Wednesday, June 20, 2012

For Five Bucks She'll Comment on your Blog Up to Twenty Times...

I've posted about before. It's that web site where people will do basically anything for five bucks.I have read that you can hire them to write book reviews for you on Amazon (some actually do read the books from what I've heard) in order to boost your sales. While I've never done anything like this, and never will do anything like this, I do think it's an interesting thing to know...that all reviews might not be reliable. Anyone could argue that the person who left the review actually read the book. The problem is how do we know the person really liked the book, and for that matter how to we know the person really did read the book. You can blame that on living all my life in either the NY area or the Philadelphia area. We aren't the most trusting people. And the Internet is a breeding ground for all things questionable.

And now I see bloggers can actually hire people to comment on their blogs:

I will comment on your blog posts in any way that you want as long as the limit will be 200 words. You could have 10 comments in 20 words or whatsoever. The comments that you will get won't appear spammy and they will certainly be related to the topic of your blog post. I will also cater to those who are looking to boost their forum's posts.

So what this seems to be saying is the person offering this blog comment service will not only be leaving questionable comments, but they will also be sockpuppeting on your comment thread. It's not the first time I've seen sockpuppeting, but it's the first time I've ever seen anyone admit to it without a hint of shame. It's not something I've ever thought of doing, not in the seven years I've been blogging. And now I'm starting to wonder if people actually do things like this on blogs.

Unfortunately, this all leads back to one basic rule of the Internet: never trust anything you read unless there is a reliable source willing to back it up because the chances are it's false. I allow anonymous comments here on this blog because I do think there are times when people need to comment anonymously for various reasons. Some of my past posts on book pirating are good examples. The reasons for anonymity in some cases are valid. But I also have comment moderation on at all times, if you notice, and there's a reason for that. I've had everything from nasty comments to death threats. And while I can take those things fairly well (I'm a very strong person) I would rather not subject my readers to things like that.

So if you're interested in taking sockpuppeting to new levels you can check out fiver. I'm not linking for two reasons: one, I'm not going to help promote anyone who does this. Two, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to read a comment thread again without wondering whether or not the blogger did something like this. And that's sad.

But until there are rules for things like this on the Internet, and I'm including Amazon and all web sites with all products where people leave personal opinions that can't be backed up, it's hard to take anything seriously anymore. Just imagine how nice life would be if we knew, for certain, that every single review/comment we ever saw on Amazon or any web site could be backed by a name and an identity. Or if every single comment we saw on a blog comment thread was legit and could be backed up with a name and identity. But then I also wonder how many comments and reviews would magically disappear from the Internet never to be seen again. I could be wrong. But it would be interesting to find out.

Tomorrow I'll post something about web sites where I do think reviews and comments can be least trusted more in the sense that they look real.


elisa-rolle said...

I lost any hope in having the amount of comments I see in other blogs, I now prefer to concetrate on posting what I like ;-)

WritingInBako said...

I pissed off a couple of MM writers in my early days of Facebook because we were "friends" and they had new releases and wanted me to write reviews and chat up their blogs. There was no mention of cash, but unethical is unethical and in my opinion that is what this is.
Matthew Darringer

ryan field said...

Elisa...I do the same thing. I enjoy blogging and welcome all comments. But I don't blog to get comments.

Matt...I write reviews sometimes for books of friends I've read and loved. I did that recently for a writer because I loved his work (I mean loved it). But I won't do it unless I've read the book and liked it.

anny cook said...

Exactly what I've been saying for quite a while AND wondering why some writers have a zillion reviews...interesting. No, I'm not and never will be that desperate, but I know some authors...who might be. Verrrry interesting.

Shelagh said...

I've become a lot more sceptical of reviews at Amazon since you mentioned this :( It's hard to see how Amazon could police this.

ryan field said...

anny cook...It's getting very transparent.

Shelagh...They can't police it. It would be impossible. What I think will eventually happen is we'll all need something like an Internet license when we do anything online. In other words, the same concept as a driver's license. Imagine if anyone could drive without a license. There would be mayhem on the roads. Or, web sites will begin to introduce new standards where in order to join and become a member there must be proof of identity. But I don't see that happening soon. And I think a lot of places on the Internet enjoy the circus sideshow aspect of all this.

pfodge said...

You can blame that on living all my life in either the NY area or the Philadelphia area. We aren't the most trusting people.

I'm from New Jersey and I feel the same way. I almost never read reviews anymore. I pay more attention to the blurbs on the book or the cover. I have on more than one occasion bought a book because I liked the cover.

I get a lot of my books by following what friends and authors on my friends list over at Goodreads are reading. I am more likely to give a star rating than an actual review. Although I have done some reviewing lately. I am always so afraid that what I have to say will sound to similar to other reviews for the same book.

I save most of my reviews for when I post my wish list over at Live Journal. I haven't figured out how to link my Live Journal with my Goodreads account so have no way to share it there.

ryan field said...

pfodge...There is a way to link blog to goodreads. This is how I did it.

When you sign in at goodreads, go to "visit your dashboard," and click that. (Right hand side of page.)

On the next page, scroll down to "Your Blog" and click that. (Left side of page.)

At the top of the next page, left side under your photo, click "edit blog settings."

On the page after that you should see "External blog feed URL" on the left side. If you click that and copy and paste your blog address there it should link your blog to goodreads. I know it works with google blogger. I'm not sure about livejournal. I still have a lj blog, but don't use it anymore because it was hard to open with AOL.