Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reviews and thoughts

Last week I read a NYT article on review factories: In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5. (It might not open, sometimes the NYT makes you subscribe to their site.)

But the theory is still there and is sound: “For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business,” offered one entrepreneur on the help-for-hire site Fiverr, one of a multitude of similar pitches. On another forum, Digital Point, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.” A Craigslist post proposed this: “If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.”

The big question is--how much attention do you pay to reviews? Personally, if a book has 5 bad reviews and no good ones, I'll probably skip it. But if you've looked on Amazon and one of two things
1. All or most of the 1 and 2 star reviews are either as a shipment, price, or Amazon problem (The Fifth Witness), or even after reading the blurb the reader thought the book was about something else entirely (Please Look After Mom).
2. The polarizing effect--100 5 star and 100 1 star with very little in the middle (Heaven is for Real before the explosion of 5 star reviews), you have to make your own choice.

Which is what it all boils down to for me. Making my own choice based on good & bad reviews and what they actually say. One liners mean nothing to me, and I ignore them.

What about you?


Wendi Zwaduk said...

Sometimes I read the reviews and snicker that someone had an issue with the price--author don't usually control that--or it wasn't what they thought--that's what blurbs and excerpts are for. Sometimes I buy the book because there are reviews that I think are unfair and I've found some great books that way. I've also been turned off by some that were all 5 star because I found it almost hard to fathom the book was truly that good. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe I'm completely off the mark, but that's my thought.

Isabel Roman said...

I agree, Wendi! Anything with that many 5 star reviews seems fishy. Then again, giving the book 1 star for a price problem is crazy too.

I read "Please take care of Mom" but read some reviews that gave it a 1 star because the woman thought it was a nice mother/daughter book. Um, hello back of the book blurb!

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Yeah, that's not an ooey gooey cuddly book. Geesh people don't pay attention some times.

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