Amazon Review Policy Weeds Out Social Media Followers

The online literary community is reaching for its torches.

Amazon is full of five-star reviews transparently written by authors’ mothers, best friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family pets. This presents something of a problem for the site, which wants reader feedback to provide value to shoppers, but the Seattle giant’s attempt to manage this minor issue has now backfired to the tune of pissing off a lot of the literary community.

In order to block biased reviews, Amazon has been enforcing a policy banning any social media fraternization between readers and authors. For instance, the following exchange would lead to a review ban.

Indie authors, in particular, have taken umbrage because their livelihood often depends on cultivating a group of fans or a community of consistent readers. In an attempt to (very politely) strike back, author Jas Ward has made a petition imploring Amazon to change their ways, which to date has over 12,000 signatures. From the petition:

We the authors, fans, reviews, bloggers and other individuals in the industry ask that you please consider how the review process is done. By using a reader’s other accessible history to determine if they are worthy of leaving a review by knowledge of an author, is not a fair one. A real fan of any person would, of course, have links to someone they respect and follow and therefore they should have the right to leave a review. The review process has taken so much heat in the last few years, and while we appreciate Amazon trying to make it a respected tool for a buyer when deciding a purchase, this aspect of your system is not a fair or just part.

You can sign it here.