If you go online, it’s no secret that companies are data mining your information and shopping habits, but Amazon may be looking even deeper at your connections of family and friends in your social networks. In the last few days, a blogger, Imy Santiago, wrote about being denied the opportunity to review another author’s book, even though she actually purchased the book in question. Santiago says that Amazon sent her a message denying her the opportunity to post her review, because “her account activity ‘indicates that you know the author.’”
A a co-founder of Writestream Radio, co-host of Love Liberty & Lip Gloss, and host of Writestream Tuesday (where I interview authors exclusively), Amazon’s latest bad policy and further incursion into individual privacy make me wonder how long it’ll be before I’m banned from reviewing books written by my guests. The company’s Big Brother is Watching persona is more than a little nerve-wracking in light of their recent announcement and July 1 implementation of paying authors enrolled in KDP Select by the number of pages read. Where will this end?
Brotherton draws an excellent analogy in her post:
If Amazon is using this as a basis to remove reviews, it’s loose reasoning, kind of like not letting a waitress or chef review a restaurant where they’ve purchased a meal.
Furthermore, new technology and social media enables independently published authors to connect with each other and their audience. Since the burden of marketing falls upon them, online engagement is crucial to selling books. It’s counterproductive and flat-out wrong to stop readers from posting reviews simply because of what Amazon snoops determine to be a conflict of interest. As if it wasn’t hard enough already to reap a profit from your hard work.