And now for more on sockpuppets. It's dismal, I know. I don't even want to comment much about it because I get such a sick feeling in my gut when I think about authors...or people...doing things like this. So I'll concentrate more on the link I found.
According to this link, what I've been saying about sockpuppeting and Internet fraud all along is now coming true.
The fakery often does not stop at Amazon book reviews. Accounts sometimes are created to modify Wikipedia entries – either the author’s, in order to make it more effusive, or other authors’, to slam their work. Forums find themselves submerged with threads raving about certain books, while others are inundated in insults about competitors. But all of these methods are being exposed with ever-increasing regularity.
I honestly didn't realize wikipedia entries were being abused. But frankly, I have wondered how some not so famous authors have wiki pages and they don't seem to have done anything important enough to warrant them. It's like this endless aggressive push for self-promotion is getting so out of hand, and so obnoxious it's turning people off more than it's helping. And yet they have such thick blinders "they" don't see this themselves. And, more and more are going to be exposed in time. It just stands to reason.
This part about author Stephen Leather is where is really gets dismal:
“The second controversy arose when Leather admitted, on stage, to creating online fake identities to promote, talk about, and praise his own books. He even admitted to arranging discussions between these different personas to make the whole thing look a little more genuine.”
Of course we're hearing a lot about this happening with authors because it's still too soon for the mainstream to understand that a lot of what they read online may have been planted by fake accounts and sockpuppets. I have one good friend who will often e-mail me with political information and ask me to find out if it's true before she sends it out to her friends. In other words, I don't think this nasty business is isolated to the publishing world. I think it's everywhere, and all online businesses, from auto repair shops to furniture design, are becoming subjected to it.
And my prediction for the future stands as is. This is going to continue, these people are going to be exposed eventually, and I think we'll be seeing more legal issues arise where people will start to be prosecuted. I posted about one guy a few weeks ago who began an online campaign to defame his peers with e-mails...by accusing them of being pedophiles no less. He not only got caught, but is being prosecuted as well. I'm hoping things like this start to set an example for others who are doing it.
You can read more about the Stephen Leather issues here. It's a fascinating post that really explains it far better than I can.
For those who think I'm not right about the future, check out this web site that is designed to help people manage their online reputations. A lot of reputations have been damaged because of sockpuppets (and nasty bloggers) and people are becoming aware of how important it is to have a good online reputation. We'll be seeing more of these web sites in the future as well.