Over the past year, Amazon has been inundated with lawsuits. One area of these lawsuits is regarding Amazon’s widespread fake reviews. The scenario goes something like this: an author pays a sum of money to a fake reviewer on Amazon who then, under several fake names, leaves positive reviews for their books. This same reviewer then leaves negative reviews for the author’s competitor’s books. So sales of the author’s books rise while the sales of his competitor’s books fall. Prices begin at $99 for 20 reviews up to $499 for 500 reviews. These reviewers are known to Amazon and yet Amazon has refused to remove their fake reviews.
In addition to this particular scam, authors on Amazon are using multiple accounts to leave fake reviews for their own books and then leaving negative reviews for their competitor’s books. This is one of the “tactics” recommended to authors in the marketing materials disbursed by Kindle and CreateSpace, both Amazon companies.
Below are some unbiased articles discussing Amazon’s illegal selling tactics and widespread fake reviews, including the lurid details behind a couple of companies who sell their fake reviews for a considerable amount of money.
Forbes: Amazon’s Fake Review System (Original Forbes article)
Fake Reviews_ Amazon’s Rotten Core – Copy (Forbes article to download)
NY Times: Book Reviewers for Hire and Their Prices (Original NY Times article)
Book Reviewers for Hire PG1 – Copy (NY Times article to download)
Book Reviewers for Hire PG2 – Copy (NY Times article to download)
Book Reviewers for Hire PG3 – Copy (NY Times article to download)
Book Reviewers for Hire PG4 – Copy (NY Times article to download)
Sockpuppets and Amazon – Copy (Download, shortlist of authors faking their own reviews)