Good Afternoon Mr Bezos,
I know you are a busy man, however I wanted to bring a few things to light for you. I have been a loyal Amazon customer since 2004, I have purchased thousands of products from Amazon over the years. This year was the first year that EVERY package I purchased for Christmas was on Amazon. I have written numerous reviews over the years as well. Recently I started to get offers from the sellers on Amazon to rate their products. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for this scenario so I went to your website and read all of the rules for such a thing. I have pasted them below for reference. I made sure before I moved forward with this type of reviewing, that I wasn’t going to break any rules or violate anything that would affect my account. Which in the 12 years I have been reviewing, never once have I.
Fast forward to yesterday, I was contacted by an Amazon Seller saying that my review was no longer on their product and asked if I would write another. When I went to my review list everything was gone. All of the reviews I have written over the years, zeroed completely out. Now, I am not going to act completely stupid. I had heard that good reviewers were getting their reviews deleted and weren’t allowed to review for Amazon any longer, so I wasn’t completely in the dark. Although, when I got a response back from your Amazon appeals department, they said I had “manipulated” my reviews and not to contact them again, I was taken aback.
1. I always gave a honest review of ANY product I reviewed, whether I paid full price for the product or if I received a discount.
2. I never accepted a seller’s invitation if they asked me to do anything other than give my honest opinion of their product.
3. My reviews were always informational on the pros and cons of the product, again whether full price or at a discount.
4. I never received any type of payment from anyone to rate products.
5. I always followed the rules. NO MATTER WHAT.
With all of the above explained, I would like to move onto what I have learned. I have learned that negative reviews are removed from Amazon, I have learned that the real manipulation isn’t happening by people like, myself, it is happening internally. I have learned that Amazon suspends sellers accounts if their product is selling better than a *SOLD BY AMAZON* product, also considered manipulation internally, which in turn ALSO removes all of the Seller Feedback for that Seller, again considered manipulation on Amazon’s part. I have been told that there are MANY Amazon customers upset about the “God Like” attitude that is handed down in situations like mine. If I may say so, a appeals department is for appealing a decision… when you contact a appeals department you have the right to APPEAL a decision! Instead, what you get from a Amazon appeals department is a generated email asking not to contact them again.
Now, I am not a legal expert, so I spoke with my father in law, who is. He had this to tell me: You have a legal right to appeal any process or decision, especially when you are specifically asked to respond to a APPEALS DEPARTMENT. They are to give you a chance to appeal their decision, which clearly isn’t possible with Amazon and the generated emails. He also took a look at my downloaded information (I save all of my reviews) and compared them to Amazon’s given guidelines, and also agreed that I had done nothing to “manipulate” Amazon in anyway. We did a Google search of all of the customers with similar issues to mine, and it seems I am not alone.
I wanted to reach out to you today, to let you know what is going on in respects to the “manipulation” of reviews on your “trusted” site. There is some finger pointing going on in respects to your appeals process, manipulation rules, integrity, and yes… A LOT of people are questioning your “trustworthiness”. If you want to be the leader in online reviews, you must allow for negative reviews to be published right along with the positives! You must take into account everyone’s views, not just your own… that’s not how this works.
Customer Review Creation Guidelines
Guidelines for Amazon.com Community participation
We want to know what you think! As an Amazon customer, your feedback about the products and services you purchase or have experience with will help future shoppers make the right buying decisions. Tell us about your experience with the product or service you purchased. What did you like or not like? What worked well and what didn’t?
WHO MAY WRITE A REVIEW?
To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to purchase any item or service on Amazon (free digital content doesn’t qualify toward this requirement). We do not permit reviews of the same product from customers in the same household.
HOW CAN I WRITE A GREAT REVIEW?
Include the “why”: The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why. Feel free to make comparisons with related products or services you’ve experienced.
Be specific: Your review should be relevant to the product or service you’re reviewing and focus on specific features or your experience. For video and image reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.
Not too short, not too long: Written reviews should be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.
Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.
WHY WAS MY REVIEW REJECTED OR REMOVED?
If your review does not comply with these guidelines, it may be rejected or removed.
We are unable to accept the following feedback:
Reviews that are not about the product
Seller & Shipping Experience – Feedback about the seller, your shipment experience, or packaging is not a product review and should be shared at http://www.amazon.com/feedback orwww.amazon.com/packaging.
Product Availability & Feedback – Comments about product availability or alternate ordering options are not about the product and should be shared by contacting us.
Reviews that contain inappropriate or offensive content
Inappropriate Content – Reviews may not contain obscenities, profanity, phone numbers, mailing addresses, non-Amazon URLs, videos with watermarks , foreign language content (unless there is a clear connection to the product), or other people’s material (including excessive quoting).
Hate Speech & Offensive Content – We don’t allow reviews that express intolerance for people belonging to identity groups including race, gender, religion, sexual preference, or nationality. Customers are allowed to comment on products and question the expertise of authors, sellers, or other customers as long as it is in a non-threatening manner.
Promotion of Illegal Conduct – Reviews may not encourage or support behavior that is illegal, including violence, illegal drug use, underage drinking, and child or animal abuse.
Promotional Reviews – In order to preserve the integrity of Customer Reviews, we do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services, to post negative reviews on competing products or services, or to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For the same reason, family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.
Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact. Reviews from the Amazon Vine program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary. Read more about promotional content.
REPORTING VIOLATIONS & PRODUCT SAFETY
If you believe a review violates our guidelines, please let us know. Below each review, you’ll find a question that asks, “Was this review helpful to you?” If you answer “no,” you can let us know why the review is inappropriate. We’ll examine the review and take the appropriate action.
If you have safety concerns about the product you are reviewing please report this information to theU.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or contact us directly. Please make sure to include all information about the product (product title, and ASIN or manufacturer’s SKU) and the details of the incident.