From The Atlantic:
Fake Reviews: Amazon’s Rotten Core
The web has created some fantastic opportunities for authors, publishers and self-publishers alike, but this summer has seen the industry’s dark underbelly revealed in all its venal, pustulant ignominy. Things kicked off in July at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival where successful author Stephen Leather confessed, during an on-stage panel discussion, that he used fake accounts to promote his own books. This admission of sockpuppetry shocked the writing community and has been covered well byfellow panellistSteve Mosby.
UPDATED 29 August (see below for details).
Leather admitted to creating accounts on forums under assumed names in order to “create a buzz” about his own work. He also promotes and reviews his work using at least one pseudonymous Twitter account. In Leather’s own words, transcribed from a recording of the panel:
I’ll go onto several forums, from the well-known forums, and post there, under my own name and under various other names and various other characters. You build this whole network of characters who talk about your books and sometimes have conversations with yourself. And then I’ve got enough fans…
Although Amazon gets the headline, in the article the fake reviews cross all publishing platforms. Read here.