UPDATE: I found Joe Konrath's Huffington Post article Amazon Removes Reviews that explains the issue and how it evolved. Unfortunately, even in light of Joe's rather magnanimous opinion of Amazon, my opinion remains largely unchanged, so I am going to leave my original post as is:
I haven't seen the official statement yet, but from comments on Twitter and Facebook, it seems that Amazon is going to be deleting authors' reviews of books. The news is creating righteous indignation across Twitter.
Frankly, I have no empathy for Amazon, who brought this down on themselves by "ranking" authors according to the number of reviews and ratings that an author garners. Nor do I think authors have any right to run around screaming about unfairness.
This is what happens when authors game the system in a company the size of Amazon. Amazon doesn't have time to address whether each review is legitimate or not, that would mean hiring people, and people cost money. Instead, it is easier to create an algorithm that "weeds" out author reviews based on whether a name is associated with a published work.
Don't tell me that authors don't game the system. I've seen Goodreads groups that encourage indie authors to go around and five-star and comment on one another's novels with "reviews." There are blogs devoted to how to garner "reviews" and "market" your work. Traditionally published authors and indie authors had created sock-puppet accounts to promote their own works. Neither side can claim the moral high-ground here.
Reviews on Amazon have become a joke.
So quit running around screaming about how terrible and horrible Amazon is acting right now. Authors have brought this down on themselves by acting like asses.
Authors spend all their time trying to figure out how to promote their novels. It would really be nice if they spent as much, if not more, time on studying how to write a better novel.
So suck it up and move on, people.