If you’ve been following the recent controversies about Amazon’s reviews (and the reviews that show up on other sites), you know the problem: marketers and/or authors are paying for good reviews to help boost their ratings at Amazon and/or sales.
Here’s the flip side of that review process. This article talks about how fans of Michael Jackson are hitting a new biography with one-star reviews to sink the book’s ratings.
The author calls the attack a way to use the right to free speech against the right to free speech. The reviews themselves aren’t flawed. But the engines that rank according to the number of stars on the review clearly is flawed. Any author who’s works are sold on Amazon or other e-retailers needs to be aware of the kinds of social movements that can impact their sales.
Freedom of speech is blamed a lot of times when the agenda is trully the culprit. I find this disappointing because i will sometimes read some Mazon reviews in the process of vetting a book before I add it to my reading queue. If author are having their reviews staged then that strategy is haphazard.
Yes, I agree that freedom of speech often takes the blame. Until sites that have reviews find a way to vet reviews that is fair to everyone, Amazon should leave the system alone. And people who use the reviews for purchasing decisions will have to try to judge for themselves whether they’re real, have been paid for, or are motivated by something other than love of reading.