Can you trust Kindle reviews?

Someone I follow on Twitter posted this earlier (sorry, I can’t remember who it was): a big list of people offering to post reviews of Kindle books for money.

I don’t recall hiring this guy:

For only 5 bucks I will buy your .99 Kindle ebook, provide a 1 star rating and write a negative review that may demotivate customers from buying your book. This will allow you as the author to help further alienate potential readers by taking the unfounded criticism way too personally. I may also click the “Yes” helful button on other negative reviews of your book to dramatically decrease your books credibility, sales and exposure.

Gags aside, I wonder how much work people like this get:

I will review up to TWO different products. I will give a 5-star positive review for your kindle, book or whatever product you have on Amazon. We all know Amazon is the number one outlet for people buying books, CDs, kindles etc and it is vital that customers see favourable reviews. My reviews will be tailored to match your product and will have a “genuine” feel to it and not appear spammy, such “cool book” or “nifty product, go and buy one” etc

I wrote a column about this kind of thing, but it hasn’t made its way online yet: if it’s worthwhile to game a system, the system will be gamed.

I know it’s illegal for companies to pay for this kind of thing. Does anybody know whether EU anti-astroturfing laws apply to individuals?

2 thoughts on “Can you trust Kindle reviews?

  1. Gary says:

    Heh. I’m interested whether what they’re doing is legal but unethical, or if it’s illegal too. It does make a mockery of the whole system if it’s common.

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