* Writers say thousands of mostly positive book reviews have been deleted from the online shopping site in recent months
* Amazon will not disclose how many reviews it has erased
* Several writers have voiced frustrations with the move
* Others are pushing for more vetting of book reviews
Amazon has started to crack down on thousands of fake book reviews that have popped up on the site in recent years.
The e-commerce giant will not say how many reviews it has erased so far and has declined to offer any public explanation, the New York Times reports.
Writers who rely on both fake and real reviews to sell copies of their books are crying foul as they take aim at Amazon.
In an online debate that has spread across blogs and the website itself, several writers have voiced their frustrations with the move.
‘Customer buys book because of fake review = zero harm,’ mystery novelist J. A. Konrath wrote on his blog.
Among the recently deleted reviews are several that writers say were not fake.
'Over the last few days, quite a few reviews have disappeared from books on Amazon,' blogger Ed Robertson wrote in October.
'I was alerted to this by someone who had reviewed Breakers and was upset to see their review had been pulled. This is a fellow KB author, but I don't know them. I'm not sure we've ever spoken directly before.'
Another writer, Valerie X. Armstrong, said her son’s five-star review of her book, The Survival of the Fattest, was removed.
He tried to resubmit his review to Amazon, but the site ‘wouldn’t take it,’ she wrote in November.
On the other side of the debate, there is an ongoing campaign against Amazon's best-known reviewer, Harriet Klausner, who has posted more than 25,000 reviews on the site, many of them ‘misleadingly’ positive, according to the Times.
Several mystery writers, including R. J. Ellory and John Locke, recently admitted to using various forms of manipulation, such as creating deceptive online identities.
Their confessions resulted in an online petition from other writers grouped under the banner, 'No Sock Puppets Here Please,' asking people to vote for book reviews that can be trusted.
Amazon has already publicly banned reviews by friends and family.
However, reviews that admit to not having read a book have not been officially prohibited by the site.
Amazon has refined its reviewing process over the years, allowing shoppers to rate reviews and comment on them.
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