Monday, 5 November 2012


The whole idea of paying for reviews came about in 2010, with a man called Todd Rutherford and a website called

Since then the world of online book reviews has never been the same.

Mr Rutherford observed how the day-to-day consumer has become an essential part of selling, noting how they offer an illusion of truth and brutal honesty. He took advantage of this and began charging outrageous prices for five star reviews; for $499 you could have 20 'fabulous' reviews.

The Federal Trade Commission has issued guidelines stating that it must be made clear when there is a financial relationship between the author and reviewer, but enforcement has been minimal. It appears there is no real way to stop the force of false reviews.

It has been estimated that over one third of online reviews are fake. Many reviewers don't read the books they are voicing their opinions on. This misleads readers and takes away the romantic element of carefully selecting a book.

Some argue that writers are just using all the resources available to them to get their name out there. But the question arises of how far is too far? Does it only become unethical when you start paying for it or is soliciting your friends and family just as bad?

The idea of paying for reviews changes the way people perceive a writer's work. My opinion is that people who pay for reviews are simply looking for a quick rise to success, and are not prepared to put in the hard work to achieve their goals.

Robyn Paul

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