In move that is creating quite a bit of surprise and outrage, online retailer Amazon has begun deleting reviews the website believes are fake.
What is a fake review though? For books in particular it appears the online giant is deleting reviews posted by anyone related to the author or any author reviewing another author. Illogically though any review posted by a person who has not read the book is just fine.
For Amazon this has created a sizable backlash. According to the New York Times Amazon has purged thousand of reviews and has given no public explanation for these deletions.
One mystery novelist, J.A. Konrath, responds via his blog:
“Customer buys book because of fake review = zero harm.”
His view makes sense. The more positive reviews a book has the more purchases it will get. It only helps the author.
Others have sided with Amazon on the matter. There is an online petition to ban super reviewer Harriet Klausner. She has over 25,000 reviews on Amazon that are all universally glowing. Margie Brown, a member of the online group, says:
“Everyone in this group will tell you that we’ve all been duped into buying books based on her reviews.”
It appears Amazon, who recently got into the movie industry, only wants reviews that it believes consumers can trust.
The only information the online retailer has given for deleting reviews is:
“we do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors.”
Regardless of controversy there is nothing anyone can do.
What do you think, does Amazon have the right to delete reviews like this?