I felt cheated. I mean, who wouldn’t like to see a review as nice as this one that appeared on my blog.

 “I just finished reading Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses, and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I particularly liked how you skillfully told the riveting story of how Dara evolved and grew over the years. The story is wonderfully grounded by Dara’s love for Job, and her bold words and actions. I enjoyed seeing how you handled the tensions that emerged as Dara sought to understand her role and her husband’s God.”

At my request the author agreed to post it on and did everything right. Found “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” and clicked on “write a review.” Completed the information to establish an account. Then was told one wasn’t allowed to post a review since there had been no purchase made with that account. No, it wasn’t necessary to have purchased that book, but just something.

I trusted my fellow blogger. Still, it didn’t seem right to me, so I called amazon. It’s true. If you haven’t purchased anything with your account you can’t use it to write a review. “It’s for your protection,” I was told.” Suppose someone wanted to ruin you, he could just establish 100 accounts and use them to write bad things about you.”

Huh? OK, does that mean this person who hated me so much could buy a $0.99 kindle book with each of those accounts. Less than $100. Not a bad investment if you’re really out to get me.

I suspect there might be a better way to protect me.

As it stands, I guess that means every time someone buys a book from me, I should ask whether or not he or she has ever bought anything from amazon. If the answer is “no,” then I should include a check for $0.99 with the book in case they want to write a review. That would give them the wherewithal to purchase something allowing for the review. OK. I confess I’m being snarky.

The words used when I first heard this are not acceptable to the nice people here in the Midwest. “Oh, my, now I have to work on forgiving them, I thought.” On second thought, though, it wasn’t a personal attack on me, though it felt that way. It’s a policy that ends up hurting me.

And amazon really does provide a number of helpful services.

So, forgiveness process ended at the first step. It wasn’t really an offense against me.

But disappointment remains. Reviews of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses,” (or any books, for that matter) are really important to the author.




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  1. I can’t conscientiously “like” this one since it represents something not so good. I am sorry your forgiveness was tested (or tempted) at this point.

    • Thanks so much for this kind and sympathetic comment. (And I have the same problem sometimes with clicking “like.” when the message isn’t one to like a lot.) I hope the information may help someone else. At least it won’t be such a shock for people trying to post reviews when they learn they need to have purchased something first.

      • I am wondering if that is a new policy for Amazon. I had a student several years ago who had a phobia of writing and a love of computers. I decided to combine the two to see if he could overcome his fear by writing reviews for the various things on Amazon. He actually got paid for some of his reviews and eventually managed to pass the SAT and the ACT writing section to graduate. I know he was too poor to buy everything he reviewed.

  2. Oh my! How I would love to know how he did that — and got paid for reviews .If he’s willing to share info with me, I’d be delighted. I have an e-mail address intended only for comments, inquiries, and orders of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheese.” I notice he wrote reviews for “things,” I wonder whether the “protection” is only for authors. But that doesn’t really make sense either.

    By the way, you are my idea of a good, creative instructor.

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