An interesting new report from PBS NewsHour about fake reviews on Yelp and Bazaarvoice:
They don’t mention the services that sell Facebook friends and other social media followers but that’s in the same dishonest ball park.
Reminds me of Amazon’s decision to delete thousands of book reviews that generated an uproar — the company never offered a public explanation for the sweeping purge back in 2013.
Giving raves to family members is no longer acceptable. Neither is writers’ reviewing other writers. But showering five stars on a book you admittedly have not read is fine.
Amazon has not said how many reviews it has killed, nor has it offered any public explanation. So its sweeping but hazy purge has generated an uproar about what it means to review in an era when everyone is an author and everyone is a reviewer.
Is a review merely a gesture of enthusiasm or should it be held to a higher standard? Should writers be allowed to pass judgment on peers the way they have always done offline or are they competitors whose reviews should be banned? Does a groundswell of raves for a new book mean anything if the author is soliciting the comments?