Saturday, October 25, 2014

Reviews Bite Back


Reviews can be problematic.   They can have long lasting consequences whether they are  negative or positive.   More than one author has admitted to paying a service ($5 seems to be the going rate) to have thousands of cubicle dwellers half a world away  post a glowing review on Amazon.   It usually had the desired effect.  Sales expanded exponentially.

Then there's the reverse situation:   A negative, one star review, even by someone who hasn't purchased the book or admits in the review to never finishing it, can bring book sales to a screeching halt from which they never recover, not even months later.

Many people don't leave reviews, positive or negative. Just too much effort.  There's no reward and most people post their reviews under a pen name.   A comment takes time to draft;  you can't just say "I loved it!"   A certain number of words is required.    I post regular reviews on Tripadvisor.  Since I use the service it somehow seems my duty to provide my best version of a fair and balanced opinion.  I have read suggestions that reviews, especially when it is the only review that the writer has ever written, should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.   Could be a competitor or their employee.

Is everyone fair?  Trolls inhabit the internet and some form clubs or groups that lurch from topic to topic, apparently taking pleasure in swamping a book, restaurant, or hotel with reviews that have no basis in reality or their actual experience but provides the trolls with an amazing sense of power and group fellowship.   I've heard that some people demand a 'comp', a free meal or similar, in exchange for not  posting a negative review.

In response, more than one restaurant  has decided to bring out the heavy hitters.  A blogger here was fined because Google searches placed her negative review too high in the listings.   That plus the number of blog readers she possessed were to her detriment.   In another case,   lawyers were employed to track down the reviewer and threaten litigation if the review wasn't retracted.   A wedding venue had a term in the contract that the security deposit would be retained if one of the guests posted a negative review.

If you're wondering where will it end, this article  only provides more questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment