Some Authors are Scamming Amazon with Five-Star Reviews

Silent Partner is due out September lst, so I’ve been working very hard over the past few months to line up bloggers for reviews. Authors such as myself have replaced “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” with “Buddy, can you post an honest review in exchange for a free copy of my upcoming book?” The results have been positive with around 30 bloggers signing up to review the book.

Still, I was very discouraged today when I looked at a brand new novel by a first-time novelist and saw that in little more than a month or two, he’d lined up 27 five-star reviews on Amazon. Knowing how much work I’ve put into the process, I was very impressed and decided to read some of the reviews.

First of all, even the best writers don’t garner all five-star reviews. I was stunned to see how uniform the reviews were. Several of the reviews referred to the author by his first name and implied they knew him; okay, ¬†I could understand a couple of friends chipping in with good reviews, but 27?

Then I began to look at other reviews by the reviewers of this author’s first book. I discovered that virtually all of them had never reviewed anything on Amazon before. The handful who had posted reviews, posted them the same day they posted their review of this novel. I assume they did so to make them look more legitimate.

The problem with this obvious padding of positive reviews is that it sets the floor much higher for other authors such as myself when it comes to having our books noticed or purchased. Why look at Stan Schatt’s newest novel with only 4 five-star reviews and a two-star review when I can purchase this other book with 27 identical scores of 5.0? It makes the East German Olympic judges scores for their own country’s athletes look very fair by comparison.

So, since Amazon can’t have a full-time detective agency to police book reviewers, my hope is that customers will begin to recognize when authors are wrapping their novels with ¬†outstanding reviews that don’t necessarily reflect the particular writers’ ability but only their willingness to game the system.

The particular book I’m pointing to is still only at around number 550,000 on Amazon’s best seller list, so apparently not everyone has fallen for the ruse. This particular writer has a new book due out later this year. I’m curious enough to monitor reviewers of the new book and see if the pattern is the same.

One thought on “Some Authors are Scamming Amazon with Five-Star Reviews

  1. I am always wary of books with only 5 star reviews… no book is universally loved. Given the above scenario, I would be more likely to buy your book (which I will as soon as it’s out on BN … lol)

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