I’ve never been a big fan of online reviews. It’s far too easy for anyone to game the system. All it takes is one person’s disgruntled post, exaggerating whatever slight or offense they feel the service or product offered, to destroy whatever reputation one has tried to build.
And trolls, sadly, are everywhere. As are sock puppets, unethical marketing hacks, spin doctors, propagandists, and other liars and cheats.
So why should it surprise anyone that authors are lying to ‘create buzz’ or inflate their sales?
Too few people in this world seem to care about honor and integrity anymore. And the creators of things like Yelp, Google Reviews, and yes, Amazon seem to either be naïve or really don’t care whether the reviews are truth or not.
Personally, I lean more towards a belief in the stupidity of the decision-makers involved in the building of these review options, than a belief that they are somehow being malicious.
Even some places like Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau can be gamed and distorted.
I know far too many people that seem to rely on reviews from total strangers about whether something is good or bad. Reviews from people you know are trustworthy because you have an idea of how honest they are, and an idea of their perspective so you can know how much or how little to trust their recommendations. With random strangers on the Internet, you don’t have that extra filter. You have to blindly trust that the person is being honest and objective (something rarely seen in our society anymore).
Be offended by the knowledge that people are gaming the system all you want, but if you’re one of those people who rely on reviews to make your decisions don’t come crying to me if you get screwed.