So today 10-6-2016 I received an email from Amazon.
Based on a policy change to our Community Guidelines, some of your reviews will be removed. We recently updated this policy to prohibit incentivized reviews, which includes those posted in exchange for free or discounted products. Incentivized reviews posted prior to this policy change are being retroactively removed if they are excessive or do not comply with the previous policy.
Your reviewing privileges will not be affected by this action, but you will not be able to resubmit the reviews that were removed.
To learn about our review policies, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines."
So I went and looked and they deleted over 100 of my reviews. Poof! Gone. Completely uncalled for. I'm sure I'm not the only one, I'm sure hundreds of people are getting this email and completely shocked that their reviews are now gone too.
So yesterday Amazon changed their Terms of Service so that they no longer accept reviews for products that were given to people free or at a discount. A few people tried to submit reviews yesterday anyway and posted the email they received which said something like, "We're sorry, we could not accept your review because we no longer accept reviews for products that were given free or at a discount."
Others have said that over the last year that Amazon has decided to erase all of their reviews and in some cases ban them from writing anymore reviews at all.
Here's a link to the new TOS in case you're wondering what I'm talking about.
But here's an excerpt from the new TOS.
"Customer reviews are one of the most valuable tools we offer customers for making informed purchase decisions, and we work hard to make sure they are doing their job. In just the past year, we’ve improved review ratings by introducing a machine learned algorithm that gives more weight to newer, more helpful reviews; applying stricter criteria to qualify for the Amazon verified purchase badge; and suspending, banning or suing thousands of individuals for attempting to manipulate reviews.
Our community guidelines have always prohibited compensation for reviews, with an exception – reviewers could post a review in exchange for a free or discounted product as long as they disclosed that fact. These so-called ‘incentivized reviews’ make up only a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of reviews on Amazon, and when done carefully, they can be helpful to customers by providing a foundation of reviews for new or less well-known products.
Today, we updated the community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program."
So from this point forward, I will no longer be posting reviews on Amazon for products or books whether I purchase them or not. I don't want to get banned, be sued or have any problems with Amazon since I do purchase from them quite often. I will however still post reviews on my blog so before I accept a book or product for review from this point forward, I will be informing those sending me products and books to review that the review will no longer be posted on Amazon. Sorry but I won't be taking any chances with my Amazon account getting banned.