Amazon Review Policy: can anyone help?

I wrote a 2-star review of a book on Amazon on Saturday; it isn’t there any more. I noticed over the weekend that it was getting a surprising number of people ticking the “this review was not helpful” box.

My question is, if a review gets more than a certain number of these ticks, is it automatically deleted? If it is, then the system is open to massive abuse by publishers seeking to censor an inconvenient review. Even without this kill policy, allowing reviews to be ordered in terms of which are the most “helpful” can be gamed by a publisher.

I couldn’t find anything about this on the Amazon website – does anyone know the policy?


  1. This happened to me with a 2 star rating i gave to a book on Albania.

    I don’t think they allow reviews that bring down the average rating for the book etc

  2. There have been reports elsewhere in the blogosphere of all the bad reviews being moved onto the paperback version and the good ones to the hardback, presumably in order to sell more hardbacks…

  3. My guess is that someone (possibly the author or publisher – or one of the people who thought it was unhelpful) complained about the review to Amazon. There are plenty of one or two star reviews around on Amazon, so it’s not a question of them automatically deleting unfavourable reviews.

    Did you post the review under your real name?

    There have been cases of competing authors “trashing” their competitors’ books on Amazon under fake identities – so especially when there’s doubt as to whether the review was impartial, you’re at risk of deletion.

  4. I absolutely wrote it under my own name and am a little insulted at the suggestion I simply set out to trash the book.

  5. Whoops – that’s not what I intended to imply at all… I phrased it badly.

    What I mean is that if the review was negative – and out of synch with the other reviews of the same book on Amazon – there could have been a suspicion in the minds of the Amazon editors…. but if you wrote it under your own name then that wouldn’t apply anyway.

    That was why Amazon introduced the “real name” tag – if they can match the identity of the poster with a credit card in that name, then they know you’re bona fide.

    Sorry for any offence cause – it wasn’t intended.

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