The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy

NY Times:

The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy

In the fall of 2010, Mr. Rutherford started a Web site, At first, he advertised that he would review a book for $99. But some clients wanted a chorus proclaiming their excellence. So, for $499, Mr. Rutherford would do 20 online reviews. A few people needed a whole orchestra. For $999, he would do 50.
There were immediate complaints in online forums that the service was violating the sacred arm’s-length relationship between reviewer and author. But there were also orders, a lot of them. Before he knew it, he was taking in $28,000 a month.

. . . .

But not just any kind of review will do. They have to be somewhere between enthusiastic and ecstatic.
“The wheels of online commerce run on positive reviews,” said Bing Liu, a data-mining expert at the University of Illinois, Chicago, whose 2008 research showed that 60 percent of the millions of product reviews on Amazon are five stars and an additional 20 percent are four stars. “But almost no one wants to write five-star reviews, so many of them have to be created.”
Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth. They purport to be testimonials of real people, even though some are bought and sold just like everything else on the commercial Internet.

See also this article on fake Twitter followers for sale.
Does anybody actually read Amazon or other product reviews? I usually buy online when I already know what I want so I don’t check reviews at all. I do read real book reviews sometimes.

I read Amazon reviews. I’ve found they can be very helpful to find out extra details about a product, so I can know if it will work for me. For example, Cook’s Illustrated (a cooking magazine) recommended a certain stick blender to buy, but when I went to Amazon, many reviewers said it didn’t last and often broke in a few tries. So I did not buy it even though I had good reason to pick that one. And sure enough, just recently Cook’s Illustrated retracted and said they no longer recommend that stick blender because it breaks.

Also, you can find answers to why your product is not performing correctly, and remedy the problem.

I might not read them though, if I didn’t have insomnia. With nothing better to do at 3 am, I have the time to research a product that way. Not everyone has that kind of time. You need to read them, and not just skim, to find the salient points.

I do. And I’ve written one myself.

I’m more suspicious actually of book reviews on a book inside the book cover rather than Amazon’s. However, there have been a few products I was going to buy until I read customer’s reviews on them, and then didn’t. Also, a few books I was interested in and was going to download got some not too good reviews so I skipped them.

Actually for books, if you can borrow them from the library, its the safest, because if you don’t like them you’re not out of any money and can return them. Plus, I’m still boycotting Amazon at least for awhile because of their 2.5 donation to the LGBT organization. Fortunately though they do have "free"ones, and some of those are by the Catholic Fathers.

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