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Monday, January 22, 2018

What's going on at Amazon? Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Jonathan Weiss /

Dear Jeff Bezos,

In a blog, dated January 20, 2018, I articulated my disappointment with Amazon not allowing two early starter reviews of my book "BAT SHIT CRAZY Review Requests" going live.

Always trying to do things the proper way, I had purchased Advanced Reader copies from your company Createspace, instead of sending .pdf or .mobi files.

In other words, one of your companies made revenue from selling me goods your other company Amazon did not allow me to use the way they are meant to be used.

Yesterday, I myself tried to post three book reviews

"Life in Shackles" by Prakash Vir Sharma (went live)
[ordered via Kindle Unlimited]

"Step By Step Guide To Pinterest" by C. Gibson (went live)
[ordered via Kindle Unlimited]

and also

"Ravished by Chris Roberts' 1-Star Reviews" by Mandy De Sandra
[my Kindle ORDER # D01-6863863-8566653]

This last review did not go live.

When I was done with these tasks I copied these three and four other books reviews which I had reviewed on Amazon in the past onto Goodreads(.com), only to find out that one of the previously written four reviews had never been put live (or been removed) from Amazon.

This problem, that I, a top reviewer who adheres to ethical standards cannot review all items I purchase from Amazon, gets compounded by the fact that I know first-hand that Amazon tolerates non-verified troll reviews.

When I complained about the apparent troll 'The Condor' who posted altogether thirty-five non-verified 1* and two non-verified 2** reviews (including reviews of two of my books)

Amazon wrote me,
I've read the review titled "Only good for one thing ... the fireplace" for the "BOOK MARKETING: The Funnel Factor: Including 100 Media Pitches." I understand your concerns, but the review doesn't violate our posted guidelines, so I'm unable to remove it in its current format.
We try to encourage our customers to give their honest opinions on our products while staying within our guidelines...

Most people who read these reviews seem to think that these are reviews from a frustrated self-publishing author who uses Amazon's platform to vent her frustrations.

Amazon's employees can't see that and also do not seem to give any importance to the fact that this reviewer did not purchase a single one of the 35 books she awarded with 1*-reviews at Amazon.


It also appears that Amazon considers the accumulation of these non-verified reviews more "honest opinions" than my own reviews of books I purchased from Amazon or took out via Kindle Unlimited and reviewed accordingly. Please see my Goodreads reviews.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to argue the validity of my reviews every time things don't work out.

When, in the past, I had to argue that "No, I don't know Nir Eyal," a celebrity author who lives somewhere in Asia and I wanted to review his book which I purchased from Amazon, I told Amazon's employee that if this occasional rejecting of my reviews continued, unfortunately, I would see myself forced to discontinue my Prime membership.

Amazon put the review live and later deleted it again.

Which explains, why now I am not contacting Amazon again. In the past, Amazon's employees seemed to understand my reasoning and put the reviews live, only to later delete them again.

Hence, what good does it do to waste time contacting Amazon's customer service which doesn't seem to be as good as advertised.

And, what good does it do if I buy books from Amazon when I can't even review them at the site?

So, I cancelled the autorenew of my Prime membership a while ago.

Here is a picture of items (one cat tree and 4 hard cover books) I would have purchased at Amazon

...with my fat cat, Artemis.

[In the past, I purchased a cat tree on October 12, 2013 from Amazon, ORDER # 110-0021822-3110637]

In short:

While I certainly can appreciate that algorithms make mistakes, it seems to me that

  • Amazon does not value the opinions of their "real" customers as much as the ones from an apparent troll,
  • or, their staff is not capable of recognizing what even my 96 yr old grandmother would have recognized as "something isn't right here."

hence, I'd rather support local businesses and buy there.


Gisela Hausmann

PS: Everybody is invited to share their thoughts in the comments.


Gisela Hausmann is the author of

and other fine books.
Her work has been featured in Success magazine and Entrepreneur, on Bloomberg, and even in European publications.

Gisela's website:
Gisela tweets @Naked_Determina

© 2018 by Gisela Hausmann
Picture: Editorial credit: Jonathan Weiss /