in order to be able to post a review on any of Amazon’s products — for example: a review for a favorite book — one must have spent a minimum of $50 (or your country’s currency equivalent, I’m assuming) within the past twelve months.

To contribute to Customer features (for example, Customer Reviews, Customer Answers, Idea Lists) or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months. Promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum. You do not need to meet this requirement to read content posted by other contributors or post Customer Questions, or create or modify Profile pages, Shopping Lists, Wish Lists or Registries.

Amazon Community Guidelines

I had no idea there was a spending requirement in place to be able to write a product review.

A big thanks to Shanza and tidalscribe for educating me on this matter.

It just may be the explanation as to why a couple of readers of my lasted novel weren’t able to post reviews recently.

Farther down in the guidelines I also noticed another relatively important tidbit to us authors trying desperately to drum up reviews for our work…

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.

Whoops . . .

It appears a certain someone may have to modify things if this certain someone happens to have another certain giveaway in the uncertain future.


Write on?

*Amazon if you’re monitoring me right now I just want you to know that I am a happy and obedient subject and completely subject to your command



10 thoughts on “Our Amazon Overlord* Means Business”

  1. That’s a kind of extreme requirement on Amazon’s part. Personally I go to Goodreads, then Youtube, maybe Twitter/FB, then here on WordPress when it comes to seeking out book reviews. Amazon is kind of falling behind in relevance review-wise despite being where so many get their books from.

    • Surely there are many review outlets for the discerning reader when it comes to finding worthy input on what to read next; however, there is one place that matters most for the indie author when it comes to selling books and that is of course amazon… and probably will be long into the foreseeable future.

  2. The wording is key on these thing “in exchange for” is a big trigger.
    As a reviewer, I have to say something like “I read a review copy. This unsolicited review is my honest, unbiased opinion.”

    This is why I read through KU when possible, even if the author has sent me a copy. It eliminates their control over my wording. Plus, it gives the author “pages read pennies”.

    Authors are not supposed to ask for reviews, which is dumb because big publishers are allowed to do so. It seems to me to single out Indie authors & publishers.

    There are obviously ways around it. You are a great wordsmith. You’ll be fine.

    • Yeah, I was thinking about the double standards when I was going through the guidelines. I guess editorial review requests made by the highfalutin trades are outside the scope of the guidelines. I guess since I’m a non-highfalutin indie well withing them, and one so dependent upon KDP at that, I should probably play it safe and not try to wordsmith my way around them.

      Key word: probably. 🙂

      Thanks for the great insight from such a popular reviewer as yourself, Gina. And I really appreciate your practice of reading the books through KU. Those little pennies add up nicely.

  3. Leave it to Amazon to make things even more difficult for us to get reviews. Since when does the amount spent have anything to do with reviewing said product? Perhaps the big “A” has not realized many folks have dropped their Prime memberships and/or stopped shopping with them all together in protest over their policies. They are still too big to care, I suppose, but someday they may have to get a little more friendly to lure us all back!

  4. I’ve been given “review copies” (read as free copies) before and had no problem getting Amazon to accept my reviews. Because you’re right…indies (like you and me) live and die by reviews, especially Amazon reviews.

    • Yeah, but just because they get accepted doesn’t mean that some day you might find them whacked. Must be different bots working the beat, a good bot, bad bot routine, perhaps.

  5. The same happens to reviewers. I woke up one morning to find all my reviews removed and I was locked out of leaving new reviews. Ummm. I’m a book reviewer. Talk about killing my business! I contacted them immediately. After 2 days they released my account and just said it was a “glitch”. We live & die by the whims of the Amazon bots.


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