I haven’t done a Wondering Wall for a while but there is something that had me wondering today as I browsed through Amazon. If you’ve been on Amazon, you would note that there is a little yes/no section at the bottom of each review which asks ‘was this review helpful to you?’ Goodreads has something similar but they only have the option to ‘like’ or ‘flag’ if the post is inappropriate. The person ‘liking’ a review is identified whereas in the Amazon system they remain anonymous. I’ve never downgraded a review but I’m curious about what makes people do it. Here are some possible reasons…
1. The review was at odds with their personal opinion. Rather than accepting that someone might not like the book they adored or vice versa, the button pusher wants to devalue the reviewer’s stance. On the plus side though, if someone is going to such lengths, it suggests that they are really passionate about that book/series.
2. The review contained factual errors or had spelling/grammar problems that impeded understanding. I don’t like it when the reviewer gets the names of the protagonists wrong or there are simple plot inaccuracies. It makes me wonder if the person has actually read the book or if they did so, it was a while ago they can’t actually remember it properly.
3. The button pusher is friends with or related to the author and only wants to see positive reviews of the book online. Funnily enough, when I read reviews, I often go to the lowest rated ones first and see exactly what issue/s they had with the book. If the biggest ones they can come up with are minor in my eyes, then I’ll happily buy the book. I’m also a bit cynical so I’m far more likely to buy a book that has a range of reviews rather than one that only has 5 star ratings.
Are there any other reasons? Do you downgrade reviews and if so, why?