Sunday, February 24, 2013

When is a 3-Star Review a Bad Review? When it's on Amazon.com

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When I published a short ebook on Amazon.com recently , I was a little embarrassed that most of the reviews were 5-star (one 4-star) raves, which was nice, but seemed a little over-the-top for a 35-page booklet on the many wonders diatomaceous earth. I even considered asking someone to leave a 3-star rating, just to make it look a little more realistic. Turns out that would have been a mistake.

According to this post by Anne R. Allen, "Anything less than 4 stars means “NOT RECOMMENDED” to the AMAZON ALGORITHMS. 2 or 3 star reviews are going to hurt the author's sales, no matter how much you rave in the text." Most of us, when we rate a book with three stars, intend to indicate that the book was pretty good, even if it didn't hit our favorite-of-all-times list, but apparently that's not the way the electronic gods of Amazon interpret it. I'm going to remember that the next time I write a review or rate a book, because I wouldn't want to hurt a good writer's chance to make a sale.

There are a number of other interesting points covered in Anne Allen's article, including suggestions on how to write a review that will help other readers make an informed choice about whether to purchase a particular book. If you like to write or receive reader reviews on Amazon.com, you should read the article.