Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beware Reviews of Anything

So, I have always known that you shouldn't trust anything you read on the internet.  Since I have been dinking around on the interwebs since my friend got the IP address for a direct dial blackhat site before the world wide web, I knew not to believe a word out there.  Hell, I had an excite.com email address (umm... why did it take until now to release how lame that is...) in high school which sent me 100 "grow your schlong" spam emails a day...  I remember when google first launched and making fun of all my friends who stilled used yahoo to search...

So, I am a veteran of the don't listen to the random jackhole on the internet.  But last week I found something especially disconcerting.  I received following email on my work account:

Subject: Free copies of **** **** **** ********** ***, 2nd Edition

-A free book - now that gets my attention.

blah blah blah, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah,
more blah...
If you’d like a free copy, just reply by email and I’ll set one aside for you. I only have thirty review copies, so it’s first come first serve.

The only hitch is that the publisher is asking that anyone receiving a copy agree to provide a positive (5 star) review on Amazon. You’ll need an existing Amazon account to do this.

Best wishes, 
Blah B. Blah, Ph.D., P.E.

So here is a PhD in what I assume to be engineering (since he has a PE) who sees nothing wrong with bribing people to post good reviews (5 stars none-the-less) so he can make money.  And he sends this out on our full email distribution list...  So very sad.  And possibly illegal...

So I have always assumed, the only people who bother posting reviews to places are the ones who had really extreme experiences - with people who have extremely bad experiences being more likely to post a review.  So, I tend to discard the worst and the best and take a look in the middle.
The one caveat I always had was amazon book reviews.  I buy 90% of my books from Amazon because I have a Amazon Prime account which means I get free 2 day shipping and free release day shipping on everything.  So, that means when I buy Christmas presents for all my family and ship it back home, shipping is free!  Well worth it!  So, why the special circumstances for Amazon reviews?  Well, because you only have to post a few sentences and it all gets averaged.  If there are not that many reviews to create a good average, then I can read them quickly.  

And what could possibly be someone's reason for padding book reviews... I have received more than a few 'review versions' of books for teaching, none that had a stipulation of good reviews to receive the book.

So, how many of those reviews on Amazon are just padded... probably them all.  That makes me sad.  And makes me feel like a dupe.  Which annoys me.  That is what I get for thinking anything on the interwebs is not fully of douchebaggery...

1 comment:

  1. I've read about people padding their reviews. Even writing poor reviews on other books as some kind of petty high school type grudge. I rarely read online reviews though. Mostly, if it looks interesting, I read it. The only opinions about books that I really listen to are those that come from my friends that enjoy the same types of books as I do.

    As for Blah Blah Ph. D. dude, I'd go write a review on Amazon telling the story about he wanted to pad his reviews. But I'm just mean like that.


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