Bogus Reviews

9

One of the consequences of the Internet is the devaluation of concepts that we used to take for granted: Reviewers and Reviews.

Nowadays everyone can do his own reviewing, from books, plays, toys, games, movies through restaurants, hotels, travel arrangements and people.

A recent article in The New York Times accounts of the large scale trade of reviews; real review factories have come into existence. An author friend of mine was contracted to write positive reviews on Amazon for ten dollars a review. She was told that if she could not produce a positive review, she should forget about it. Another example is that many hotels today are offering guests discounts if they agree to write a positive review on sites like TripAdvisor.

book-collageResearchers from Cornell University discovered that fake reviews contain a very high degree of superlatives while offering very few relevant details. They developed a system to automatically weed out fake reviews; the use of adverbs and verbs would be strikingly high.

Amazon tried to tackle this problem of fake reviews, of which also reviews from people with personal grudges or prejudices should be taken into account, by reviewing the reviewers! Thus the so-called top-reviewers came into existence. But another research by Cornell indicates that also the top reviewers rarely write a negative review…

These reviewers remind me of people that describe everything they experience as amazing, fantastic, awesome etc., whether they write about a birthday party, a fashion show or a vacation in Hawaii.

Maybe the “real” professional, expert-reviewers still have a future, in spite of all the competition of bogus reviews and reviewers that seem to pop up like mushrooms. But even among them, it is hard not to succumb to the amateur disease of shabby knowledge and prejudice.

In my opinion, a review cannot consist of a few stars, and/or of a few hyped sentences. It should be long and thorough. To those who claim to have too little time for that, I’m sorry to say that that’s YOUR problem.

The integrity of this magazine would be severely undermined if we would allow certain reviews and comments to be published. Fortunately my staff guards and reviews the reviews we publish like Cerberus 🙂

9 Comments
  1. Jack Eason says

    😀 Nice one Angie. At least as far as any reviews I receive on my Amazon page, I can flag them if they are malicious. 🙂

    1. Angie says

      Thank you Jack!
      Malicious can be Positive AND Negative – It goes both ways…
      X Angie

  2. Carla Rosselini says

    I think the reviews on Angie’s are high standard, but that might be because of some really good contributors like Fran Lewis and Pat Bertram!
    Carletta

  3. Angie says

    Just read this article on TripAdvisor’s trials and tribulations:

  4. cheryl says

    I do believe Angie that this is such a wonderful article. As an author I can say that a lot of my reviews on my books are done by friends and do they really tell the truth who knows. Some of them probably hate my work but want to be nice by saying it is good. However I would never be offended if someone had something negative to say because everyone will never love everything everyone rights and if you are a writer and can not take critism then you have no business in the business at all.

    1. Bartemans says

      Yep, if writing isn’t a passion, or a virus as I like to call it, you’ll have a hard time coping with extreme and frequent negative criticism in the long run 🙂

    2. Angie says

      Thank you Cheryl, for your heartfelt comment!
      I must agree with Bart…
      and Bukowski:

      if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
      in spite of everything,
      don’t do it.
      unless it comes unasked out of your
      heart and your mind and your mouth
      and your gut,
      don’t do it.
      if you have to sit for hours
      staring at your computer screen
      or hunched over your
      typewriter
      searching for words,
      don’t do it.
      if you’re doing it for money or
      fame,
      don’t do it.
      if you’re doing it because you want
      women in your bed,
      don’t do it.
      if you have to sit there and
      rewrite it again and again,
      don’t do it.
      if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
      don’t do it.
      if you’re trying to write like somebody
      else,
      forget about it.
      if you have to wait for it to roar out of
      you,
      then wait patiently.
      if it never does roar out of you,
      do something else.

      if you first have to read it to your wife
      or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
      or your parents or to anybody at all,
      you’re not ready.

      don’t be like so many writers,
      don’t be like so many thousands of
      people who call themselves writers,
      don’t be dull and boring and
      pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
      love.
      the libraries of the world have
      yawned themselves to
      sleep
      over your kind.
      don’t add to that.
      don’t do it.
      unless it comes out of
      your soul like a rocket,
      unless being still would
      drive you to madness or
      suicide or murder,
      don’t do it.
      unless the sun inside you is
      burning your gut,
      don’t do it.

      when it is truly time,
      and if you have been chosen,
      it will do it by
      itself and it will keep on doing it
      until you die or it dies in you.

      there is no other way.

      and there never was.

  5. Branka Cubrilo says

    As pretentious and average writer is easily unmasked so it is easily unmasked malicious (or ‘generous’) ‘reviewer’ – usually even the first line says it all!
    ‘Never beg the world to love you but do your work out of your urge.’ that is my maxim.

    Great article Angie. :))

  6. Joyce White says

    Hi guys. I try to be thorough but many times hold my criticism afar. Many writers of memoirs don’t have the professional mindsets, and our readers depend on our reviews. No one wants to waste time reading carp. Excellent article Angie and a severe problem does exist.

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