A young friend of my daughter went to Amazon to post a review of Outside Plumbing. She noticed the other reviews she had previously written for other books (I think there were two) were gone.
This is being talked about all over the web, on blogs, on-line publications (such as Huff Post) Linked-In, Facebook, etc. One of my books had two reviews and they removed one. Maisie still has not a single review.
A person who is held up as a great success in selling e-pubbed books, and who even wrote a best-selling book about that subject, has admitted publicly that he has over 500 paid-for reviews. He did this after the contractor who arranged for the reviewing wrote an article about it. The contractor only blew the whistle when someone discovered the nature of his business and asked him to comment. This contractor also mentioned that you paid more for a good review than a mediocre one, but his sub-contractors were instructed not to write a negative review.
Yet, the Amazon review is still considered the bench mark for e-pub success. Some sites won't even list your book unless you have five reviews four star and over.
Here is my response to the concerned young lady who approached me with the news.
"The review was on my phone last night but on my computer today it was not showing up. Some dick who has written a book about how to successfully become a best selling author has admitted publicly that he has over 500 paid for reviews. I have books with two ratings and they take down one. Maisie still shows no ratings at all. Don't bother trying again. It is horse shit. Everyone is talking about it and yet everyone thinks your Amazon review is the most important indicator. Fuck it. I'm tired of it anyway.
Thanks for trying. It was all just a mania side effect."
I also signed a petition that is being circulated about it and I contacted Amazon Customer Service merely to ask "why" they are doing this. But I have already seen, several times, the form reply that Amazon sends out to people who inquire about the problem.
It is also very discouraging that at least 85% of the comments I place on other blogs, websites or articles go into the black hole. This bothers me as it is a loss of possible blog hits for me. But, further, it may appear to the people who comment on my blog that I am not interested in theirs. Which is hardly true. I hate to tell you how many hours I spend answering emails and reading my 'friends' blogs.
This writing stuff used to be fun for me and great therapy. But the whole web presence stuff is getting to be a pain. I actually received a notice that I was banned from a website I don't even disagree with. Again, when I inquired as to why, I received no reply. My message to them probably went into the black hole.
And you make a new contact on twitter and exchange tweets a few times and visit their blog and then someone steals their identity and sends you some porno link and you try to tell the person they should change their password and boing, one more unfollow. They are never going to get a handle on this.
Writer's Digest recently sent me a survey and a large part of it was devoted to what my opinions are about DRM. (Digital Rights Management) It is to laugh.