< Go Back

The Problem with Social Product Reviews

The Problem with Social Product Reviews

    When you are an author, and you dare to write on topics outside your main field, folks who disagree with you swarm to Amazon.com to give your latest book a bad review that sounds real.

    As a hypnotist, I look for three tells (that could be false-positives):

    1. Review starts with “I am usually a big fan of this person but…”

    2. Criticism is in the form of “War and Peace doesn’t have anything about Russia in it.” (Meaning the reader did not read the book but might have skimmed a page or two.)

    3. A 2 or 3-star review, to make the ploy seem less obvious than a 1-star review.

    I do not allege that these two newest reviews are fake. But these are the types you would look for right about now, with all three tells, as I start angering people with my Trump writing. But as I say, these could be false-positives. They just happen to fit the form perfectly.

    I will ask those of you who read my book to confirm in the comments that these reviewers appear to have not read it. (The real readers understood the book to be about systems versus goals, not advice. The book clearly says it is not advice.)


    Am I wrong?

    Update: The tell on the second review is the two words “old hat.” That person either skimmed the book or did not read it. I think the folks who did read the book can confirm in the comments that the VERY POINT of the book is that it is contrarian advice. A real criticism might have looked like this: “His new ideas do not appeal to me.”

    And any reference to “already been done” without a link or a book title where it has already been done is another eyebrow-raiser.

More Episodes