Reviews are an important part of a capitalist world. People need to know if something is a lemon, didn't arrive on time, or was just plain junk. Did the book have sensual or violent content that was never mentioned by the author or publisher? Did this seller not send items and then refuse a refund? Was this movie genuinely interesting, with people flooding to state their opinion?
But unfortunately, attention hogs and Spammy insiders have swarmed product reviews. And not just reviews--blogs, blog commenting, fan pages, social media, pretty much any place where an opinion could be shared. Authors have to have many reviews (supposedly) and that means begging for them from people who are honestly rude and unfair. Yes, I'm an author and I'll feel personal about this. But it is really true, as I see when it's done to people other than me. It's honestly rude and unfair. (Or fake-friendly. Beware the fake-friendly little avatar-heads who flood your book or blog with SPAMMY comments that will keep people from taking you seriously. Those people do not really like you!
Why do some books or movies have spectacularly high numbers of gushing reviews and others, though established with a cult fan base for decades, have far fewer? Don't tell me The Force Awakens was more liked than the complete original Star Wars saga which has been around for decades! But the complete saga has only a little over 6,000 reviews on Amazon, the individual movies far fewer. And over 10,000 for The Force Awakens. Why does Frozen have almost 20,000 and movies like Tangled or Snow White have 4,000 and 2,000 respectively? Snow White is still one of the most popular and most loved princesses, after all these years, based on a merchandising poll I saw in a magazine a few years ago. Why isn't this movie soaring to 20,000 reviews?
I've come to suspect spammers. SPAMMERS, spammers, spammers. They show up trying to push something and bury something else. By now I'm secretly sure every book review ever written is about Twilight, and how this book is or is not similar to Twilight or some other young-woman's-cup-of-tea book. It is NOT helpful to me to know whether some screaming little person online thinks this book is the same sort of fat, popular book as Twilight and that's how it should be rated. I don't care if it's like Twilight or not. I want to know what's in it. And this nagging worry about a review's legitimacy does nothing to raise the value of reviews. (Not to mention those USELESS reviews on things like necklaces and DVDs that say the following bites of brilliances: "came on time," "Amazon sold this," "broke" (no details or explanations); "good." Whatever that means.)
So reviews are precious and as a writer I want them. As a consumer I use them. But the spammers are driving me to my limit and I suspect I'm not alone.
To be continued later. There will be more updates.
I've always been a writer. Author of 9 published books. Most recently published A Year with the Harrisons, a variation on Little Women. Next year will be publishing The Prince's Ball, a futuristic fairy-tale adventure.