It has come to my attention that there is an anonymous blog suggesting that some accounts on Amazon belong to people who offer to write positive reviews for monetary compensation. This blog says that it’s “tracking paid review accounts” and some of the reviews on such accounts are for books by Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, Brandon Sanderson, and surprise, Ilona Andrews, among others. The implication is that we purchase our reviews.
Since this is now being linked everywhere, I was contacted for comment by Dear Author. This is my response,
I’ve never purchased reviews nor authorized anyone to purchase reviews on my behalf. I’ve reached out to the site in a politest way possible asking them to share their documentation with me. I understand that they are probably busy, and so far I haven’t received a reply. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that some paid review accounts probably had a not-paid-for reviews as well, possibly to establish legitimacy of the account or because reviewers had purchased the books, and that’s how some names ended up on the list. I’m inclined to give the site the benefit of the doubt, simply because I don’t know the basis of their accusation, and I ask that people don’t jump to conclusions until we have a chance to work with them to examine their sources. If this degenerates into a flame war, it will be very difficult to get to the bottom of this, so I am doing my best to treat them with respect and courtesy.
Buying reviews is unethical and it’s also simply a bad business practice. I do not support it, and quite frankly, I have no need of it. Should any of the reviews for our books be conclusively proven fraudulent, I will work with Amazon to remove said reviews, if possible.
This is either a mistake, which is perfectly possible. We all jump to conclusions. Or this is a case of tabloid journalism. One can’t disprove that a celebrity didn’t have an alien baby. :D So far I haven’t received a reply from the site. Here is what Hugh Howey says about it.
Practice of paying for reviews is not illegal but I consider it to be unethical. And this is all I am going to say on this subject unless I receive more information. In the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who expressed their support on our behalf. You guys are amazing.
Comments are closed for now, as I am hoping to go to a movie today and I don’t really want to monitor them. Sorry, guys, I am unplugging for a bit.