I’m Not Sure Requiring Purchase For Amazon Reviews Is The Best Way To Combat Fraud

I understand that fake book reviews have become a problem, particularly for Amazon. Fake good reviews, fake bad reviews, it’s all becoming a problem. However, people keep touting requiring an Amazon purchase as the way to combat fake reviews on Amazon. I’m just not sure I think that is the best way.

For one thing, I don’t think it necessarily means that the review is real. It does seem a little more likely, that people can’t just do a review without having had to make a purchase. However, what’s to stop a person who made a purchase from leaving a fake review (good or bad)? Also, what is to stop a return after the review is posted? It ups the cost for involvement, but I’m not sure it really addresses the problem.

For me, the real reason I’m concerned about this is that I leave real reviews on Amazon but often buy my books from my local independent. Under a system where Amazon prevents review fraud by requiring purchase, I wouldn’t be able to leave most of my reviews even though they aren’t fake.

Granted, I do recognize that Amazon has the right to do this if they want. This is their system. They can let me post reviews or not as they wish. If they want to restrict the reviews I post to only books I bought through them, they can. However, it also seems to be a way to sneakily encourage me to buy from them instead of my local independent.

I mean, Amazon is the biggest forum. I sometimes do post one of my reviews there in addition to Goodreads because it will do the most good for readers there (if they care about my opinion, which certainly not everybody does). That doesn’t mean I always want to buy from them, but restricting reviews to Amazon purchasers cuts out the voice of anyone who tries not to be an Amazon customer. Is that their right? Yes. Would it suck a little bit? Also yes (at least for me).

I’m just saying, I think there has to be another way to combat fake reviews that doesn’t force people to always buy from Amazon. Of course, since it would force people to buy from Amazon if they want a voice, I’m betting that’s the way Amazon will go.

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About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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2 Responses to I’m Not Sure Requiring Purchase For Amazon Reviews Is The Best Way To Combat Fraud

  1. Jon Konrath says:

    Something I’ve often wondered is if it’s possible to game amazon rankings by purchasing multiple copies of a book. For example, let’s say I write a script to create accounts aa@rumored.com, ab@rumored.com, etc., and then I gift a few hundred or a thousand copies of my book, one per address, and then go through and accept all of them, would my book rating suddenly jump through the roof? If you did this versus buying a $500 Kirkus review, the sales would always boost your rating far more. I’ve often wondered if people are employing this tactic. (And if you spend $500 on buying your own book, you “get back” 30% or 70% of it, too.)

    I think of reviews were only possible for verified purchases, you’d just see fake reviewers buying copies first, and also getting a spike in sales figures.

    OK, gotta go dust off my copy of “perl for dummies” and make some money.

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