March 2nd, 2020

3 Ways to Prevent Amazon Reviews from Vanishing

Penny Sansevieri

Image by sdecoret from DepositPhotos

Vanishing Amazon reviews have become a consistent part of being an author. It’s a sadly popular problem, and my blog posts that focus on this issue are still some of our highest viewed. Many authors still struggle with this, even with Amazon relaxing their review pulls.

These ideas may help with the disappearance of Amazon reviews. If this is happening consistently to your book, there may be a more extensive issue. I’ll touch on this as well.

Secure Your Current Reviews

You know how it happens, right? All of a sudden you notice a number of reviews are missing from Amazon! For this reason, I urge you to constantly check for new reviews.

One thing I recommend is to take a screenshot of the “Customer Reviews” on your Amazon Author Central page, so you can not only capture new reviews, but observe if any reviews are missing. You may still lose that review on Amazon, but it’s secured in your screenshot, so you can add it to your book page later. You can repost any missing reviews to the “reviews” in Author Central.

I do this regularly: once a week if I’m in between book releases, and more frequently if I’m on top of a new book release.

Sometimes Amazon Malfunctions

The Amazon website is massive, and although it’s hard to believe, Amazon does make mistakes.

This sometimes impacts book reviews. Lately, I’ve had many folks tell me their Amazon reviews disappeared and ask for advice on how to move forward.

It happened that these reviews were posted around the same time. Luckily when the authors reposted the reviews as instructed, it worked successfully. So, sometimes it’s an odd glitch, and it’s worth asking the person who posted the now missing review to try and repost it.

If you are noticing Amazon reviews vanishing (and you took the screenshot to verify this), I encourage you to enlist Amazon’s help via the Help button in Author Central. But, give yourself some time before contacting Amazon because you don’t want to be emotional. I know, easier said than done. When reviews get pulled we feel like Amazon is in the wrong – and maybe they are, but a helpful conversation with Amazon could shed some light on why this is happening and what you can do.

It’s important to inquire with Amazon about your reviews. I’ve had some authors tell me that once they enlisted Amazon's help, they received all of their reviews back.

Ask Your Readers for Reviews

Lost reviews can’t be recovered — and even if Amazon never displaces your reviews, you still want to continue building your number of reviews. I know this may seem very apparent, but authors sometimes forget to keep motivating their readers for reviews.

Dear Reader letters are a great way to boost your reviews. I’ll add a link below to another post I’ve written on this.

This may seem obvious, but whenever I’ve asked authors when the last time they asked their readers or mailing list for a review, they can’t recall. Authors seldom remember to do this. Mailing lists are helpful and if you don’t have one, I recommend you start one asap!

By creating a mailing list and asking readers for reviews, it allows the readers to feel like they are truly contributing to your success. If you respectfully request reviews, you will obtain them.

Help your readers recall why reviews are so important and encourage their input (good or bad). This input can sway a person to buy. Remind readers to provide an impartial assessment of the book.

Vanishing Amazon reviews are unfortunately a battle that will continue happening. Following these key ideas will help you secure your current reviews and continue compiling new ones!

About Penny

Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and her company, visit www.amarketingexpert.com

11 responses to “3 Ways to Prevent Amazon Reviews from Vanishing”

  1. Laura Drake says:

    Penny, I get the screenshot thing, but adding one more thing to my list of things to do every morning makes me want to add arsenic to my shopping list. I've given up trying to do takedown notices on pirate sites - they just pop up over and over.

    Sorry to whine, but all the marketing being on us, and writing and teaching, and...diminishing $ returns.

    Why do we do this again?

    • Piper Aheron says:

      I thank you for the helpful hints, and I agree with Laura Drake. I want to add that I recently tried to post a few book reviews. When I tried to post, I received this small banner from Amazon: "We apologize but this account has not met the minimum eligibility requirements to write a review. If you would like to learn more about our eligibility requirements, please see our "community guidelines." Community guidelines link to a policy that states I MUST spend $50+ dollars in a consistent 12 month cycle on the SAME credit/debit card or I'm ineligible to leave a product (or book) review. My account is 10+ years old, but the books I were to review were "gifts" for review.

      I do have book reviews on my own authors page, and I do try to cooperate with Amazon. But why can't I just sign in and leave a review? Why MUST I pay Amazon for products (books) when I prefer to purchase from local bookstores or local retailers? I know this is altogether a different subject than what you wrote about, but at the same time, the reviews (all positive) isn't posted and the author is missing potential sales possibly. How is it Amazon can interfere in our consumer rights and free speech? Would a review be considered part of free speech? I PREFER to support brick-and-mortar as much as I can as a writer and a reader, but I use Kindle too. Is my situation really impacting Amazon to the point that they've got to mandate my purchases and dictate my ability or inability to post a review for my fellow authors? Yes, I'm whining as a writer, but I'm angry as a consumer. Why do this stuff in an era of diminishing $ returns? Writers are weary and readers are befuddled, and marketing has turned into an exhaustive circus for the majority in the publishing/print industry. Why jump through Amazon's hoops when they do little by way of support? They're a distributor, yes. A dominant force, no doubt, but my background is marketing and advertising, and writers and readers deserve better service, particularly if Amazon's community guidelines MUST be followed to the letter. Honestly, who dreamed of the hocus pocus we endure on our book reviews when writers have MORE and MORE responsibilities they must engage with LESS and LESS resources.

      • OMG! Piper, I'd forgotten about Amazon's requirements. I, too like to support local bookstores. Thanks for the heads-up.

      • Julie Glover says:

        Just want to answer this the best I can: "Would a review be considered part of free speech?" No, it's not, given that it's on a privately owned company website. The Free Speech clause of the Constitution is about restricting the government from interfering in public communication, not a business's right to regulate communication on its website. Mind you, it sucks that a company can yank reviews when they run such a high percentage of sales, but then the issue becomes oligopolies more than free speech. And that's a whole other issue that involves politics...and I'm (actually WE, speaking on behalf of the WITS team) are not going there. 😉

        Thankfully, Penny has us covered with some great ideas here! But I commiserate with you, Piper. Truly.

    • Arrrgh! I know exactly what you mean, Laura. After reading this excellent post I realized i could not remember the last time I check my reviews. Now I'm afraid to look.
      You are correct -- the time investment needs to be considered.

  2. Thanks, Penny. I didn't know, and now that I'm aware I'll try to be better at keeping track.

  3. dholcomb1 says:

    Unfortunately, the reviewers have the same problem, and Amazon has the final say, and most of the time the vanished reviews remain vanished. If the reviewer asks too many questions, they risk being banned from Amazon.

    Amazon prefers verified reviews, but that's not a guarantee. And, when a mass number of unverified reviews hits the algorithms, it triggers something at Amazon.

    And, when an author asks about reviews, it can also put them at risk for not getting reader reviews approved on their site or for specific books.

    As an author or a reviewer, Amazon has so much power with the TOS of reviews, sometimes, it's just best to leave it alone.

    Authors should make sure they understand the TOS service for reviews. If you're offering incentives and other things like that, it could be a violation of TOS.

    denise

    • dholcomb1 says:

      If an authors gifts an Amazon book to a reader or an egift card to a reader and that reader buys an author's book, the algorithms know. Amazon can and will, in some circumstances, consider it a violation of TOS for reviews.

  4. Laura Drake says:

    That's why, in spite of the fact that reviews are more critical, I liked Goodreads.
    Before Amazon bought it. Sigh.

  5. Pamela Beverly says:

    I'm sick of Amazon.

  6. I think despite the minimum requirements for you to leave a review on a book on Amazon, they're probably just taking down all "unverified purchase" reviews because in the end they may end up changing that policy. It sounds to me that to ensure your reviews are not tampered with they be on a "verified purchase."

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