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Thursday, October 13, 2016

1 educated guess about Amazon's mysterious algorithm

Dear author friends,

My friends and fans who read the updated and revised edition of my book “NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews” know that in this book I speculated that Amazon created an algorithm that can figure out if authors have joined Facebook groups that assist with getting book reviews. My reasoning came from checking out the works of authors who complained that they lost book reviews.

In the meantime, my guesses are as good as confirmed. 

Probably, you have heard that on October 3, 2016, Amazon changed its Community Guidelines FOR REVIEWING PRODUCTS, but not for reviewing books (though Amazon authors will be affected by the new rule that only customers who spent $50.00 at Amazon can post reviews). 

A few days earlier, came out with a program that evaluates Amazon reviews by more than one criteria. I addressed the flaws I noticed when testing this product in my blog “In response to’s “The Truth About ‘Incentivized’ Reviews on Amazon.”” 

Why is all of this important for authors, even though the community guidelines for reviewing books have not been changed? 

Clearly, the existence of ReviewMeta’s product proves what I speculated when I updated my book last June. 

If ReviewMeta, who is NOT affiliated with Amazon, can generate their kind of reports, imagine what Amazon who actually owns the data can do. 

It is important to remember that the majority of authors and vendors try to follow the guidelines; still, there are always a few who try to cheat. These are the ones who cause the troubles. 

Over the years I have seen many great Amazon features disappear. For instance, there was the Like-the-Author button. It’d probably still be available had not some authors set up “liking”-street teams, who liked hundreds of author pages whose name they had never heard of. 

The concept that they helped themselves is idiotic because Amazon is in the position to simply delete flawed data. Which means, the street teams worked, but it was wasted effort. Amazon simply deleted the feature.  

Equally, over the years, Chinese vendors must have formed some kind of clubs who exchanged (or maybe even sold) Amazon top reviewer email addresses. Even after I deleted my own email address from Amazon, I got inundated with emails from Chinese vendors, who kept offering me stuff I never review and quite obviously am not interested in. I myself marked the worst offenders' emails as Spam. 

Why am I telling you this? 

I want you to be aware that though ReviewMeta’s product is flawed, it'll give you an impression of the data Amazon’s algorithm can generate. I also want to remind you to look for readers/reviewers outside of online clubs. In the past I have posted three blogs about this topic. It is important to take these steps because you never know how many cheaters try to cheat the system thereby causing havoc elsewhere, where you don’t notice it.  

Gisela Hausmann is an Amazon top reviewer and eCommerce expert. She is also the author of  “NAKED TRUTHS About Getting BookReviews” and “NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on 7 Tips to Boost Sales.”

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© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann


  1. Thanks Gisella, a very interesting article. Fran Connor

  2. You are right about the selling of the lists of reviewers. However, you are incorrect that it was restricted to Chinese companies. It seems certain that American companies did so as well. Ironically, it was not as easy to spot as so much of the small manufactured materials are now made in China.