Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fake Reviews - They're Everywhere

So, most of us have always suspected that many of the reviews in places like Amazon are fake, but now it's finally making the headlines. The NY Times showcases a fake review factory and how reviews are bought and paid for. And now Forbes discusses just how prevelent they are at Amazon and how much harm they do.
This is why I don't read Amazon reviews. It's one of the reasons why I don't post my reviews on Amazon. My advice - find a few good reviewers you trust and stick with them.


Paul Weimer said...

Curate reviewers, just like I said on the SF Signal podcast.

Find people you trust.

On the other foot...I try to be someone people can trust.

Valashain said...

I agree, it is mostly the reason why I don't put reviews on Amazon, although their terms and conditions have something to do with it as well. I read enough book blogs to keep me well supplied in recommendations anyway :P

Maria said...

The last road trip I took, I used reviews from two different travel sites. I swear they all must have been lies. We ate at SEVERAL of the restaurants that were so very highly recommended. I gotta say, someone stuffed the ballot boxes. I think only one restaurant turned out good. So it isn't just Amazon. Yelp, Tripadvisor--you name it. They all stuff the ballot box. It's a shame too because such a feature used to work really well.

Megazver said...

Like the guy in the article said, I look at the negative reviews and see whether I want to slap the reviewer or not.

Bryce L. said...

You speak the truth. That's why bloggers have such an important place (in my mind) on the internet. You can tell who's full of it, who knows what they're talking about, or just who agrees with you.

Brad Murgen said...

Yeah it's disappointing for those who are just interested in getting their material out there, because without doing stuff like this it can be very hard to be noticed. I've seen some self-published books get tons of positive reviews on Amazon and when I check out samples of the work, it's horrible, not even worth 2 stars from me... disappointing really, I wish people were more honest about it.

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog said...

This can happen.
Nice post.

Anonymous said...

$28,000 a month, and you don't even have to read the book! I'm in the wrong business!

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I think people are too hard on indie writers. They have a huge, almost impossible mountain to climb, so they almost have to use all the tools that are available to them. A published author gets to cherry pick between hundreds of reviews that they can use for blurbs on their book. You never see a blurb on a cover that says, "This book was so bad my cat ran away!"

They have huge corporations standing behind them that can bring more exposure to them than any Amazon review can possibly bring to an indie writer. At the end of the day, Lockes success is still because he had the talent to be a published author. Besides people have suspected that there were fake reviews on Amazon for years, so is this really anything new? Published writers are have so many more advantages over indie writers that it seems unfair to bash them over something this trivial.

Maria said...

P.S. It isn't just indie writers who pay for reviews either. Kirkus started doing paid reviews Loooong before self-publishing took off and their main customers were not "indie" writers. Amz stopped posting Kirkus reviews because of the paid option. Publisher's Weekly does paid reviews (marked more clearly but that doesn't stop them from being quoted elsewhere with the implied legitimacy.) People gave indie writers a chance--but stunts like this quickly color the landscape in a negative light.

Bastard said...

I don't agree with the notion of not posting your reviews on Amazon as in some sort of protest to the reviews that can be found there.

It seems like a disservice to consumers and authors alike.

I don't use Amazon reviews for making my choices, but fact still remains that the great majority do use it.

And if good reviewers stop spreading their reviews to key sites like Amazon, I think it starts becoming part of the problem rather than the solution. And as mentioned above, it's the authors more than anyone that will feel the effects for lack of support.

For better or worse Amazon is here to stay, and it's integral to the success of any given book.

But you're just one person, so not much effect one way or another. By the same token, it's an idea that keeps propagating through reviewers... why bother posting them on Amazon? And by the end of it it's the authors that end up paying the price, some of them that struggle to even get 5 reviews up.

Guillermo Aristy said...

As you said, the problem is everywhere. I think Amazon only stands out because of their sheer size.

Neth said...


Well, I said that all the fake reviews were one of the reasons why I don't post my reviews on Amazon. It's actually the least. The biggest reason is that the terms and conditions for posting reviews are unaccesptable to me and I'm surprised that more bloggers don't feel the same.

Other reasons include my limited time - I simply don't have the time or inclination to go around the internet and reproduce my reviews anymore than I do now. Also, a few years ago when I did consider the idea of posting reviews on Amazon, 3 out of the first 4 reviews I posted were removed without explanation within one day. I had to conclude that for whatever reason, Amazon doesn't like my review style (perhaps it's the honesty ;)

Bastard said...

I personally haven't had much trouble posting my reviews on Amazon, but I see what you mean. I think I've needed to edit a few "fucks" here and a couple of "shits" there, but other than that, no problem posting them.

And I understand the time commitments as well.

I'll tell you this much, I hate Amazon as much as the next guy (for personal reasons and their shipping policies as they effect me), but I think there's some value in me posting my reviews there regardless of how I feel about the site.

But respect your situation and your reasons for not doing it yourself, particularly the time commitment thing, since it can be quite a hassle at times.

It sucks that your reviews were removed though, and that alone would've kept me from posting my reviews there as well, so completely understand. Removing without reason would've been unacceptable to me. I'll see if it ever gets to that point for me.


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