On occasion, I peruse the freelance job sites to supplement my time between PR projects. I've noticed on several of the sites an alarming number of jobs where the "client" is looking for people to post multiple pre-written reviews on Amazon.

 

Jobs that violate the terms of service of others sites, such as posting fake reviews of Amazon, are a violation of these job sites. However, a lot of the jobs 'get through' as they are policed by those who bid on jobs, not on the administrators of the site.

 

I also ran across this interesting article about Cornell researchers working to spot ....

 

I know that reviews are important - I've heard a number of people hear talk of the value of Amazon reviews to their sales. Even outside the book world, we relied heavily on TripAdvisor when booking our honeymoon this past spring, and I occasionally read reviews on Yelp.

 

No real point or question. Just an observation.

 

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Arrgh!  Say it isn't so!  There are some private companies that offer Amazon reviews for a fee.  I almost fell for this.  The fee was modest and sounded like administrative costs.  A check on google and some web sites though brought up complaints from customers.  I think your job offers must be coming from "pay for reviews" sites.  Amazon isn't involved in this, but anyone can post a review if he/she is a customer.  Amazon does (or did) have Amazon Vine where they asked former customers if they wanted a free book and then post a review. I got my publisher to furnish some ARCs for this on one occasion.  The reviews all showed that the people had read the book, though not all were very experienced at reviewing. I'm not going to do Vine again.  All of my other reviews are legit, by actual customers who bought the books.

I don't know if it can be done, but can you check customer reviews versus actual sales, to ensure they at least purchased your book?

 

A "client" on one of the freelance boards just hired 10 people to post 20 "supplied" reviews each under their own Amazon accounts. I reported him tot he freelance board's owners, but it seems like one goes down and several others take their place.

I doubt it.  In any case, the book may have been bought in a store.  In other cases it may have come from the library.  In fact one of my critics said as much by adding that at least he didn't pay for it. These reviews are still legitimate.

You can monitor sales of Amazon books by numbers, but not by purchasers.

 

I do agree that providing "supplied" reviews is disgusting, and Amazon should be made aware of it. It falls in the same category as posting your own reviews via friends and fellow authors.  You'd think, though, that all those reviews would be identical.

On the whole, readers are savvy about this.  They warn against too many 5 star reviews!

Yes, but you're a professional reviewer.  On Amazon, ordinary customers who have bought a book and read it can post reviews.  Those reviews are legitimate and frequently better written than Amazon Vine (sorry, couldn't resist).  In fact, as far as I'm concerned, anyone who's read the book can legitimately comment on it.
Kevin, I don't think she was saying what you seem to think she was saying.  She seems to be defending ordinary customer reviews as legitimate, and says that anyone who reads the book should be allowed to comment on it.  I'd think this would include library copies.

Yup.  However, I have an idea that Amazon screens review posters to make sure they are Amazon customers.  The reviews are listed as customer reviews.  You don't have to buy the book in question to be an Amazon customer.  You could have bought something else from Amazon. The book can indeed come from the library.

Still, as to Amazon Vine:  these books are offered free to reviewers.  In other words, they have not been chosen because the reviewer was particularly interested in the book.  As a rule, Amazon Vine reviewers are offered a selection of items, incl. books, to use and write a review about.  They get to keep the item.  That is a very different involvement with a book than when a fan buys your latest.  Many of my Amazon Vine reviewers expressed surprise at my book, in a good way, but it was clear that their own reading interests would have been elsewhere.

What is a professional reviewer?

It's impossible to police. Facebook prohibits using its Like system to run sweepstakes. But people do it all the time. I think these kinds of policies are in place as legal buffer in case they boot the hell out of someone/something.
Full disclosure: one of my beginner mistakes (like publishing with iUiniverse) way back in August was booking reviews from Book Rooster. They get the ebook for free and members post their "reviews" on Amazon. If that is "unethical" it's balanced by the cost and the inarticulate and negative one-star reviews so far received. Plus in the review the reviewers always state that they received the ebook for free. Paying for reviews goes on my long list of things to never do again.
Quite right about Book Rooster.  Their initial 49 dollar charge looked like an administrative fee and was to produce a lot of reviews from people who just liked to read.  Not so.  Complaints by authors who have used Book Rooster abound.  Amazon Vine (no money involved) is better.  An actual customer review is best.

I thought this was applicable to the topic of fake reviews:

So where can the industry turn to for a dose of Fake Review Optimis...

And finally, I thought I'd share this "freelance job listing," currently on Elance, a large job board for freelancers:

Hi,

I am looking for a good writer who is willing to write 10 Amazon product reviews at 700 words each.

The topic is Electric Lawn Mowers.

I have the 10 keywords for each product review and will provide those to you once I select you for the project.

Feel free to bid on my project if you have the following qualifications;
- experienced writing physical product reviews
- experienced with writing good articles/reviews for SEO purposes
- will write ONLY in excellent English and English grammar. Anyone with sub-standard English will not be selected.
- have experience doing your own research in order to write the review (all you have to do is read about the project on Amazon)
- willing to ask me questions if unsure about something in the topic.

I will consider those with the above qualifications and experience. If the reviews for this project go very well, I would like to work with you on a longer term basis for reviews on other Amazon physical products.

Thank you for considering my project and I look forward to working with you!

Regards,

Doug

24 people have bid on this project, with fees ranging from $55 to $548.

I have seen "review" projects for books frequently listed.

Yes, that sounds like Book Rooster or similar businesses.  Amazon only provides free books to its Vine readers.  On the product side: they may provide the product.  In any case, authors do not pay Amazon Vine.

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