I saw that Chelsea Cain’s upcoming book, Sweetheart, has like 15 customer reviews up already. The book isn’t due out for another month. I hadn’t seen that before (the customer reviews on pre-ordered books) but I am aware that this program does exist. It bothered me seeing that and I may be the only one. I know many people get ARCs to review them a month or so ahead to get some buzz going but with Amazon and the bad publicity surrounding their review system, to me, that has removed any value it had as a credible system and service to its customers. Too many schemers versus legitimate credible reviewers – yes, that’s just my opinion.
The program is by “invite only” and customers like you or me are allowed to participate. However, that’s only if you are a reviewer for Amazon who provides insightful and accurate reviews. Anyway, after googling “Amazon Vine Program” to see how long this program has been in place, I ran across this article that discusses how Amazon allegedly had to clean up some problems because, guess what? People were “gaming” the system, submitting reviews before the products were even shipped out. The way that the system worked (at the time) was that members were only allowed up to (3) items for review and after submitting reviews for them, then they are allowed to request more; and it’s free. Amazon picks up the tab for shipping.
I know that the article discusses only the bad apples in the bunch, but like I said, I’ve never run across these reviews until now. And yes, it’s annoying. When I go to buy something from them, if ever, I guess I’ll just have to ignore these reviews, too. I did check to see if there were reviews up for other authors I read like Dennis Lehane or Michael Connelly – nothing there so I take it to mean that those books were not made available to Amazon’s Influential Voices. I’m only guessing on that, too.
Anyway, I’m just voicing my utter dislike of this program’s intrusiveness and if there are legitimate reviewers out there giving their all to give honest opinons to customers – then this article isn’t specifically about you, it’s about the program.