Amazon Has an Absurdly Inconsistent Review Policy

This post by Nate Hoffelder originally appeared on The Digital Reader on November 2, 2015.

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Amazon won’t allow paid book reviews, and they won’t let you review your friend’s books, but as the Seattle Times tells us, anything else goes.

Jay Greene brings us the sad tale of conspiracy nuts running rampant in the review sections at

Most book authors know they need to endure critics, even comments that may be malicious and personal.

But the venom that runs through more than three dozen reviews on of Scarlett Lewis’ latest book are particularly scathing.

 “This Scarlet Lewis person is a real sick human being,” writes one reviewer named Kevin. “Scarlett Lewis is a fraud and a sellout to all of humanity,” writes another, anonymously. “Scarlett Lewis is a lying traitor,” writes a reviewer named David Weiss.Those reviews might suggest that Lewis is a polemic politician, treasonous spy or scurrilous financier. She’s none of these. Lewis is the mother of Jesse Lewis, a 6-year-old boy who was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School three years ago.

She wrote “Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness” to describe her journey after the massacre and help others choose love and forgiveness instead of anger and resentment in their darkest moments.

The reviewers cited above were inspired to post bogus reviews by their belief that Sandy Hook was a hoax, but not all review spammers share that motivation nor is this problem unique to Amazon.

Read the full post on The Digital Reader.