Bad Idea: Paying for Amazon Reviews

Exuberance for reviews can cost you.
Apr | 16 | 2014

Updated 4/16/14

Authors want Amazon reviews, and preferably positive ones. However, trying to buy them so overtly is a sure-fire way to invite the vitriol of the community. Vincent Granville is learning this lesson the hard way with his new book:

Click on image to embiggen it.

Here’s the post proposing $250/review. (Granville removed it when he finally saw the light on 4/16/14.) Perhaps the backlash hit home with him?

Click on image to embiggen it.

This directly contravenes Amazon’s customer review policy.

Brass Tacks

It’s not hard to understand why authors want reviews, especially good ones. Trying to buy them so publicly, though, is likely to bite you in the ass. Two words: bad idea.

Some genies you can’t put back in the bottle. This is one of them.

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  1. Vincent Granville

    What if this happened to a random author? Someone paid to write bad reviews, indeed paid to write a review that says that he was offered money to write a review of your book? If it’s so easy to generate negativity, it can easily be turned into a weapon against anyone (a competiting author for instance, or someone you don’t like) and make the who review process meaningless. I’d like to test this hypothesis.

  2. Phil Simon

    I don’t understand your comment. It seems like you decided that the post was a bad idea and removed it. There’s a lesson for other authors. That’s why I wrote the post.

    • Vincent Granville

      It’s a violation of Amazon TOS, but you need to be aware of it. So bad idea to do it on Amazon, but it’s actually a good idea to do it on your blog, and I will explain why when the paid reviews (good or bad) are published on my blog, which generates 99% of the leads (I removed all links to Amazon and there’s basically no good reviews on Amazon, so the one who looks stupid is Amazon, not me). Instead, I send all leads to another reseller that sells at a much higher price. This will be turned into an opportunity.

  3. Phil Simon

    Sounds like you learned your lesson; this could not have been a good strategy.

  4. James Burton

    I think it sounds like he learned the lesson of where he can abuse the review system and where he can’t; That scores a positive for Amazon in my book, even though I usually try to avoid Amazon because of UK tax issues. Let me be clear though that at the moment Vincent is sounding stupid, not Amazon. I hate when you find a cheat who shows no contrition, and this is exactly what we see here. I hope the people paying the higher price actually get a book worth reading, but it seems less likely if this author cannot get the grammar and logic right in his response here.

  5. Phil Simon

    I’m with you. Granville doesn’t exactly come across as ethical here. If he is in the right, why did he backtrack and take down the post? There’s a reason that I took that screen shot.



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