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Authors Unite Against Sock Puppets

You’ve seen them, unbalanced user reviews on Amazon which either overpraise or unfairly criticize a book. Often referred to as “sock puppet reviews,” these fake reviews are done by authors and their friends to give their own books lots of stars and competing books unwarranted criticism.

Now a group of writers (along with the Society of Authors) are teaming up to swear off of this bad practice. The group — which includes authors Linwood Barclay, Tom Bale, Mark Billingham, Ramsey Campbell, and David Hewson, among many others.

In a group statement posted online, they called out Stephen LeatherJohn Locke, and RJ Ellory for messing with the user generated review process and called for Internet users to fight back. Here is an excerpt:

…the only lasting solution is for readers to take possession of the process. The internet belongs to us all. Your honest and heartfelt reviews, good or bad, enthusiastic or disapproving,­ can drown out the phoney voices, and the underhanded tactics will be marginalized to the point of irrelevance. No single author, ­ however devious, ­ can compete with the whole community.

Want to know if a book’s reviews are fake?

Check out this humorous chart that will teach you how to read Amazon review graphs. (Via Sarah Weinman).

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