Update: Amazon has ceased offering Giveaways as of October 31st, 2019. I maintain the post below for archive purposes only.
An Update on Amazon Giveaways
In my recent post on how to set up an Amazon Giveaway, I had said that Amazon won’t allow you to give away an e-book. Well, I’m pleased to report that this is no longer the case. As Chris McMullen informed us in his excellent blog, Amazon just expanded their giveaway program so that all KDP authors (even if you’re not in Select) can run Amazon Giveaways for their Kindle e-books.
The only difference is that Ebook giveaway prizes are not eligible for refunds. If the giveaway ends with some prizes unclaimed, you will have the option to either create a new giveaway with the unclaimed prizes without additional payment or download Kindle gift codes to distribute them as gifts.
Still, removing the need to run giveaways for print books makes the giveaway process much more affordable, since e-books are less expensive and there are no shipping charges.
Chris is also sharing some fascinating statistics, which explain why this program has been a resounding success for Amazon:
- Traffic to Amazon product pages increased by over 40% during the week of an Amazon Giveaway.
- Over 300,000 new Amazon followers have been added as a direct result of Amazon Giveaways. Chris’s prediction (with which I agree) is that this number will shoot through the roof in the coming weeks, now that giveaways have expanded to include Kindle e-books.
- Over 2,800,000 Twitter followers of authors have been added as a direct result of Amazon Giveaways.
I’ve been told that kindle giveaways on amazon.com aren’t available to authors outside the US. Amazon will let overseas authors do giveaways for physical books, but not e-books, so that’s something to keep in mind.
An Update on Vanishing Reviews
You may remember the controversy on the issue of reviews, triggered by Amazon’s decision to remove all of Christoph Fischer’s 1,700 reviews. Amazon has done it again, this time removing all reviews written by Dianne of Tome Tender fame.
It looks like there is method to Amazon’s seeming madness, though, as my author friend, Effrosyni Moschoudi, recently informed me.
Bloggers who post their reviews on both their blog and Amazon need to avoid affiliate links when linking to the book. Amazon now deletes all reviews of people who use affiliate links to link up from a book review post to that book on Amazon!
Why? Because Amazon’s Terms Of Service forbid a reviewer to receive payment for a review. Yes! The few cents you would get via your affiliate tag for any sales incurred is now considered payment. So make sure to remove your affiliate tags on your blog from all your review posts.
A friend kindly forwarded me a copy of the email Amazon sends people considered to be violating the ToS. I hope none of you ever sees this. Still, it’s interesting to note that the Reply-to address is firstname.lastname@example.org, so at least you’ll have a chance to appeal their decision.
Subject: A Message from Amazon Review Moderation
We have determined that you may have manipulated Customer Reviews. As a result, you may no longer post reviews on Amazon.com, and your reviews have been suppressed.
Any attempt to manipulate ratings, feedback, or Customer Reviews is prohibited.
To learn more about this policy, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (https://amazon.com/help/customer-reviews-guidelines).
Review Moderator Amazon.com
This is the first indication I’ve seen that the Amazon review removals weren’t just arbitrary persecutions, Nick. And I’m glad to see it, because it’s a voice of calm amongst the hysteria.
Yep, that’s me 🙂
Seriously though, it helps that I run a business, so I can understand how businesses think. They’re not out to kill the golden-egg goose, that’s for sure. And I was just reading about Amazon Underground, and how Amazon is doing with apps what it’s already done with Indie books. Stay tuned for more – that post has already been scheduled 🙂
Ya big tease. Oh, okay. I’ll stick around so. Mine’s a pint.
Yeah, I remember 😉
Nicholas, it certainly appears you have cleared up a lot of misinformation/misunderstanding for a lot of people. Whenever I have questions about anything related to blogging, it seems you always have the answer.
That is such a wonderful thing to say; thank you 😀
In each review I write.. I’ve got the book off to the site with buy links. Amazon US / UK | Itunes | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay.. all are affiliate links. O list other releated books as wel. Are they wanting ALL affiliate links to be removed from all vendors.. just to be able to keep a review up.
What about tour events and pre-orders?
Amazon only enforces their own Terms of Services, so no, I don’t think they care about you using affiliate links to the rest of the vendors. I suggest you double check with KDP help to be on the safe side, but personally, I wouldn’t worry about it.
This was a helpful, informative article. Thanks so much 🙂
Yay! Thanks and welcome 🙂
I don’t have Affiliate links so it’s not an issue but you’d think something like this would be, I don’t know, explained somewhere…by Amazon?
I know. In all fairness, it’s all in their Terms of Services. Still, it does require some careful reading, especially when it sometimes feels like the terms are arbitrarily enforced by Amazon.
I know I should be ashamed of myself but…I’ve never read Amazon’s ToS. 🙁
The “vanishing reviews” still confound me, but at least you’ve provided another missing piece of the puzzle. Many authors are having their reviews removed on other authors’ books, with or without notification from Amazon or knowing what they did wrong.
I wish someone more savvy than I would blog about “affiliate programs and links.” I’m in the dark on that one. Good news from Chris McMullen and you about Amazon eBook giveaways. Thanks, Nicholas!
Your wish is my command. I’ll write up a post on affiliates as soon as possible 🙂
Aw, thanks, Nicholas…from me and everyone else who might be a little confused! 🙂
I’m a book blogger and I have hundreds of reviews on my book blog and on Amazon and every single review on my blog has an affiliate link. None of them have been removed yet and I’ve been doing this since 2010.
I can only hope that continues to be the case 🙂
Thanks for yet another informative post NIcholas. I don’t have affiliate links so I guess my reviews are acceptable, whew! 🙂 So now we can gift an ebook? This is great!
Sure can 🙂
I ran the give away on two paperback books after your last post. Picked up 460 followers on the first book, 992 on the second (offering 4 books each time). It seems to be on the uptick. Great news on the ebook giveaway, as the paperback book was $$.
Thanks for the clarification on the reviews too. At least its a little less nebulous now. I don’t have affiliate links so I won’t worry. 🙂
Wow, awesome numbers! Congrats 🙂
Now it just has to turn into sales! 🙂 Time will tell.
Really useful stuff! Thanks for posting this. 🙂
Great article and information as usual!!
Thank you so much, Robert 🙂
Another interesting post, Nick! Such great news about the ebook giveaway, and at last something we authors can do that are not part of Kindle Select! Yaaaaaay! I don’t have affiliate links, but it seems the whole business of leaving reviews is now fraught with hidden dangers. I wish they’d make things clearer.
The landscape does seem littered with landmines 🙂
Ooooh, ebook giveaways! That is excellent news. So silly that we could only giveaway books before.
I know. I’m now waiting for my first ebook giveaway to go live 🙂
So many reviewers and promo sites use affiliate links. Very helpful post. Thanks for sharing.
A pleasure, as always 🙂
I’m a little confused on the affiliate tag. I thought that was an actual Amazon program. If it is then it sounds like Amazon is hampering their own creation. Is it unaffiliated with them?
You’re right, it does look like they’re throwing a spanner into their own works. I’ve long suspected that Amazon is pretty compartmentalized, and that the various departments don’t always talk to each other. At least, that’s what it feels like to an outsider like me…
Definitely seems that way. Interesting to see it all play out.
Weird. I sent a comment, but it doesn’t look like it went through. I don’t remember what I said either.
Lol – actually, it did come through (see above) 😀
If I understand correctly, me doing a book review on my site is fine, and a link to the book on my site is fine, since I am not an affiliate? That’s one reason I have been avoiding book reviews on my site.
I’m also glad to know I don’t have to be in Select to do a giveaway there. Being able to giveaway ebooks is great!
Ebook giveaways are a great idea. I’m a bit worried about the competition, but we’ll see how that goes (I just created a giveaway and am waiting for the confirmation).
And yes, that’s exactly right: you can publish a review on both your blog and Amazon, and link from one to the other. Just don’t use an affiliate link, and all is well 🙂
Interesting. Good to know. Thanks, Nicholas.
A pleasure, as always 🙂
Good to know and thank you for this. My blog only links back to my actual reviews on amazon, so people would be free to click again on the item to go to the product page. I did think about affiliate links but thanks you your info I will steer clear of that path :).
It’s so not worth it… 🙂
Good to know, thanks!
A pleasure, as always! Good to see you here 🙂
Sure thing! Keep those interesting articles coming…
I am cringing at the very idea that my reviews could get deleted, and I sympathize with the two reviewers you mentioned… life would be so much easier if Amazon were particular with their TOS. But, alas, they are so vague. No one can be 100% safe as a result. I personally would never have guessed any proceedings we may gain from the use of an affiliate link could be considered payment. Especially as the purchased item on Amazon when ‘I send people there’ for books is anything but books. My reports list Playstations, all sorts of toys and even faucets and sunglasses. Goes to show you can never be safe, but of course, we have no say in the matter. Thank you for the mention, and hope we all avoid the booby traps, at least the ones among us, the majority, that mean well and are not breaking any Amazon rules to the best of their understanding…
Thank you for passing on the info that allowed me to write this post 🙂
The tip came from eNovel Authors at Work. I won’t say who, as I don’t know if they’d want me to, but eNovel is definitely where I hear all the news first! Our savvy co-members seem to know everything!
That’s true, Frossie!
Thanks for this. I don’t have paper copies of my novels so being able to give away e-books will be a new promotional tool I can use.
Indeed! Best of luck, if you do 🙂
I heard about the e-book giveaway, and thought it a great idea! I did the paperback version and found it expensive, so this is a much better option – will definitely be giving it a go ?
Yay! Best of luck with that 🙂
Informative double post. 🙂 And thank you for the mention.
A pleasure, as always. Your blog is one of the best Amazon resources out there 🙂
Thank you. Your blog is full of great info, too. 🙂
Okay, that makes sense. A pity about Christoph and Dianne though. Dianne’s reviews were so well crafted, she should be able to get some form of compensation for taking the time to create such readable pieces. Thanks for informing us. I was wondering about vanishing reviews.
I know 😉
Please define affiliate tags and links.
Hmm… That’s another post in itself, but here’s the gist of it: Amazon allows you to earn some money every time you send people to their site. They track this using special links, that you set up on affiliate-program.amazon.com . These are called affiliate links.
Thanks, Ernesto, for asking the question, since I had no idea what an affiliate link was. Since I’ve never set up anything on affiliate-program.amazon.com, I guess whatever I’m doing is OK!