Friday, October 04, 2013
Consumer reviews are one of the positive developments of the internet. Books, movies, hotels, shoes, appliances. We all use them. But are they accurate?
They have sparked two new industries: companies that for a fee will flood the review boards with phony raves, and companies that for a fee will try to weed out the phonies for rating sites that depend on objectivity.
Meanwhile, what are we poor schmucks to do? Believe or not believe?
Writers are the worst offenders. I've encountered writers who have all their friends and relations write raves for their books on Amazon. "A masterpiece!" "Endlessly gripping!" "A page-turner!" I've met writers who compose the reviews themselves.
Chattanooga just hit 100 Amazon reviews. As far as I know, they are all authentic. They range from horrid to enthusiastic. Average a paltry 3 1/2 stars (out of 5). But at least they are real.
Do I read the reviews? For my other books, no, or at least not more that a few. I will admit that I have been following the traffic for Chattanooga. It’s fun to see how people react to the Buffons, our invented family. Like neighbors on the block.