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!