By now you undoubtedly read about Amazon’s decision to remove a large number of questionable book reviews. This is a problem that’s existed since the first day Amazon reviews. Most are probably from legitimate customers but quite a few are undoubtedly from friends, family, and others who never even opened the book.
As authors and publishers figured this out more and more of them have used it to game the system and look for an advantage, especially on publication date. The problem only seems to be getting worse so it’s well past the time for Amazon to act.
My question isn’t so much whether they need to intervene but rather how to do so. It feels very Big Brother-ish to have them decide which reviews stay and which go. I’m sure they have terrific data to back up many of their decisions but it’s not perfect and some legitimate reviews could disappear.
Lately I’ve been simply rating books I read on Goodreads but I was thinking I should go back and start posting longer reviews there and elsewhere. I might do that but I’m not going to waste my time putting them on a site where they might get deleted.
I think Amazon should consider a different solution to this problem. How about this?: Only allow reviews from customers who actually bought the book from Amazon? That won’t eliminate all the questionable reviews but I’ll bet it would result in far fewer of them.