We want to share with you this very insightful message about Book Reviews from Bill Platt, who is an acknowledged Kindle publishing expert.
Here is Bill, in his own words:
Details About Amazon’s “Paid Review Penalty” and its Relationship with the Use of Articles and Press Releases
Here is what you need to know…
Amazon retrieves the Referring URL from our browsers when we click a link to enter the Amazon website, then Amazon sends its “bot” (also referred to as: robot, spider, crawler, etc.) to check the content of the Referring URL.
Amazon’s bot gathers and documents the information included on the Referring URL, and if it sees two pages sending traffic to their website that substantively includes the same content, they may flag the content as a “paid review“, which in turn triggers Amazon’s “Paid Review Penalty” that could lead to your book being removed from the marketplace or your author account being terminated.
If you were not aware of it before now, using “paid reviews” to promote your books on Amazon’s website is a violation of Amazon’s TOS.
Amazon’s specific terminology on this prohibition can be found here, where it specifically prohibits:
- Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)
- Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package.
I know that using press releases to promote your books should be acceptable to the Amazon folks, since press releases have always been used in book marketing, but the Amazon bot is stupid and Amazon’s support desk is generally not much better.
As evidenced in this story, some authors have had their books removed from the Amazon marketplace or their Kindle accounts terminated as a result of using press releases to directly promote a particular book sales page.
The same will apply to syndicating an article to more than one website. If you only publish an article on one website, then there will be no problem to link directly to a book’s sales page.
But, if you syndicate an article or press release that links directly to the book sales page on the Amazon website, then you are running the risk of getting nuked by Amazon…
The way around this is to always, and only, promote your author website (or landing page) in your articles and press releases.
Then, from your author website, link directly to the sales page for your book inside of the Amazon website.
Yes, it is true that we should not have to jump through these extra hoops, but until Amazon pulls its head out, we are better safe than sorry to only promote our author website in our articles and press releases, and ONLY link to your book sales page on Amazon from your author website.
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Needless to say, the best way to get book reviews is to promote your book as much as possible to a targeted audience: people who like to read and those who will be interested in your content. We can help you with this. Just check out the services we offer: Marketing Services.