The Saga Of Paid Amazon Book Reviews Continues Unabated

Paid Amazon Reviews

Despite Amazon’s paid book review clean-out after the revelations by John Locke about paying for book reviews, nothing has changed at all.

Well, apart from the fact that Amazon deleted a lot of honest ones during their cull at the time.

Amazon did not take much more than token action against paid book reviews back then.

Instead, it decided to remove those posted by fellow authors. Or by those deemed to have a personal (even if only by social media) connection with the author.

Because of this, a lot of genuine and honest positive reviews were deleted. But what about the dishonest paid Amazon book reviews? Hardly any were removed.

But now we hear that Amazon is going after Fiverr. What?

After years of knowing very well that Fiverr is, was, and has been the ‘go-to‘ site for authors wanting paid Amazon book reviews?

It’s hardly been a state secret.

I did a quick search of Fiverr and returned hundreds of offers to write reviews for products on Amazon, including books.

The Guardian reports that Amazon is to sue 1,000 fake reviewers.

However, I am not sure what the difference is between a fake and paid review.

One thing is certain, though, paid Amazon book reviews are rife. And Amazon has ignored this issue for a very long time.

paid amazon book reviews continue

Amazon paid book reviews are big business.

While it is commendable that Amazon is taking action against Fiverr, it is, in fact, only the tip of the iceberg.

Even if Fiverr is closed down tomorrow, a quick search on Twitter will find hundreds of offers to write and post Amazon book reviews.

I asked one review site on Twitter for their price.

For a verified Amazon Review – $30. Verified meaning that they will buy the ebook and therefore be able to post as verified on Amazon.

This is where Amazon has a real problem, though.

Fiverr will probably be easy for Amazon to reduce because, for $5, these are not involving a verified purchase.

But pay a little more, even on Fiverr, and an Amazon verified purchaser who publishes them can earn quite a bit of money.

 

It’s not only Amazon who has a problem.

TripAdvisor fell foul and was fined $600,000 for allowing fake customers to post on its site.

In fact, almost every site on the Internet that allows customer feedback is full of fake and paid.

So as much as everyone says that paid Amazon book reviews are a curse, the fact of the matter is that they are a reality. No matter what action Amazon takes, they will continue.

Every author knows that to sell books, you need reviews, and to get them, you need to sell books.

The resolution to this catch 22 is to pay. It’s why it was so successful for John Locke, and why the practice continues today, on a commercial scale.

Paid book promotion in any form is big business.

As one said in a message, “people think there is a taboo regarding paid book reviews, despite the practice being utilized by some big-name authors on a regular basis.

While authors need reviews to sell books, don’t forget that Amazon doesn’t do badly out of it either.

Reviews are one of the prime movers for sales of all Amazon products. So don’t expect the Amazon world to change too much.

Sure, Amazon will give Fiverr a hard time for a while.

But at the end of the day, Amazon needs reviews just as much as the product suppliers do.

So it will be as it always has been, again.

Money makes money. Those willing to invest will reap the rewards of paying for advertising.

Whatever you want to call it fair, fake, or foul, it’s all paid advertising.

 

Update: Amazon has now introduced a $50.00 spend minimum to stop fake book reviews.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

9 thoughts on “The Saga Of Paid Amazon Book Reviews Continues Unabated

  • Avatar for C. David Gierke
    November 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm
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    I have had a running discussion with Amazon as to why they removed a legitimate review from from my book page. They replaced it once and then removed it a week later. Do these clowns actually want to sell books or do they simply want to control every aspect of the marketing of books. The fact that they allow their own people to provide a paid-for review of your book is unconciousable.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Barry Easton
    May 12, 2018 at 11:18 am
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    There is a private company in the USA called Indiebrag that awards ‘medallions’ for good books that pass the acid test of internal, anonymous review. It is owned by a linited liability private company, whose CEO is an author and retired marketing executive. His own books have been reviewed by Indiebrag and passed the test. Guess what? His wife, Geri Clouston is the CEO of Indiebrag. Do I have an axe to grind? yes, of course. My book was rejected rudely and aggressively, based on seriously flawed and inaccurate comments about Sci-Fi. It was so bad and untruthful that I have reported it to the relevant internet commission in North America.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Tom Southern
    February 23, 2018 at 10:45 am
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    3-star reviews are usually the reviews I pay attention because they give a much more useful review of a book. 5-star reviews usually don’t give too much info on the actual story, whether it’s worth reading, how, why and what makes it so.

    Also, as a writer, 3-star reviews gives tips on how to write my own books, e.g. ‘saw the twist coming a mile away because too big a hint at the start’, ‘felt the main character was a little too weak and most people would’ve behaved…’, etc.

    Obviously, I’d love to have 5-star reviews because they’re nice to have and good advertisements for books so, I don’t begrudge other writers their 5-star reviews and read them from time to time. Some of them are genuine as I’ve discovered after finishing a book.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Ashok Shenolikar
    November 8, 2017 at 9:52 pm
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    Thanks for the article. Until I read this I was not aware of such a thing as a “paid review.”

    Reply
  • Avatar for Simone Z. Endrich
    February 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm
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    Very interesting article. I’m a regular reviewer on Amazon and have myself often criticised some 5-star reviews of mediocre books. But I had no idea that authors actually paid for reviews.

    Reply
  • Avatar for Iain Cameron
    October 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm
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    Derek,
    Many thanks for all your informative posts. I’ve read a number and I do wonder when you’ve got time to write a book. Keep it up.
    Iain

    Reply
    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      October 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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      Thanks Iain! My blog keeps me writing, so I don’t lose the daily habit. But books do eventuate, eventually.:)

      Reply

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