Thursday, 27 September 2012

Is this the end for peer review at Amazon?

I see that the Amazon UK reviews for J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy have already been utterly hijacked, within hours of publication. Most of the 1-star reviews are complaining about pricing, making no attempt to actually review the contents, and the book is also being tagged with terms like "kindle swindle".

Across at the Amazon page for John Locke's How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!, one of the critical 1-star reviews entitled The Secret He Left Out, about how he paid for 300 fake reviews, has been ticked as helpful by no fewer than 531 of 563 people, after the review was repeatedly tweeted and retweeted at the social networking site, Twitter.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Authors tempted to fake reviews and pimp their bios

There's been quite a hoo-hah recently about authors faking reviews at Amazon and on-line forums. Little has been said as yet, at least publicly, but I predict that the talk will sooner or later turn to the same kind of fakery and pimping going on at the on-line encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

In an article entitled The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy in the New York Times, the author John Locke admitted that he'd bought 300 fake reviews, even getting the reviewers to purchase the books directly from Amazon so that their reviews would show up as verified purchases. Elsewhere, it's noted that such reviewers received only half of their fee from the agency involved if they felt that they could not deliver a five star review. Ironically, this unethical and debatably fraudulent big secret is something that John Locke left out of his book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!

The Telegraph and other newspapers also ran the story of author R.J. Ellory who was caught out using sock puppets (pseudonymous on-line personas) to create fake reviews lauding his own work and criticizing rivals. Some commentators suggest that this is just the tip of the iceberg.