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Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Misfit » Sat October 17th, 2015, 4:09 pm

At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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FredQ
Technical Librarian
Posts: 191
Joined: October 2014
Currently reading: The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope
Interest in HF: I like how HF can fill in the gaps where we don't have enough information.
Preferred HF: Everything about the Knights Templars
Location: Northeast Scotland

Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by FredQ » Sat October 17th, 2015, 4:34 pm

A lot of people I know really trust the Amazon reviews and base their choice from these reviews (including me!). They have a lot to lose if people know they can be easily faked (like Trip-Advisor that I don't trust anymore).

So yeah, it's in their best interest to tackle the issue right now :roll:
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Misfit
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Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Misfit » Sat October 17th, 2015, 4:45 pm

The fiverr thing is outrageous. They've figured a way to cheat the verified purchase.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat October 17th, 2015, 9:45 pm

I ignore five-star reviews. I always lok at the one- and two-star reviews. And sometimes I go to the reviewer's page to see if they are just a "five-star shill".

What peeves me is when fans of a particular book don't like my opinion. I usually state my reasons clearly, and nobody else has to have the same tastes. But I get comments about 'the hard-working author' -- as though the review system existed for the seller's benefit, and not the consumers.

Hogwash. I do't review often, but if I take the time to post something, it is my honest opinion on whether a reader of my taste would or would not like the book. I do not owe my credibility to any writer, however much I may like them personally.

Rant over.

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Nefret
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Favourite HF book: Welsh Princes trilogy
Preferred HF: The Middle Ages (England), New Kingdom Egypt, Medieval France
Location: Temple of Isis

Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Nefret » Sun October 18th, 2015, 1:52 am

What about people who one-star for reasons not related to the products?
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

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Misfit
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Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Misfit » Sun October 18th, 2015, 8:22 pm

Nefret wrote:What about people who one-star for reasons not related to the products?
I hate that practice. Like the kindle kops ticked over the price of a book, a price set by the publisher, and one star a book.

This lawsuit will be interesting to follow. Already some of the fiverr members named are discussing it on public boards. The lawsuit was filed in King County, WA. Now Amazon will have to serve the people they've named. If these people don't show up at trial, the lawyers just have to convince the judge of the rightness of their case and get a default judgment. At least that's how it works when we she a contractor bond and contractor for non payment. The contractors rarely respond in court, so it's all cut and dried.

I'm with MLE, I go to the lower rated reviews first.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Mythica
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Preferred HF: European and American (mostly pre-20th century)
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Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Mythica » Sun October 18th, 2015, 10:02 pm

Misfit wrote:
Nefret wrote:What about people who one-star for reasons not related to the products?
I hate that practice. Like the kindle kops ticked over the price of a book, a price set by the publisher, and one star a book.
I think the price should figure into reviews/ratings - but obviously, only in terms of whether I thought the book was worth what I paid, not as a way for people to express their protest over the book price when they haven't even read it.
This lawsuit will be interesting to follow. Already some of the fiverr members named are discussing it on public boards. The lawsuit was filed in King County, WA. Now Amazon will have to serve the people they've named. If these people don't show up at trial, the lawyers just have to convince the judge of the rightness of their case and get a default judgment. At least that's how it works when we she a contractor bond and contractor for non payment. The contractors rarely respond in court, so it's all cut and dried.

I'm with MLE, I go to the lower rated reviews first.
As pleased as I am that they are trying to do something to stop fake reviews, I can't help but think this is very similar to the Napster lawsuits, when a bunch of Napster users were sued for illegally downloading music. They were just trying to scare people from doing it by making an example of a select few, but it didn't work. They may have won the suits but ultimately, people are still illegally downloading music and the record labels have realized there's no stopping it, you can't sue every single person who does it. I feel like the same thing will happen here. Amazon might win the lawsuits but ultimately, the few people they've sued will just be a drop in the water, and it's not going to stop others from selling fake reviews.

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Misfit
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Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Misfit » Sun October 18th, 2015, 11:19 pm

I agree, I doubt they'll stop it entirely, but from a couple of forums I've stumbled across it does have some 'reviewers' named in the suit nervous.

La Rice takes her spin on this. *head desk*

At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Rowan
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Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by Rowan » Mon October 19th, 2015, 4:12 pm

I rarely pay attention to any reviews on Amazon. I trust only the people here on this site. The few times I've read a review for a book, I've made a point to look at the poorer reviews like MLE. I don't do much reviewing either because I don't feel like my reviews are worth anything to anyone, here or anywhere else.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3556
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Amazon files suit over fake five star reviews

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon October 19th, 2015, 4:34 pm

To the contrary, Rowan, your reviews have made me pick up many a book!

However, reviews on Amazon are indeed becoming worth less. And Goodreads, too. That's because the commercial nature of those sites, as in marketing books, is slowly diluting truth.

Case in point: at least five years ago I posted a review for a book. I hated it, and said so, and why. It was actually a cross-posting from a review I put up here. (I also reviewed other of her books, and most got 4 or 5 stars.)

I didn't know the writer at the time, but I know her now. I do post my reviews under a different name, but at one point what had started as a warm relationship got suddenly frozen, and I think that she put my reviewer name together with me. Anyway, now the novel has been re-issued as an ebook, and I know she could use the $$s, and there is my one-star review killing the sales. (There were only 3 reviews to start, and now there are about 9).

Since the re-issue, my bad review has been collecting a number of unhappy comments from people who, I think, may be the particular friends or partisans of that writer. Which is making me ponder whether I should change it.

I decided to up it to two stars, because my one-star reaction had more to do with my high expectations, given the other works of this writer that I had read. But the truth is, I didn't like the book, and the reasons stated in the review haven't changed. It was my honest appraisal.

Now if the point of the review (as the commenters seem to think) was to help finance a 'hardworking writer' (quote from commenter) then I should definitely change it, as I know that this writer does indeed work very hard, and I very much want to help improve her economic circumstances. But if the point of the review is to help readers who might have my own tastes decide what they would like to give their $$ and brainspace to, then the review should stand.

That's what I use this forum for. To get honest reviews. I don't want to harm writers, but an honest review is perhaps the greatest teaching tool a writer can receive.

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