Sock puppets are everywhere these days and now it seems that some writers are using the rather dishonest tactic of using pseudonyms on various websites and creating glowing reviews for their books in order to generate sales. The Guardian blog goes on to ask What does the sock puppet scandal mean for online reviewing?.
Personally, I find the apparent “scandal” all rather pathetic. The writer was pathetic for being insecure in his own talent that he felt the need to do this and the campaign to “Out” the authors who do it are being pathetic because, quite frankly, I can’t see fellow book bloggers caring enough to write about this issue. Also, is anybody really persuaded by a single review to either buy or not buy a book?
Those of us in the blogosphere are far more savvy than we are given credit for (as ever). I am more inclined to get an opinion of a book from bloggers I trust, people like Little Red Reviewer or Nila E. White’s The Atheist’s Quill. Why? Because they – and other bloggers like them – review a wide range of authors on a regular basis and give open and frank assessments of the work. Perhaps they do receive freebies sometimes but such reviews are rarely uncritical declarations of dying love. We get honesty from the amateurs, the people who do this for the love of books.
When it comes to Amazon or Good Reads, I read such a large selection of reviews that no single review – good or bad – could persuade me either way. I look at the merits of the 5-stars and the critics of the 1-stars and make my decision based on that. Suspicions are raised when in amongst a sea of “meh” reviews, one or two will praise everything about the book. In that case, I am most likely to disregard that review as anomolous.
What are your thoughts on this?