I’m of the opinion that whenever a business begins to experience success at a level beyond which they can cope, that they start making dumb decisions. I recall a vegetarian restaurant in my home town where this occurred. Although I’m carnivorous, the food was so good that I was half-way through my first meal there before I noticed that the meat was missing.
Amazon.com, I fear, has started has made two stupid decisions in recent days. First, they decided to remove all book reviews which contained plugs for other books. So if you were an author and wrote a review or dozens of reviews, Amazon was removing all of them if your review or signature contained any sort of promotion for your book.
Cheryl Tardif described this fiasco in her blog and notified John Kremer who in turn sent an e-mail to everyone in his address book. Apparently, a sufficient amount of negative feedback was received to make Amazon alter its policy, but only in part. Authors may now include their own titles, but no links.
This decision ought to make Amazon eligible for a Darwin Award. Last time I checked, Amazon’s principal business was selling books. If that’s still the case, then why would they want to prevent people from putting links from their reviews to their books on Amazon’s site? I can’t imagine Jeff Bezo being involved in this decision. Maybe he’s on vacation somewhere without the internet. Anyway, this is Another Fine Mess because by preventing reviewers from putting links to their own books, they’re encouraging would-be-purchasers to search for books on a different online site. Why? Because more clicks are involved. If you could just click on a link to someone else’s book, you’d be more likely to buy it from Amazon. But, if you have to take the trouble to leave the review and go back to the search page, then you might as well type Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million, or Borders in your address bar and be done with it.