– Sock Puppeting 2.0

Just when you thought the fake reviews scandal ushered in by Locke-gate was over, along comes to assist Locke-minded authors who are willing to pay for Amazon reviews.

On the site’s Book Reviewers Wanted page, someone named “Jerry” makes the following offer:


Book Reviewers Wanted

Buy A Book & Agree With Tags to Receive $2 Plus Cost Of Book

Post A Pre-Written Review & Receive $5 More!


Buy a $2.99 ebook & Agree with tags 3-5 days later we send you a review to post

You Receive: $9.99 Via Paypal $7 profit for a few minutes of work!


Notice how these people aren’t even being paid to write fake reviews, they’re only being asked to post reviews written by someone else under their own name and Amazon account. And many who respond to this offer will be blissfully unaware that this kind of activity is against Amazon’s policies and can get you banned from the site.

Still, with so many people hurting in this economy I’m sure the offer looks very attractive to potential “reviewers”. But what about the authors who are obviously paying “Jerry” to recruit these not-quite-sock-puppets to post pre-written (e.g. fake) reviews?

Their fraud hurts all of us by shaking consumer trust in Amazon book reviews, and by subjecting all of us to whatever measures Amazon elects to take to put a stop to it. Remember, after the last fake reviews scandal Amazon revised its review policies to bar authors from reviewing one another’s books, then it went a step further by retroactively removing book reviews written by authors.

If you are an author or publisher who only wants honest, legitimate reviews for your book(s) and would like to see this kind of fraud stopped, please report the site to Amazon. Here’s how:

1. Login to your Amazon account

2. Click on the Help link in the upper right-hand corner of any page on the site

3. Click the yellow Contact Us button in the right-hand column.

From there, you’ll have to navigate a series of drop-downs to zero in on the issue you’re reporting; just keep selecting ‘Other’ until one of them includes a ‘Customer Reviews’ option. Select it, and you’ll be able to enter an email and send it to Amazon.

Be sure to include the URL for the page with the offer quoted above: