Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Mighty Zon Is Watching You & No Longer Cares What You Think!

I am a reader. I have been reading for so long that I can't remember how long I'm been reading for. I used to take out dozens of books from the library when I was a child and yes, I read every one I borrowed. High school and University were no different for me. I love to read. Decades later, I still read. I'm a confessed bibliophile. I own so many books that my home has one room turned into a library. One can always find me with a book on my nightstand, side table or in my hand, if not at elbow's length. I also support my local library.

I'm a writer. I've been writing since high school. In the last year, I've become a novelist. Yay! I'm an author. It's a fascinating accomplishment. Unfortunately, amazon has taken the air out of my balloon for they've launched an all-out attack on authors. Have you heard that they have begun culling reviews? They've suddenly decided in some misguided wisdom that authors can't review other authors. Why? You got me. They claim that some authors might write fake reviews to build the other author up, and benefit financially from it, or tear the author down and benefit again financially. Tell me something, readers and fellow authors, has one (1) lone review amongst others really ever swayed you from reading a book? Or made you read a book? It never did for me.


I don't know about you but as an author, I still read. I read a great deal for both enjoyment and in research. In fact, ever since I began shopping on amazon since 1998, I've bought a great deal of books from them. I've given them a great deal of business. As an author friend once asked me when I said I had a publisher for my book, why? Why not just self-publish? Where do you buy books? Amazon, right. Might as well publish there, she said. A great many people buy everything from amazon, and yet, amazon now wants us to stop. By telling friends and family members that they can no longer leave a review for a book they read because they know the author is downright ludicrous.


As a good reader, I write reviews for all those books I've read. Mostly good reviews. I know how important reviews can be for other readers. Now, as an author, I know even more how very important reviews are for authors as well as readers. I don't know of any writer that doesn't read. So why is Amazon attacking authors, who also happen to be readers and therefore, customers of bookstores including amazon? What stuns me even more is that some authors support this cock-eyed idea amazon has. Why? Are some authors so famous that they no longer need reviews, or they just no longer care what their readers believe?

Personally, I'm a reader first, then I'm an author. I'm always a reader first. If I didn't know how to read, I wouldn't be able to write. Show me an author that doesn't read.  Yes, according to one author, as an author I'm a vendor now, but first and foremost, I am a reader. Hey, Amazon, if you're listening, a great many of my friends, family and acquaintances buy from you for many years past and many years in coming. However, how many customers do you think you'll retain if you continue this blindsided nonsense? Authors are readers, first. An author cannot read. As a result, we buy books. We pass them along and we borrow them from friends, family, acquaintances and libraries. When we've read them, we post reviews to share with other readers. Are you really going to penalize authors for reading other authors and posting reviews? Are you really going to penalize those that know authors simply for somehow "knowing" them? That is just plain stupid. I don't get a single penny from any review I ever wrote. I don't get a single penny from any review I ever left for another author.

And what about social media? Isn’t that a way for authors to meet with and make new readers? Reader get to meet and connect with authors? Amazon doesn’t like it. Isn’t that what social media is all about? Hasn’t amazon ever heard of networking? Isn’t that another reason for social media? Amazon has actually removed and blocked some people from writing reviews simply because they’re following someone on twitter or Facebook. What? I don’t believe it, you say. Ah! It’s true. Search for it on the internet and you will see. I actually know some readers not be able to leave a book review because they followed an author on twitter, yet they never once met the author. I know of an author whose reader couldn’t leave a book review because the reader happened to be a relative. What? Relatives are readers and buyers, yet they can’t leave reviews. According to amazon they can’t. I can only say that this new policy and anything related to it is just plain bullshit! How does any of this banning stop fake reviews?

Readers, authors, what do you think of all of this? Are you still a fan of amazon knowing that it has become a bit too big for itself? Are we becoming a communist country now? When did Amazon set them self-up as the Supreme Court? Do you agree with their new policies to destroy authors? Fake reviews may be a problem, but not as big as one as say, eBook piracy, but I don't see them making a big deal out of that? Or how about when one leaves a legitimate review but it gets deleted because it was a negative review? I know. This recently happened to me on amazon. I left a negative review for something. It was a verified purchase, but it was a negative review and Amazon chose not to post it. Unless amazon is willing to allow negative reviews get posted for their products, they really need to shut their mouths and stop calling the kettle black. Who are they to decide what a true and accurate review is when they are manipulating the reviews themselves?

I will continue to post reviews. If amazon doesn't like them, I shall eventually take my reviews and my business elsewhere. I don’t know what the world is coming to. Amazon started out so great but like any money making business has turned into a greedy dictator. Is the Zon watching you? You better believe it. As for me, I will always support authors and the best way to thank an author, to let them know you enjoyed their book, or hated it is with a review.  What do you think? Love or hate amazon, do you think it is fair to single out authors like this? I'd really love to know, good or bad.


To read more about Amazon’s review policy, lawsuit and other related news:

Amazon sues alleged reviews-for-pay sites: http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-sues-alleged-reviews-for-pay-sites/ 

Disappearing Amazon Reviews: The Facts Behind Amazon's Review Purges:   http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2015/11/disappearing-amazon-reviews-facts.html


Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review-New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/technology/amazon-book-reviews-deleted-in-a-purge-aimed-at-manipulation.html?_r=0


Amazon files lawsuit against fake review providers:  http://www.engadget.com/2015/04/09/amazon-fake-review-lawsuit/


Amazon files first-ever suit over fake product reviews, alleging sites sold fraudulent praise: http://www.geekwire.com/2015/amazon-files-first-ever-suit-over-fake-reviews-alleging-calif-man-sold-fraudulent-praise-for-products/


Reddit user threatened with lawsuit over negative Amazon review: http://www.dailydot.com/business/medialink-mediabridge-amazon-reddit-review-lawsuit-slapp/


Amazon Changes its Review Policy (but not enough): http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/12/amazon-changes-its-review-policy/

Amazon Deletes Negative Reviews and Gets Away With It...But Can You? http://www.inc.com/hollis-thomases/amazon-deletes-negative-reviews-gets-away-with-it-but-can-you.html

How Does A Negative Amazon Review Result In Threats Of A Lawsuit? http://consumerist.com/2014/05/08/how-does-a-negative-amazon-review-result-in-threats-of-a-lawsuit/

Amazon deletes negative feedback, but only for its own shipping service: http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/09/amazon-fulfillment/

And now for the lighter side of reviews:
16 Hilarious Negative Amazon Reviews For Classic Books: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/15/amazon-reviews_n_4935607.html

  That’s it for this time. Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book. Review it. Share it. Pass it along.



    S. J. Francis

    Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.

    In my debut novel, Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family."  Available now from Black Opal Books and on-line retailers and indie booksellers.

                    “Some secrets should remain that way….”


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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2015 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

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