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Why you can’t trust user reviews: sock puppets don’t just review books

Me, going on about the evils of the internet again…

A big scandal’s kicked off in the world of books: big-name authors RJ Ellory and Stephen Leather have been writing fake reviews on the internet, bigging up their own titles and damning their rivals’ books.

They’re not the only ones – John Locke appears to have forgotten to mention “paying for hundreds of fake reviews” in his “how I sold lots of ebooks” guide – and if you think it only happens with books I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Online reviews are utterly broken.


3 replies on “Why you can’t trust user reviews: sock puppets don’t just review books”

I can see the attraction of writing fake reviews. You get to take pride in completing a widely read work of fiction and, unlike my novel, it takes less than twenty years to finish.

More on the same thing from the Guardian:

“Earlier this year, TripAdvisor started letting people give star ratings to restaurants without even creating a profile. What was to stop restaurant owners from awarding themselves five stars every time they got to a new computer, while trashing their rivals at the same time?”

On a related note, I sometimes wonder whether the more breathless Apple supporters (or Microsoft, or Google, or…) happen to own shares in Apple (or Microsoft, or Google, or…).

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