Author Topic: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews  (Read 4717 times)  

Offline Jennybeanses

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Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
« on: February 08, 2011, 04:41:35 am »
I stumbled across this blog post on the reddit writing forums this morning and wanted to share it, see what you guys thought.

A Muddy View of Indie Fiction: Self-published Book Reviews


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    Offline NickSpalding

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #1 on: February 08, 2011, 04:50:23 am »
    Another post once again highlighting that review swapping is a bloody stupid thing to do.

    Offline Madeline

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 06:18:58 am »
    Yup, bloody stupid.  In fact it makes me angry.  Why should I care?  Because if enough people keep pulling that crap, people are gonna think all Indies do it. 

    Someone, somewhere along the line, once said:

    To pull off faking reviews on Amazon, you need to be a fabulous writer. Fabulous writers actually don't need any fake reviews.
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    Offline MonkeyScribe

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 07:18:32 am »
    It's easy for me to tell when an indie has fake/friend reviews. If someone has thirty reviews, and some of the raving reviews only give 4 stars, and there are others of the, "I like this and this, but not this," variety, then it's probably sound. If there are five reviews, four of which are vague, glowing 5 star reviews, and the fifth is of the, "Poorly written, typo-riddled rubbish that reads like a cross between Twilight and a sixth grade girl's diary," then I'm going to be suspicious. For a good book, the four star reviews (in spite of my signature below), are the most useful. A lot of people only give five star reviews to their all-time favorites, and these are frequently more sophisticated readers.

    The caveat here is that I'm also a writer who pays close attention to reviews. A casual reader might be more easily tricked.

    Offline Terrence OBrien

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 08:43:43 am »
    Here's a new book byStephen King. Note the four reviews by other authors. Is that considered a swap?

    http://www.amazon.com/Full-Dark-No-Stars-ebook/dp/B003YUC3YE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1297183281&sr=1-1
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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 08:48:52 am »
    Here's a new book byStephen King. Note the four reviews by other authors. Is that considered a swap?

    http://www.amazon.com/Full-Dark-No-Stars-ebook/dp/B003YUC3YE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1297183281&sr=1-1

    Terrence, there are over 400 reviews there.  Can you be just a LITTLE specific as to what you are referring to?  It might also help if you show where King then left a review of the reviewer's book...

    I know...I know...you're going to start bringing up the book blurbs on book covers. But please, book blurbs on covers are not the same thing as reader reviews and it is a Strawman arguement to pretend that they are. 

    Offline Terrence OBrien

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 09:06:35 am »
    "Can you be just a LITTLE specific as to what you are referring to?"

    1. Go to the referenced page.
    2. Scroll down a bit.
    3. Note the pics of Justin Cronin, Suzanne Collins, Margaret Atwood, and TC Boyle.
    4. See short blurb about King's book below each picture.
    5. Click on READ MORE below blurb to see full review.


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    Offline James Everington

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 09:10:22 am »
    "Can you be just a LITTLE specific as to what you are referring to?"

    1. Go to the referenced page.
    2. Scroll down a bit.
    3. Note the pics of Justin Cronin, Suzanne Collins, Margaret Atwood, and TC Boyle.
    4. See short blurb about King's book below each picture.
    5. Click on READ MORE below blurb to see full review.

    I'm honestly not bothered by that - Atwood, say, doesn't need the money or the publicity back. She just wants to say she likes a book. And if it's good enough for the author of Cat's Eye it's good enough for me.

    Offline NickSpalding

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 09:15:45 am »
    This is what goes through someone's head when they agree to swap reviews:

    "If I give him a bad review, he might give me one."

    End of story. Any reciprocal review is pointless, skewed and accomplishes nothing other than making both authors look amateurish.

    Offline Terrence OBrien

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 09:18:05 am »
    "I'm honestly not bothered by that - Atwood, say, doesn't need the money or the publicity back. She just wants to say she likes a book. And if it's good enough for the author of Cat's Eye it's good enough for me."

    I'm not bothered by it either. It's just interesting to try to define the standards, and see if their application is a function of sales.
    When ideas become weapons, modern Templars make a last ditch attempt to stop
    terrorists from using an ancient treaty to rally moderate Muslims to their Jihad......

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    Offline Archer

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 09:22:54 am »
    (shudder!) :P
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    Offline M.S. Verish

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 09:34:51 am »
    Quote
    (shudder!)

    Agreed. The opposite of Nike: Just Don't Do it!

    Offline MrMiracle

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 09:39:12 am »
    I love how they pointed out in the article how one of the reviewers used the author's first name in the review.  A friend of my wife's was nice enough to provide me with my first written review.  Unfortunately, the book is a bit outside of her usual genre, so she was fairly brief and called me "David".

    I shudder.

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    Offline kcmay

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 09:41:32 am »
    Quote
    If customers start to connect this with self-publishing as a whole then the honest players will be judged guilty by association.

    This.

    Offline Monique

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 09:52:58 am »
    The mini-Staneks with a mere 12-15 sockpuppet reviewers might be fooling some readers (for now), but they're not fooling the rest of us.

    It makes me furious that someone would betray readers' trust by creating alternate IDs to give undeserved 5 star reviews to their work. Not to mention that the fallout from that betrayal directly affects my business.

    I can only hope that their comeuppance is positively Dickensian.

    Offline kcmay

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #15 on: February 08, 2011, 10:05:54 am »
    The mini-Staneks with a mere 12-15 sockpuppet reviewers might be fooling some readers (for now), but they're not fooling the rest of us.

    It makes me furious that someone would betray readers' trust by creating alternate IDs to give undeserved 5 star reviews to their work. Not to mention that the fallout from that betrayal directly affects my business.

    I can only hope that their comeuppance is positively Dickensian.

    QFT. The problem is that those who are doing it don't give a rat's behind how their actions affect others -- not even their own readers. They want what they want. Those readers might potentially be my readers some day, but the Staneks of the writing world might lose the reader by turning them off from indie authors altogether. I read just this morning a comment from someone in the Amazon forum about how one lousy book by an indie turned her off for good from self-published writers.

    Offline Edward C. Patterson

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 10:10:32 am »
    I think that people have too much time on their hands when they need to reconcile changes in terms of conspiracy. It only proves that, unlike the Chimpanzees, humans have the same recurring and useless thoughts over and over again. We'd be better off thinking only about bananas and improve our fecal aim from cages at the zoo.  ;D

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    Offline David 'Half-Orc' Dalglish

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 10:19:57 am »
    Yet those books he's referencing are having 'meh' sales (I think Stanek's rated in the 100,000s). Clearly readers don't find new books based on organizing by just star rating. They use recommendations, word of mouth, customer also bought lists, etc. Is it a problem? Yes, but I think only on the small scale. None of these books will really take off, and if they do, they'll soon crumble under a sudden deluge of 1 and 2 stars.
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    Offline StaceyHH

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 11:26:26 am »
    I read just this morning a comment from someone in the Amazon forum about how one lousy book by an indie turned her off for good from self-published writers.

    Meh. Someone like this is either just looking for an excuse, or is trying to stir up melodrama. Just like all the people who SWEAR they'll never shop at Amazon again because this one time... Yeah, right, until the next time they want what they want.

    I've read a LOT of lousy books, and go figure, I still read.

    Not your target audience. :)

    Offline StaceyHH

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #19 on: February 08, 2011, 11:30:42 am »
    I think most readers are much more concerned about padding via quid pro quo, than about the occasional faked review. I see a lot of people on these boards who claim to be able to spot a faked review. I would suggest that it's not that easy, unless the faker makes really obvious mistakes. Maybe readers are just more suspicious of reviews left on self-published books?

    Offline daringnovelist

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 11:35:17 am »
    IMHO, the problem of review exchanges isn't that it tarnishes all indies, but that it tarnishes the reviews.

    It ironic and yet a universal truth that if something is perceived to have value (like reviews) somebody will come along and tarnish it. The people who do this are wasting their own time by destroying the very thing they are putting the most effort into.

    For the rest of us: if it's really valuable, it will survive.  A review from someone with the trust of their readers is of value.  A review from people the readers don't know never really WAS all that valuable, other than in the persuasiveness of the content.

    Just imho.

    Camille

    Offline Monique

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #21 on: February 08, 2011, 11:39:07 am »
    I think most readers are much more concerned about padding via quid pro quo, than about the occasional faked review. I see a lot of people on these boards who claim to be able to spot a faked review. I would suggest that it's not that easy, unless the faker makes really obvious mistakes. Maybe readers are just more suspicious of reviews left on self-published books?

    Not surprisingly, a lot of "fakers" are bad writers to begin with so they aren't exactly deft when it comes to their subterfuge. In some cases, definitely not all, it's painfully (emphasis on painfully) obvious.

    Offline StaceyHH

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 11:39:36 am »
    I stumbled across this blog post on the reddit writing forums this morning and wanted to share it, see what you guys thought.

    A Muddy View of Indie Fiction: Self-published Book Reviews

    I liked the first link in that post. (Sort of a "mission statement.") From a reader perspective, I pretty much agree with everything in there.
    Here's the sublinked post:
    http://muddyfictionreviews.blogspot.com/2011/02/first-post-and-paq.html

    Offline Victorine

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #23 on: February 08, 2011, 01:16:50 pm »
    I knew "muddled" had ulterior motives.  :P

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    Offline Edward C. Patterson

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    Re: Some Thoughts on Swapping Reviews
    « Reply #24 on: February 08, 2011, 01:30:58 pm »
    I knew "muddled" had ulterior motives.  :P

    Vicki
    I can smell them a mile away with my flea collar.  ;D  I have come across a few remoras that latch onto Indie issues and go so far as to cash in on them I fed one once and she bit. Got a finger - luckily not the middle one.

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