I recently visited one of those travel websites where customers weigh in about their experience at hotels and resorts. I wanted to check out how the new luxury resort on our island is being received. The customer comments fell into two categories: lackluster, and seemingly spontaneous; or gushily enthusiastic, with a curious sameness.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but I wonder if the parent company of the resort might be skewing the average with phony reviews. I can imagine some hack in the public relations department whose job is to crank out raves and post them from a battery of purpose-made e-mail addresses.
I know this happens on Amazon. Authors write reviews of their own books, or ask friends to post five-star reviews, to pump up their rating. I've had authors tell me they do it. It is, of course, a practice no self-respecting author would engage in. As with comments here, when nice things are said about my books I am grateful for the kindness of strangers.