Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Grand Review Scam: On the NYtimes article.

I have just read a few-days-old New York times article by David Streitfeld in the business section about the lucrative "amazon reviewing" business. Streitfeld tracks the entrepreneurship of one Mr. Jason Rutherford, who got incredibly rich out of offering his 'cheap' editorial services. Recruiting reviewers on Craiglist, with a $15 per review (provided it's five stars), the man had an army at his disposal, offering reviews for books they had never read. And guess who was one of his major clients, the first million copies independent author, John Locke. That's one experience he didn't share in his bestselling "How I sold 1 million ebooks in 5 months".

Read the article, here. It's alot of eye-opening, and alot of consolation for the talent authors who wonder how many undeserved books boom while their books suck dust.


  1. Sometimes you can just tell a review is real, but even then you can't really be sure, and I do wonder whether certain reviews can be trusted. And not just book reviews.

    Personally, I don't like the review craze of today. I've enjoyed many books that I *can* criticize, but I love their authors, or their spirit, so much that I just don't want to! I don't want to put anyone off because I want them to read the book and decide for themselves.

    And while I read consumer reviews (reviews for electronics, for example), I shy away from book reviews. I don't like having others taint a reading experience that I may have otherwise found completely enjoyable.

    Anyway, this is quickly turning into a blog post. Lol.

    1. A fake review has distinguishable characteristics; it has an exaggerated feeling of love or ecstasy and almost exclusively focuses on only one aspect of story-writing; of being cool, a pageturner (well, except if written by the author himself)and the review carries powerful words and perhaps tells how the work changed the reader's life and why it was the best thing the reader ever laid eyes on.

      However, I may feel exactly like that after reading a book. Many times actually.

      Regarding, your opinion of not ruining the reading experience of another reader, who may even turn into a fan, I totally agree with you.

      However, a bad work (I mean really bad in all aspects), with surprisingly very positive reviews needs a warning to the next victim. You know what, I can understand an author posting a fake review just to make the water flow, pointing out the strengths and scope of his work. However, what was mentioned in the NYtimes, is something completely outrageous. John Locke, and others, for example recruited the help of hundreds, if not thousands, of those fake reviewers. And that is something really not short of deception.

  2. Anyone who reads about John Locke's "success" built on fake reviews will have yet another reason to distrust online reviews, be it books or blenders. It's sad, because in the long run I believe this mistrust will hurt all authors, but especially self-published ones.

    1. It is SAD. Unless Amazon works out a scheme that encourages TRUE readers to express their TRUE opinions, self-publishing will eventually be undermined. They can, as Apple's ibooks, introduce a rating's page at the end of every work. Also allowing star-rating without an obligatory review, will increase readers' feedback. After all not every reader is a capable reviewer. Actually, the obligation to add text shuns away a lot of readers from expressing their opinions.

      BTW, your website is really neat & cool.