Recently on an author E-mail loop, one of the novelists was bemoaning a review of a newly released book. The problem wasn't that the book was given a terribly low number of stars. The problem was that the reviewer gave away the entire plot, including the final twist--in detail. A novelist's worst review nightmare.
Giving away a spoiler on Amazon is against the site's review regulations. Amazon's forbidden list:
Comments on other reviews or features visible on the page. (This information, and its position on the page, is subject to change without notice.)
Notification that the catalog has typos in it. (E-mail Amazon with the correction instead.)
Profanity, obscenities, or spiteful remarks.
Time-sensitive material (e.g., promotional tours, seminars, lectures, etc.).
Single-word reviews. Amazon wants to know why you liked or disliked the product.
Comments focusing solely on the actors, directors, authors, or artists.
No spoilers! Please don't reveal crucial plot elements.
Phone numbers, mail addresses.
More than one URL.
Availability, price, or alternative ordering/shipping information.
Solicitations for helpful votes.
If you see an inappropriate review of your or someone else's book on Amazon, there are some things you can do. The most obvious is to click the "Report this" button near the review. Unfortunately, however, clicking this button won't allow you to add a note as to why you're reporting the review. The person at Amazon who's reviewing all the "Report this" clicks may look at the review, see no bad language or personal attack and think, "Hey, what's the big deal?" So how to get Amazon to listen if a review is a complete spoiler?
1. Push the "Report this" button simply to make a record of which review you're protesting.
2. Go to the help area on Amazon and click on the yellow "Contact Us" link on the right. Sign in to your account. You can E-mail or ask for Amazon to call you. The author above did the latter, and an Amazon rep called right away. After hearing the author's problem, the rep sent a message to the Amazon folks in charge of reviews. The rep said the review would be taken care of in the next day or two.
3. You can also delete or edit a review you have posted. All your Amazon reviews appear in your Profile. To find your Profile, click "Your Amazon.com" at the top of any Amazon page and then click the "Your Profile" link in the blue navigation bar. On your Profile, you'll find a list of your reviews as well as other community content you've provided. Under the list of reviews, click "See all reviews." You'll see "Edit review" and "Delete review" options for each one. If you choose to delete you will be taken to a confirmation page. Clicking "yes" on that page will delete the review. Your review should be deleted from the website in several minutes.
The vast majority of Amazon reviews fall within the site's guidelines. Opinions are opinions. If someone wants to give a book you love (or wrote) a one-star review, so be it--as long as that person doesn't violate any of the items on the forbidden list. If someone does violate the rules, it's nice to know you can take action.