I’m making another of my forays into activism. But this should be one that any author or reader can understand.Amazon has recently begun discounting reviews on its site. I like Amazon generally for what it’s done to even the playing field for writers. And I understand that the new policy had some good reasons behind it. Far too many people were simply paying for good reviews, and that sort of cheat puts the whole review system at risk.
But still. I believe Amazon has gone way too far in the opposite direction–stating that if the reviewer knows the author, the review is invalid and should be removed. And while this may seem reasonable on the surface, “knowing” the reviewer has come to mean online contact.
And this is simply unworkable. Readers follow authors whose work they enjoy–on their blogs, their Twitter accounts, and on Facebook. They sign up for their newsletters. I’ve done this myself. I had a lovely Twitter conversation with Robin Hobb. It was generous of her to spend her time with me, but I’d already read her books and liked them prior to this. Saying that I’m not qualified to leave a good review of her books on Amazon is just silly.
And there’s a petition on change.org here that anyone can sign to request that Amazon reconsider its review policy. I’ve signed it myself. I would encourage other bloggers to post links to this petition to get the word out. And if you don’t blog, there are Twitter and Facebook share buttons, so you can still spread the word.
Let’s encourage Amazon to come up with a review policy that doesn’t discount the effort many readers put into leaving fair reviews.