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Saturday, July 15, 2017

3 Ways how Indie Authors Deal with the "Non Verified Reviews" Issue

THE ISSUE: Non verified reviews (book & products) are not shown by default any longer.

In February 2017, Amazon began hiding non verified reviews by default. Now, customers have to change the default setting from “see all verified purchases” to “see all reviews” to also see non verified reviews.

This change is retro active. By default, non verified reviews that were posted in the past are also "invisible."

Exploring the specifics of this new rule, I found that as long as verified and non verified reviews fit on the book’s first book page, all reviews (verified and non verified) will be shown. Only once reviews need more space than what is provided on the (first) book page, the non verified reviews disappear.


The book page of a book that received 3 reviews, 2 verified reviews and 1 non verified review of medium length (about six lines) shows all 3 reviews.

After this book received an additional 5 non verified reviews, only the 2 verified reviews will be visible by default because combined all 8 reviews take up more space than is available on first book page. To also see the six non verified reviews, customers have to change the settings.


a) Unfortunately, not every review reader checks out non verified reviews

b) Non verified reviews look a tiny bit suspicious simply because Amazon does not volunteer to show them.

c) Some review readers don't trust non verified reviews; after all, everybody from The New York Times to Forbes reported about Amazon's various fake review scandals.


1) Don't ask for too many reviews in "review clubs." They won't get you as far as they used to. If your book's sales rank does not correspond with the number of reviews they'll look "suspicious."

INSTEAD: Make contact with your old friends. Amazon does not know who your high school buddies were.

2) Don't wait with asking for book reviews! Thinking "Let's see how things go" could be a tragic mistake.

INSTEAD: Because Amazon reviewers expect author-supplied review copies, ask them early, when your book has only few reviews. That increases the chance that their non verified reviews get seen; hence, they are more likely to accept your book.

3) Carefully consider if you want to enroll your book in KDP. The reviews of Kindle Unlimited readers who read your book "free with Kindle Unlimited" will be non verified reviews too.

INSTEAD: consider promoting your book with 99 cents promotions. You can schedule the promotions yourself; all readers will be able to post verified reviews.


Gisela Hausmann is a 29-year publishing industry veteran who self-published her first book in 1988. Her work as an Amazon ecommerce review expert has been featured on Bloomberg (podcast) and on NBC News (blog);  her work as an email evangelist was featured in SUCCESS and in Entrepreneur.

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© 2017 by Gisela Hausmann


  1. Thanks. This is a great article

  2. Super article! Very useful to indie authors.

  3. Gisela, I've read many of your books and found them informative and helpful. Thank you. One piece of advise you offer in this blog is very important:
    "consider promoting your book with 99 cents promotions. ...all readers will be able to post verified reviews." You are so right, and it's important to realize that all FREE promotions that offer you book will only result in invisible un-verified reviews. So where does one go for 99 cent promotions where you can get verified reviews as a result? The only ones I have tried successfully are and Both use emails to offer discounted books to readers, and the former even uses data mining tools that scrape the emails from book blog sites and personalize the email. Its a technique that is becoming more popular given all the new restrictions Amazon imposes and within the SPAM rules.
    Are there any other sites offering 99 cent (or higher) promotions that you recommend?

    1. Hello @John, thx for replying.

      No, (not yet - LOL ) but you can make your own event. Don't wait for others! You don't want to be where the masses are.
      Tried to follow you but can't find you on Soc. Media

  4. I typically gift reviewers a copy of the book out of my pocket, from Amazon. These used to show up as verified purchases but they no longer seem to. Any idea when/why that happened?

    1. Hello Anne, yes, I do. Since you gifted the copy the reviewer did not buy it. Hence, the reviewer reviewed an "unverified purchase." Amazon's computer did not register a purchase from the person who reviewed.

    2. Anne, these were always "non verified purchases." Only in the past Amazon showed all reviews (verified and unverified) automatically. For more details I recommend my book. Pls see this review