Amazon Did NOT Change Their Policy On ARC Book Reviews

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My reviews have stayed the same/gone up because I have added more.

I wanted to post this post a week ago, but I couldn’t because I didn’t want to post something without having it straight from the horse’s mouth.  That would make me just like everyone else that was sending around the images/messages that said remove the word ARC from your reviews without checking with Amazon first.  The sky is falling!

I have received SO MANY emails from tour companies, from authors (love you all), and messages on Facebook from friends telling me to remove the words ARC from my reviews. Amazon changed policy!  We can’t do that anymore.  They will delete it.

Did anyone actually talk to Amazon before spreading this rumor?

I read message boards on Amazon where most of the hardcore reviewers or critiquers of reviewers hang out.  I followed Facebook posts where people were saying remove the word ARC!  Remove it now!

General consensus on the Amazon boards were that the disappearing reviews were a glitch.  A few people in the FB posts were saying it was a glitch, that they had contacted customer service or author services and their reviews were back.  They sat and watched review numbers jump around for the same book over a 10 minute period.

Logic also dictates that if verified purchased and gifted (through Amazon) book reviews were missing, this wasn’t a change in policy, this was a system burp.

When I was looking through Google there were posts dating back to 2012 with this same topic.  Remove the word ARC, Amazon changed their policy and is taking down all of our reviews.  It’s 2014.  This is obviously not a new change in policy if people were shouting it back in 2012.

Still, I couldn’t do a whole blog post on that until I had the information.  What if they actually did change policy?  I’d look like a dumb ass.

I emailed them during the midst of all of the Chicken Little chaos and finally received my first reply a couple of days ago.

image is clickable to read full size because it wouldn’t fit in my actual post full size

03/15/14 13:19:29
Your Name: Heather Ayala
Comments:Hi!  I am just writing in to get an answer for a question that has every author and book reviewer flustered, confused, up in arms, freaking out, and frankly I’m tired of getting emails about it from people I work with.
Has Amazon changed their policy for reviews?  Are they now in fact deleting all reviews that state the reviewer received an ARC.
I have searched the community forums and people over here seem to believe that the missing reviews are indeed a glitch.
Could you verify whether Amazon has changed their review policy and that any review containing the word ARC in it will be removed or if this is indeed a system glitch that is being looked into.
Thank you so very much,
Heather Ayala

Their first response –

Hello Heather,
I can assure that Amazon does not remove reviews just because it does not have the Amazon Verified Purchase sign attached to it.
When a product review is marked “Amazon Verified Purchase,” it means that the customer who wrote the review purchased the item at
If a review is not marked Amazon Verified Purchase, it doesn’t mean that the reviewer has no experience with the product -– just that we couldn’t verify that it had been purchased at Amazon.
With regards to receiving ARC copies or BETA copies of books for reviews: As long as you have used your Amazon account to make a purchase, have been charged for this purchase, and have waited 48 hours after dispatch or download, you will be more than welcome to submit a review for these books.
I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Best regards,
Liberlyn S.

Now, that last part was going to be misunderstood I thought. It even made me wonder if now we would need to buy the ARCs and then be able to post our reviews 48 hours later.  It didn’t make sense to me, and if I was going to get to the bottom of this, I wanted all bases covered.  I didn’t want to say I am not going through 200+ reviews and changing the wording for a glitch where reviews are disappearing and reappearing unless I know for sure.  I love the authors I work with and don’t want to seem unsupportive but I wanted to know for sure that this rumor of policy change wasn’t based on a system screw up before I changed the wording in my reviews from thank you for my ARC to thank you the copy you gave me.

I had to make note why this one looks different for the doubters.

Hi Liberlyn!  I just want to make sure I have this all straight – when
you say
With regards to receiving ARC copies or BETA copies of books for
reviews: As long as you have used your Amazon account to make a
purchase, have been charged for this purchase, and have waited 48 hours
after dispatch or download, you will be more than welcome to submit a
review for these books.
are you saying that in fact we DO need to purchase the books after we
have received a beta copy/ARC to read while the rest of the Amazon
community can review anything they want that may have been given to them
simply because it wasn’t an ARC book?
If that is true, it doesn’t make sense to me.  Instead of being honest
and disclosing that I had received an ARC in exchange for an honest
review, I could just say that the reason the book isn’t a verified
purchase is because I bought it at a local book store or checked it out
from the library. (I would never do that and compromise the integrity of
my reviews, just an example.)
I just want to make sure I am clear on this before I let people that
have been emailing me know what I have found out.
Thank you again so much for your time.

Hello Heather,
In response to your inquiry, kindly note that one does not need to purchase the exact item of which you would want to review.
As long as you have a successful purchase of anything on your account, you would be eligible to submit reviews. However, free digital downloads don’t count toward this purchase requirement
I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Zac J

The 48 hour thing is in regards to reviewing on Amazon period.  You have to have purchased AN item and waited 48 hours until you can review ANY item.

We do not have to go through and reword all of our reviews.

If you are still missing reviews, check with Amazon’s customer service (as a reviewer) or with author services (as an author).  I have heard they just need to refresh the reviews and the missing ones come right back.

NOTE:  This is not saying they will never change their policy, but as of the moment this was posted, this is the policy right now.

Friends don’t let friends share rumors until they get to the bottom of it via the actual source.

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