The sorry saga of fake reviews on Amazon continues with a new tactic to thwart the practice.
Amazon has taken a new approach in its ongoing battle against paid and fake reviews on its products.
Whereas before, Amazon deleted these reviews or went after the provider of paid reviews, Amazon has now set its legal sights on sellers.
This is important for self-publishing authors, because if you are publishing your ebooks and books on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace, Lulu or even through a publisher, you are an Amazon seller.
According to an article on TechCrunch, Amazon is suing sellers for buying fake reviews.
While the article details three legal suits that are not connected to ebooks or books, the fact that Amazon is targeting sellers should forewarn authors that Amazon has changed tack.
Up to now, if an author bought fake reviews, the only ramifications were that the reviews might be deleted, or Amazon would go after the provider of the reviews, such as it did in the case of Fiverr.
But now, Amazon has issued a clear warning by initiating these three lawsuits.
If you are an Amazon seller, and you buy fake reviews, you are risking being taken to court by Amazon. Not a pleasant thought.
Paid and fake book reviews are rife on Amazon; even accepted by some as just being part and parcel of the business of promoting a book.
Many authors shrug their shoulders and say, “well, if you can’t beat them, join them. ”
I was offered paid reviews by a provider some months back, and when I noted that is was against Amazon’s Terms of Service, I was told that all the successful authors were buying Amazon book reviews and that I would never stand a chance of selling well unless I bought reviews.
Needless to say, the provider was right. I didn’t buy any reviews, and my books are definitely not up in the top twenty bestsellers.
I am not sure if Amazon’s new threat of legal action against sellers will work, but it proves that Amazon is still trying to rid its stores of fake reviews.
In previous actions, though, Amazon has sometimes used a hammer to kill a flea, and in the process, deleted a lot of genuine reviews, so beware.
The safest way to avoid any problems is not to get involved in fake and paid reviews.
OK, your book may not do so well, but at least you won’t risk being sued by Amazon.