No Sock Puppets Please
“Sock puppet” accounts, in the context of online book reviews, are fake
forum, customer review or Twitter accounts that an author creates to
promote his or her book under a different name.
Author Joe Konrath has attacked the No Sock Puppets Here movement with a vitrolic post on his blog - "Congratulations, NSPHP
signatories. Because of your concerns about Amazon's review policy and your
ridiculous little petition, and the resulting media witch hunt, thousands of
legitimate reviews have now been deleted", Konrath wrote and you can see the full post HERE
Yep, the Sock Puppet saga continues and it really is too important an issue to ignore here on The Archive - Amazon were recently stung by the sock puppet scandal and they have replied by removing many reviews from their website. Author Joe Konrath, finding that Amazon have removed many book reviews, both for his own work and for writer friends in his network sent off a letter of mild complaint to Amazon. Check out his post HERE - and once again commentators on his blog are attacking him for what many see as his incredible stance that posting fake reviews is perfectly good and proper. Of course Konrath recently posted many fake reviews himself, commenting on them in this POST, but many saw this as an attempt to cover up his own sock puppet antics.
He also attacks many of the household names who signed the NO SOCK PUPPETS PLEASE petition, calling them a bunch of holier-than-thou authors. When one commentator made positive remarks about the petition Joe responded with - "Creating and signing that petition was a hasty, short-sighted, and
foolish thing to do, and I said as much at the time. I also warned
against innocent people being hurt.I was right. But I suppose
its easier to defend your actions and take pokes at me than it is to
perhaps consider the NSPHP letter set into motion unfortunate
consequences.Hopefully next time a group of authors get together
to incite moral panic, they'll let common sense override the heat of
the moment, and perhaps thing about the potential ramifications of
publicly whining in the media."
Amazon responded in an email to another reviewer who questioned their actions: " I'm
sorry for any previous concerns regarding your reviews on our site. We
do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial
interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes
authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants
selling the product.
We have removed your reviews as they are in violation of our guidelines.
We will not be able to go into further detail about our research.
I understand that you are upset, and I regret that we have not been able
to address your concerns to your satisfaction. However, we will not be
able to offer any additional insight or action on this matter."
More on this HERE
If Konrath is to be believed then the following authors, all of whom have signed the petition against fake reviews, are inciting a moral outrage - Linwood Barclay, Tom Bale, Mark Billingham, Christopher Brookmyre,
Declan Burke, Ramsey Campbell, Tania Carver, Lee Child, John Connolly,
Michael Connelly, N.J. Cooper, David Corbett, Ruth Dudley
Edwards, Stella Duffy, Jeremy Duns, Mark Edwards, Chris Ewan, Helen
FitzGerald, Meg Gardiner, Lee Goldberg, Gordon Harries, Joanne
Harris, Mo Hayder, David Hewson, Charlie Higson, Susan Hill, Peter
James, Paul Johnston, Graham Joyce, Laura Lippman, Stuart MacBride, Val
McDermid, Roger McGough, Denise Mina, Steve Mosby, Stuart Neville, Jo
Nesbo, Ayo Onatade, SJ Parris, Tony Parsons, Sarah Pinborough, Ian
Rankin, Shoo Rayner, John Rickards, Peter Robinson, Stav Sherez, Karin
Slaughter, Andrew Taylor, Luca Veste, Louise Voss, Martyn Waites, Tim
Weaver, Neil White, Laura Wilson.
The sock puppet crisis was sparked off earlier this year when author Stephen Leather said during a panel on eBooks at the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. - "I’ll go onto several forums, from the well-known forums, and post
there, under my own name and under various other names and various other
characters. You build this whole network of characters who talk about
your books and sometimes have conversations with yourself. And then I’ve
got enough fans."
When Leather was asked if his readers knew about this, he said - "Well, I think that everyone … well, are the readers aware of it? No …
But they’re not buying it because of the sock puppet. What you’re trying
to do is create a buzz. And it’s very hard, one person, surrounded by a
hundred thousand other writers, to create a buzz. I mean, that’s one of
the things that publishers do. They create a buzz. One person on their
own, difficult to create a buzz. If you’ve got 10 friends, and they’ve
got friends, and you can get them all as one creating a buzz, then
hopefully you’ll be all right."
There’s an excellent account of the whole sorry mess on the blog of respected crime writer, Steve Mosby
Personally I'm one of the authors who signed the petition - as well as being published traditionally I have also seen several titles out as eBooks and, like many writers, find that good Amazon reviews help sell books which in turn helps us make a living at our work, which is why I found myself turning against Konrath, a writer who I once admired. He is very visible and his comments that fake reviews are okay could damage the integrity of all online reviews. It's the same with John Locke and Stephen Leather and I will never again buy anything by these guys, but at least these guys are remaining silent on the subject while Konrath continues to shout loud and proud that there is nothing wrong with sock puppetry.
Time to pull your socks up, Joe.