“We cannot post your Customer Review … to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author.”
This is the message many customers are receiving when Amazon rejects their book reviews. Indie authors are up in arms, and rightly so. The problem is these rejections aren’t necessarily happening when someone’s sister or mother tries to leave a review. These rejections are being sent to anyone who has had any sort of contact (that could be tracked by Amazon) with the book’s author.
For instance, an author might gift a book to a complete stranger as part of a giveaway, or an author might review another author’s book—those sorts of things, to Amazon, might show that author and reader “know” each other. And what about fans, who get to “know” their favorite authors through social media? This puts their reviews in jeopardy too.
Indie authors have expressed the most concern because they are the ones who often have the most difficulty obtaining reviews. But this issue could hurt all authors and publishing houses as both may be in contact with fans in various ways.
And let’s not forget book bloggers. These book-loving folks have become part of authors’ lives. It would be a terrible shame if a book blogger couldn’t post a review because an author gifted it to her or him.
It's understandable that Amazon doesn't want the author's family member reviewing the book, but I think the company has to realize there is only so much control one has over this situation. The company might penalize an author's fan, yet the author's sister, who has a different last name and no traceable online link to the author, may post a review without a problem. It is best to opt for freedom over control.