Taste and See - Volume I, is a compilation of books and other reading materials from over thirty authors in the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Published several years ago, hundreds of ebooks have been downloaded from Amazon for free. Since 2011, sixteen ratings had been posted although only nine reviews appeared on the Amazon book page.
Of all the reviews posted, they were five-star reviews except for one. I will post a jpeg here of that one 1-star review so the reader here can see what the reviewer wrote.
Until about a month ago, the overall rating for Taste and See, Volume I, was listed as 4.7 or 4.8, I can't remember exactly, but if you add up all the reviews and do simple math, the overall rating by Amazon comported with what statistically would be expected.
However, a month ago, Amazon lowered the overall rating to 3.5. No recent reviews had been posted that would have altered the overall review rating in either direction. I couldn't understand how a book could be rated 3.5 with eight 5-star reviews and one 1-star review, so I contacted Amazon to find out why. They never responded.
When I went back and read the 1-star review, I noticed the person who rated it never read the book. Here is the review the reviewer posted.
Because Amazon was unwilling to restore the appropriate rating for Taste and See, Volume I, as it had been rated for the last several years, and since the reviewer rated the book as one-star although she never read the book, I contacted Amazon to remove the 1-star rating.
Here is Amazon's response:
I've read the review titled "Felt put upon" for the book titled "Volume 1, Taste and See, A Sampling of First Chapters by John 316 Marketing Network Authors." I understand your concerns, but the review doesn't violate our posted guidelines, so I'm unable to remove it in its current format.
My reply: So a person can post a review on a book they have not read? If that’s the case, then I will just encourage people to post a five-star review to get the ratings back up to where they should be. The only reason I care is because your algorithm is rating this book as a 3.5 and there are eight  stars that should be pulling it up to a 4.75.
That means someone who has not even read the book is able to reduce the overall rating of the book from 4.75 to 3.5. It seems to me like Amazon’s algorithms are censoring what books they want to do well and what books they don’t want to do well. This is against a higher law of ethics, and I will be looking into what I can do about this, including contacting the Federal Trade Commission.
Their final reply back was the following:
We’ve investigated the review "Felt put upon" for the book titled "Volume 1, Taste and See, A Sampling of First Chapters by John 316 Marketing Network Authors." and looked into your previous correspondence of "February 18, 2020" with my colleague. We’ve determined that this review is within our Community Guidelines (available here http://www.amazon.com/review-
As shown from this selection of random five-star reviews, what Amazon has done is unethical. They have allowed one 1-star review to be posted by a reader about a book she had not read and then allowed that one review to lower the overall rating of the book to 3.5. Against eight 5-star reviews, statistically, that is impossible. There are no other reviews on this book. They are all five stars with one 1-star.
Because all the first chapters from thirty books highlighted in Taste and See Volume I, as well as other materials, including poems, devotionals, et cetera, are written by Christian authors, I truly believe Amazon is now censoring Christian authors/books.
Once the overall rating was artificially lowered to 3.5, not a single book was downloaded. Would you want to download a 3.5-rated book when there are so many books rated four stars and above?
I will be posting at least one more blog post on my experiences this last year with Amazon and all the reviews they have removed from various books of mine. And that's not all they have done to me.
I have a couple of marketing experiments going on as I write this to test my hypothesis and pull together a compelling case to present to the Federal Trade Commission - if Amazon blocks my marketing efforts as I anticipate they will.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add to my thoughts.
Taste and See, Volume I, continues to be available across the web on multiple websites, including Apple, Barnes & Noble, Pay Hip, and more. You can visit http://bit.ly/LRTASTEANDSEE to see a partial listing of websites. I will continue to add more as time permits.