What To Do… What To Do…

Being stuck in the “home office” for weeks at a time during Maine’s harsh winters can be pretty…depressing. On Sunday night, we were under a wind chill advisory, with the “chills” dipping to -30 to -40 F…

Mommy Knows Best By Eric D. Goodman

When you publish a book and want to bring attention to it, it’s a good idea to get some reviews and create some buzz. Traditionally, writers, publishers, and publicists target mainstream media. But, sometimes it pays to go right to the source…

Whispers And Warnings For January 26th

FOLLOW-UP – Victim #5 alleges Shakespeare Squared has ceased paying agreed-upon installments.
47th COMPLAINT about Kim Kleeman / Shakespeare Squared / ShakespeareSquared.com / S2EO / s2eo.com / UpGrade Education / upgradeeducation.com – Writer alleges she’s owed $2265.
48th COMPLAINT about Kim Kleeman / Shakespeare Squared / ShakespeareSquared.com / S2EO / s2eo.com / UpGrade Education / upgradeeducation.com – Writer alleges he’s owed $2392.
COMPLAINT about Louis Sirico / The RFID Network / rfid.net – Writer alleges he’s owed $750; publisher tells a different story.

No Ice, Please!

We received another 6 inches of snow last week and we’re supposed to get a small ice storm tonight. Ug…

THIS MAKES ME SICK! Company Admits Buying 5-Star Book Reviews!!

THIS MAKES ME SICK! Company Admits Buying 5-Star Book Reviews!!

This week’s story makes me sick to my stomach. After last week’s article about an author who admitted manipulating Amazon’s sales rankings and reviews, I received an email from a reader who had applied for a freelance writing job online. The company in question wanted to pay writers for book reviews….but only for 5-star ones.

From the Author Who Admitted Manipulating Amazon’s Ranking/Review System

Ms. Hoy:
Thank you for writing about my new book, The Day the Kindle Died. Following the recent media coverage, I received an email from Amazon. In part it says “customer reviews and sales rank are an important source of information for customers” and “we will not tolerate efforts to manipulate it.” I found this to be quite interesting given there are scores of job posts on the Internet for paid Amazon “book reviewers”. Please see the three links below and attached screen shots. These are a brief sample of the dozens of offerings for anyone who would like to make some extra money writing “reviews” in their spare time.
If Amazon is truly serious about stopping fake reviews, all they need to do is run a Google search and they’ll find many employment offers to writers. The basic job requirements appear to be; 1) have multiple Amazon accounts (identities) to post reviews under, and 2) an interest in making $10 for one review or up to $250 for writing 50 different versions of reviews and posting them to Amazon. The math works out to $1 to $2 per hour for a writer’s efforts to read an average-length book and write an intelligent review. Clearly reviews are being faked in a very public manner and Amazon cannot be oblivious to these efforts to influence book sales.
Amazon has a double standard given that the most prolific Amazon reviewers such as Harriet Klausner post 4 to 6 reviews per day (more than 20,000 reviews presently) and paid reviewers as noted above have escaped the scrutiny of Amazon. Meanwhile, The Day the Kindle Died exposes Amazon’s flawed sales rankings and customer reviews and is condemned by Amazon. The hypocrisy is palpable when Amazon claims they “will not tolerate efforts to manipulate” their data, but they do nothing to prevent it and even make it difficult for authors to get “reviews” removed.
After reading thousands of online comments this past week I can’t help but agree with all of the people who expressed hope that Amazon will read The Day the Kindle Died and fix their broken system so customers can buy with confidence. Amazon needs to remove all sales rankings, Amazon bestseller lists and customer reviews until the integrity of the underlying data is verified.
Thomas Hertog

These links are representative of what I found on Google. The Google cache also indicates this activity was prevalent in 2009 and 2010 and is current as of today:
Company Admits Buying 5-Star Book Reviews!!
(Read more about this outfit HERE.)
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Another way for Amazon and other sites to virtually eliminate fake book reviews is something I’ve been writing about for years – ONLY LET SOMEONE POST A REVIEW IF THEY HAVE PURCHASED THE BOOK FROM AMAZON!

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