The United States government cracked down on fake product reviews in a groundbreaking case a few minths ago. Though it did not involve books, it could easily have.
Look at the book marketing world and you’ll see we’re in an era of disinformation.
Let’s start with the basics:
· Fake book reviews abound across the Internet. We know this because so many authors get friends and family to post positive reviews of books they never read and may not even like. Further, they paid marketing companies a fee to get others to post reviews but the people posting the reviews would only do a review because they were compensated for doing so.
· When it comes to book reviews with book review publications or websites, many are paid for. You can pay Kirkus Reviews or The Foreword to publish a review in their magazines. You can get any of dozens of book review sites to post a review for a fee.
· The news media is increasingly becoming a pay-for-play operation. Numerous local and some national TV shows will sell air time and pass it off as a legit segment on their show. They command thousands of dollars per show.
· Many radio stations sell air time and people will use it to rate what looks and sounds like a legit show but is nothing more than an informercial.
· There’s paid product placement every day in movies, TV shows, and by so-called Internet influencers.
· Many best-seller lists are manipulated by bulk buys staged by authors and marketing companies to make themselves look legit.
· Many social media stars have fake followings. You see lofty totals – hundreds of thousands or millions of followers for someone who puts ass selfies on Instagram. A lot of those numbers are paid-for-fakes.
· The editorial line with media outlets continues to blur when advertisers fund them. They may say there’s a church and state wall, but how could the money not influence editorial coverage some of the time?
· Fake news is all over the Internet.
· Charges of fake news against actual legit news sources by the U.S. president undermine people’s respect for the real news.
So we have a world of fake reviews, fake news, false claims of fake news, and falsified followings of bullshit Internet influencers. What a world. So how does this influence the book market?
Books need the media, reviews, and all that the book marketplace has to offer in order to succeed. Do authors have to play the game and buy reviews and ask editors to favor their books because they bought an advertisement? Do authors even know which media outlets are legit and which ones are not?
We need a fair playground for authors to sell their books, compete for legit media coverage, and for the really good books to rise above the mediocre or awful. In today’s publishing and media landscape, fakery, obfuscation, and favoritism rule.
“The US Federal Trade Commission has successfully brought the first ever case against using fraudulent, paid Amazon reviews to falsely advertise an online product, the agency announced Tuesday evening. The company in question, named Cure Encapsulations, Inc. and owned by Naftula Jacobowitz, paid a third-party website to write five-star Amazon reviews for a weight-loss supplement called garcinia cambogia. The plant, native to Indonesia, is widely mischaracterized as contributing to weight loss, but is in fact known to cause acute liver failure.”
--The Verge, 2/27/19
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.
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