Monday, 31 October 2016

Want lots of reviews?

All writers want reviews for their books – please, please leave one for me on Amazon.

Yep, I want them enough to beg – and to offer a book for free.

Today I got an email inviting me to purchase a promotional package which includes "UNIQUE and HONEST book reviews". If I go for his "BESTSELLER SO FAR" he will "post as many honest reviews as you want."

Well honesty is good, right? I have heard that the truth can hurt, but that's something I don't have to worry about with this offer as "I don't post negative reviews."

The sender of the email clearly thinks I'm the kind of person who might take part in such a scam. I am angered and insulted by this. So much so that I've come over slightly Liam Neeson. OK, I won't be hunting down and killing anyone, but I am forwarding the email to Amazon and others who I think might take action.

In case anyone is in any doubt, there is absolutely nothing honest about a review which will be positive regardless of the reader's true opinion and/or which the author has paid for. That applies even when the review is part of a package including  other services you would expect to pay for and any assurances such as "NOTE: You are NOT paying me for the review but for the amount of time I am investing in reading your book," are worthless.

Please don't fall for scams like this. It's not 'just' that it's unethical. You're very likely to be caught out. The reviews will be pulled. Your seller account may well be closed too. Publishers won't want to deal with you. Readers won't trust you. I'll be cross.

So, please, please leave me a review on Amazon – but only a genuine one and be aware that all you'll get in return is my gratitude. You'll get buckets of that.

UPDATE 31/1//16 - I've had a reply form Amazon and at their request have passed on all the information I have so that this can be investigated.

If anyone gets anything similar, it might help the investigation to forward it to stop-spoofing@amazon.com

UPDATE 1/11/16 - Goodreads are also actively investigating this.

28 comments:

  1. To pay for a review is like cheating at Monopoly. You know you haven't REALLY won. There is nothing more lovely than a genuinely happy reader, and to know that you have facilitated that by writing a book that they have enjoyed is wonderful. I doubt these scammers even read the book.

    Readers, make an author's day and leave a review!!

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  2. Well said, Patsy. I would rather have an honest review, good or bad, anytime. How else would I become a better writer?

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    1. Me too, Niddy - although I much prefer the positive ones!

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  3. Glad you sorted it out Patsy ... I just ignore ... but definitely want an honest review ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Most people ignore these, Hilary - but this one seemed to me as though it might catch out some newer writers who might think this was standard practice.

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  4. I've never paid for a review and I never will. Not honest at all.

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  5. Very well expressed, Patsy. I daresay there will be authors who haven't thought it through and won't appreciate the repercussions - they simply say 'oh good, this means I'll get lots of positive reviews which means more people will buy my books'. It's short-sighted and pointless and it all it actually does is put money in the pockets of unscrupulous people.

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    1. Exactly. I do understand how people might be tempted and convince themselves they believed in the honesty of this 'service', but I feel they'd be making a big mistake.

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  6. This is disgraceful, and I hope your email gets a reply from Amazon. I think that a smattering of three or even two star reviews gives veracity to the review tally. All five star ones, especially from people who have never reviewed anything before, smacks of friends and family! Good luck with both the book and the reviews, Patsy.

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    1. I agree with you, Frances. I've never been put of a book because it has a few less than positive reviews - at least, not unless they're nearly all like that.

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  7. He's just trying to make an extra buck/pound. I don't trust people like that.

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    1. Yep. If he really wanted to help authors he'd only offer services which weren't going to backfire on his customers.

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  8. As long as Amazon continues to promote books based on the number of reviews they have, the longer some authors will be tempted to buy their way into the system.

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    1. I do understand the temptatation, Helen. It does seem that the odds are heavily stacked against new writers and/or those who self publish. Amazon won't promote us without reviews, we can't get reviews without sales and we don't get sales without promotion.

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  9. I often wonder how genuine all these reviews are. I've often suspected many of them are written by fake readers/purchasers just to increase sales. It sounds like a pretty corrupt system to me. So well done in tackling it.

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    1. I have seen a few which rave about the brilliance of a book, but don't mention the plot, characters, location or even genre. I suspect they're not all genuine.

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  10. I can see why you're cross, and let;s hope Amazon take action. As for me - first I have to publish a book - next year, when I can see better!

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    1. It seems some action is being taken, Liz.

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  11. Another reason why I can HONESTLY say I've never bought a book solely because it has good Amazon reviews.

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    1. Most don't – but the chances of seeing it to start with are greatly increased if the book has lots of views (that's how Amazon works) so it's likely to have some impact.

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  12. Well done for flagging this up to Amazon. I've heard about it but never sure if many people fell for it. Of course we'd all want good reviews but not that way!

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    1. Even if just a few fall for it, that's a feww too many, in my opinion.

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Thanks so much for commenting!