Monday, August 22, 2011

Practice of "paid" reviews for books and services seems to be widespread on Web

David Streitfeld has an article Saturday in the New York Times about the practice of paying for favorable reviews of books or of various products and services, and of the willingness of some people to write reviews for money.

Previously, I’ve covered the situation where some professionals (especially medical) make customers sign “gag contracts” saying they won’t comment about them online. Many professionals feel very sensitive and vulnerable about the “online reputation” others can give them without recourse.

The link for the Times story is here,  title, “In a race to out-rave, 5-star web reviews go for $5”.

I do not engage in this practice (of writing reviews for pay). I have reviewed a number of films where pre-release ("free") DVD's were sent to me (one was a short film from an oil company); FTC rules now require that bloggers disclose the fact that they received complementary copies. The same is true of one or two books.

In the case of the two Amazon reviews of my first DADT book (1997; 2000), they were not paid; the second review called it a "screed" and wasn't all that complementary (different spelling!)   And, by the way, I fixed the misleading sentence about what "algebra can do" in the online version; sorry.  It would help if the English language used more endings (like other languages) to force agreement. 

See also related article on my Book Review blog, June 7, 2010. 

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