Every now and again, I have decided when I feel the need to write about a topic - a discussion point etc. Today's one is one that has been building up over the last couple of weeks with the release of the news article that went viral about the company that was paid hundreds of dollars to write fake reviews for authors over a number of sites to boost sales.
As a book reviewer , I found the article quite discorncerting as many of us readers rely on book reviews to inform us of new titles ,whether they liked it , if it will interest you as though reviews are a personal opinion -what you might like, someone might hate.
To me though , when you are writing a review it is a personal feeling , a feeling of your views opinions , it's like you are writing to the public world what you thought of the book, your blog site is like your very own standing podium where you share your knowledge of the world of books, authors etc to the world and for us introverts we can do it from the safe haven of our bedrooms. I started out the site as a place to review library books and within two years I found myself nominated for an award for Librarian Book Related Blogs and there was over 2400 nominations, dwindled down to the Top 100 and then down to the Top 10 and surprising to me I came in Number 5. I thought wow, people really do read my site and look at my reviews which of course I have 600+ followers now.
Someone recently asked me , Do I charge for reviews ? I didn't for the first two years of my site but as I became innudated with review requests, I had to instigate a review policy and then running giveaways and trying to increase my site's status - it started to cost money so I placed a Donation clause on my review policies. As I don't believe in asking for a particular amount of money as I know not all of us are rich magnates , I don't specify amounts. A Donation can be anything and as I am foremost a lover of books , the amount of donations does not play any part in the rating or review I give the book.
But when does it blur the lines of too much ? When an author is willing to pay $499 for 100 fake 5 star reviews to boost their ratings as one girl wrote that she earnt in a few months $12,000 writing fake reviews. It made me think of it like Prostitution for Reviews. Authors are pimping themselves out for them to write good reviews.
Another thing it made me think of is when you go on sites like Goodreads , Amazon etc and you read the reviews and authors of the books have written or rated themselves which of course they would give themselves 5 stars as HELLO , they wrote the book and of course they think it's amazing. Should authors be allowed to add their own reviews to their book ratings ? When did the love of reading become a money making scheme , besides of course the good side when the authors of the books who deserve it make the money off royalty checks :)