BookMachine | 1000 Fake Reviewers: What does publishing’s underbelly say about us?

BookMachine_logoEvery industry has a dark side – even light and fluffy ones like publishing, as we find out on BookMachine this fortnight.

Once again the practice of faking bad reviews has made the headlines, but this time Amazon is the good guy. The online book retailer has announced that it will sue 1,114 ‘fake reviewers’ in a lawsuit filed in Seattle, Washington. The reviewers, dubbed “John Does” as Amazon does not yet know their real names, have been selling their services on the internet out-sourcing site, promising five-star reviews for as little as $5 (about £3.24).

The importance of the online book review

There are some schools of thought nowadays which claim that the ‘review’ is dead. In the online world, however, they’re more important than ever: on Amazon in particular, reviews are now stripped down to their bare star-rating and used as data to rank a book and dictate its visibility on the site. As such, self-published authors and traditional authors alike have been known to purchase fake reviews to boost their book’s status and enhance sales. Fake reviews have become so popular there is even a WikiHow on how to spot them!

Purchasing fake reviews puts you on very dodgy legal ground, however, as it constitutes deceptive advertising and can be prosecuted. [READ MORE]

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