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Dealing with Bad Reviewers on Amazon

Dealing with bad reviewers on Amazon

Several people on the IAG-members group at yahoo described their experiences and feelings about a group of trolls, who wrote scathing abnormally negative reviews about their books on Amazon. Some of them obviously never read the book at all and in some cases, hid behind pseudo-names, fake personnas and did not reveal their true names and identities. The comments escalated into a full blown battle and flame war and the author being criticised research the identity of one of the commenters and found that they worked at a school district in California, and was using district equipment. When this was shared with the group their was concern expressed about an alleged “invasion of privacy”.

I am a former attorney and I do not see the author’s actions in a negative light at all. So I’m responding to the remarks that there has been an invasion of privacy that was inappropriate. I respectfully disagree.

If one is being harmed, whether it or outright physical harm or emotional or economic harm as the situation here, it is perfectly within the rights of the person experiencing the pain to know the identity of the person or person who is harming them.

Lying about, slandering the good works of another, defaming someone, and hiding one’s identity are all actions that create actionable legal liability. There are numerous cyber-bullying cases that have resulted in criminal and civil penalties and judgments against the wrongdoers.

A “silly flame war” can escalate to the point of actionable slander and defamation as soon as the lies and abuse go beyond reasonable opinion, turn personal, and have the clear intent and express ability to be economically physically and mentally harmful.

The law allows and even encourages people who believe they are being harmed to protect themselves, and it is appropriate to contact the individuals and identify where they work, what else they are doing, or seek out and contact their employer and share with other people or with authorities near or associated with them the nature of their conduct and the substance of their communications.

There is no invasion of privacy, because the law only protects people who act appropriately in society and typically where the law has declared people can have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Those rights, should they exists, are also explicitly waived in many cases by the voluntary participation or use of a site like Amazon, or the use of computers at work. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy here.

And yes, when you do confront people like this, there are also risks in doing so. They may yet react again or even escalate the battle in new ways.

The people who hide behind fake names remind me of the KKK Klansmen on horses in their white robes and hoods. The try to inflict pain and ride away unscathed. They must be uncovered, brought into the light, identified, and be made to face the consequences of their actions in society.

It is important remain vigilant and be prepared to take purpose-driven, affirmative, firm and well thought out, and decisive action in the face of evil. I admire the author for doing that and I support the actions he has taken.

In my view it is appropriate to investigate ISP contact information and employer information and reach out to inform people administratively.

I believe there are more steps that can yet be taken.

This behavior clearly is against the terms of use policies at Amazon, and it is certainly capable of having economic impacts on the individuals involved. So it would also be appropriate to share the entire set of communications with Amazon by way of a well-crafted, official letter of complaint to their CEO (still Mr. Jeff Bezos, yes?) and a copy to their lawyers. Sincerity and authenticity are supposed to be essential policies that Amazon abides by. Point out where these people go beyond the guidelines. Appeal to them with honor and present the entire train of communications and data, with all the offending passages and attacks highlighted for clear identification, and what else you have discovered about them. Stay on the moral high ground. Present the facts and carefully describe your proposed remedy. Ask for all posts by these individuals and their reviews be stricken from Amazon and that they be banned from posting.

One of my clients has also written on the subject of Amazon one star reviewers. Here is the link:

http://www.therobertd.com/why-one-star-reviews-mean-less-than-nothing/

Robert D. Smith is the manager of Andy Andrews, and I’ve worked with both gentlemen for almost ten years and six books, three of which became NY Time best sellers. Andy last book was relevant to this discussion. The title of this book is How Do You Kill 11 Million People?

The books’ answer is based on the actions of a single individual, Adolf Hitler. The answer is that ‘you lie’.

The promulgation and the perpetuation of lies is what the trolls are doing to authors they focus their sights on.

As I said, we must remain vigilant and be prepared to take action in the face of evil.

Great Update on the State of the Art of Self-Publishing

Review of Guy Kawasaki's book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book (Kindle Edition)

APE is a very helpful, straight from the trenches report which covers the gamut of steps, decisions, and actions needed to successfully self-publish a book. There are numerous lessons learned and resources that will enable a rapid application of theory to any publishing venture. The only issue I found is that Guy write from a position of already having a tremendous following and platform vehicles that other people simply do not have. That said, what one learns from his expert deployment of platform vehicles offers insights based on solid track record of pure performance. Highly recommended for anyone who even thinks about self-publishing. I give this book five stars!

Dealing with Negative Reviews on Amazon

Dealing with Negative Reviews on Amazon

Can you get rid of a negative review on Amazon?

Common question.

I have a client named Rudy Mazzocchi, who recently wrote a medical thriller titled Equity of Evil published by Twilight Times Books and shepherded by the incredible Lida Quillen.

To date he has received 83 Amazon reviews, 78 five star reviews, two four star reviews, and 3 one star reviews.

One of the one star reviews in particular was very negative and raised doubts that the number of five star reviews was honestly and
ethically acquired. Amazon wouldn’t deem the comment inappropriate so Rudy exercised the comment option on the review and wrote the following:

> Hey Neil,
>
> Thought you would be interested in the most recent 3-4 reviews since your posted review on AMAZON. My publicist and Literary Agent investigated all of my 75 5-star reviews for an upcoming interview with the NY Times and discovered that 51 of them came from professional book reviewers. They are attempting to get your review REMOVED from Amazon and to warn other authors. Did you really dislike this story that much?

> Ironically, I’ve received dozens of emails from readers in response to your review telling me that this was a “jealous competitive author” that I should not worry about it. I respect all reviews (and want to establish strong reader support) since this is the first of a trilogy called “The EQUITY Series”. I urge you to reconsider your review, but respect your opinion. I’m in the process of signing a movie deal that they believe could equal “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

>Best,
>
>Rudy

You can read the details if you wish on Amazon here:


Equity of Evil Kindle edition


So my advice when you receive a negative comment is to:

1. Study it carefully, get what you can out of it.

2. Study the reviewer and commenter profile and his or her history of commenting on Amazon, to ascertain their sincerity, authenticity and veracity.

3. Do your best (e.g., active marketing and PR outreach that specifically asks people to post their comments to Amazon so that a. you get the benefits and b. overwhelm the negatives with positives), particularly with comments from people in your target pool that are specific, that explain specifically what you do that turns them on, and communicate clearly the sincere heartfelt value they experienced.

4. Explore the possibility of having the comment declared inappropriate and expunged from the Amazon record. And if that doesn’t work, then…

5. Comment back to the author comment directly on Amazon (and ask or request others do so as well) and make sure the response comments are written coolly, calmly, personally, professionally, and in a manner carries the dialog forward, openly acknowledges and address the issues you wish to discuss, and that allows you and others to see the big picture, capture and occupy the moral high ground, and view the commenter as questionable, biased, conflicted, and generally out to lunch.

This not only gives you the opportunity to show the Amazon users that you are in command, but you also get to add even more value and persuasive force to what prospective readers see when they come to the Amazon pages.

Make every word count. Think three steps ahead. Be assertive and act with power and style.

Use the negative review as an opportunity to turn a lemon into lemonade.

It may actually increase your sales.

Can you get a negative review removed? Probably not. It depends on whether you can persuade Amazon that an abuse policy was indeed violated.

There is a button on Amazon reviews that opens up a form that allows you to describe the problems you have with a review. You can read about how they want you to address these issues in their “Managing Reviews” section. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=16465311

That said, Amazon refuses to remove reviews just because they are bad in the authors opinion. If they go to the writing or the merits of the writing, then they won’t honor the request for removal.

You have to give them evidence of abuse as it is defined in their policy. You submit your complaint through their customer service.