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Old 08-30-2012, 08:36 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Exactly my point.
Once in a while it's worth trying to see things from the *other* side of the market.
Competitive market transactions are a conversation: we consumers have the final word but the producers tend to have the *first* word.
But it needs to be an HONEST conversation. By treating reviews as if they're the same as ads but not being open about it they're being misleading.

And this has nothing to do with "changes rippling through the industry" - neither the idea of ads or reviews is new, nor sadly the idea of paid-for ads masquerading as reviews.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:31 AM   #77
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You surprise me, I had built an image of you over the past year of two of someone who is thoughtful and considerate, someone who has some real standards. It is often surprising to find that the little subtletys that go toward building an online impression can be so out of whack. I would not have expected you to be accepting of cheating in an industry that you have so much invested in. There are many ways to build a following, to gain attention. Your idea regarding offering free books to those who provide a review is possibly a good one. Another tried and tested on is the loyalty system - offering discounts for subsequent purchases by the same reader. Paying for reviews is not a good one, it damages everyone to some degree.
First and foremost, I am a realist. I accept that lying, cheating and stealing goes on throughout society, business and marketing, and I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch over one more straw on a 50-story haystack.

As far as my image to others, I'd like to think the fact that I don't participate in any of those practices--even if it means two years' hiatus from writing while looking for a workable promotional system, and zero sales for a dozen perfectly good and well-received novels--counts for something. If not... c'est la vie. (Makes you wonder why I bother to write, doesn't it? Yeah, me too.)

So my opinion is, if this is what sets you off on a righteous rampage to fix the world... well, you probably haven't been paying enough attention. But either way, John Locke is one guy... he does not represent all independent artists, any more than Barry Bonds represents all baseball players. He's one bad egg in an otherwise good basket, and despite what alarmists say, his presence will not make the rest of the basket go bad. He's a blip that will fade away. Stop fanning the flames, and let it fade.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:32 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by latepaul View Post

And this has nothing to do with "changes rippling through the industry" - neither the idea of ads or reviews is new, nor sadly the idea of paid-for ads masquerading as reviews.
It has to do with the question of discoverability.
And with the value of crowd-sourced reviews, which has been up for discussion for years. Long before this new kerfufle.

Most recently:

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/20...ted-reader/%29,

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/20...ative-reviews/

Ads masquerading as reviews is hardy a new development; many magazines have for years featured marketting supplements--not always clearly identified--ad TV has long been littered with informercials. Other similar gimmicks come to mind: Tupperware "parties" etc.

Some people tend to over-value reviews and live their lives with Consumer Reports as their holy book. Others are a bit skeptical of even the most pristine of consumerist organizations.

Caveat Emptor goes back to the Romans, so skepticism when dealing with any kind of commercial advocacy/evaluation is hardly new.

What is new is that we as consumers need to learn how to evauate the variety of inputs in the (relatively) new ebook space. Cars and TV sets have been around long enough for educated consumers to have internalized a set of guidelines for navigating the product advocacy space (buzzwords, double-talk, marketting tricks, promo schemes, etc). eBooks? It's early.

To me, the main takeaway is that in addition to axe-grinding reviewers, slacktivists, clueless kneejerkers, and sock-puppets (all of which have been acknowledged as issues before this) we now have to watch out for paid shills.

In other words: this is an incremental degradation, not a sea change.
The sky isn't falling.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #79
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Sorry to throw a little shadow over your rose-colored landscape. Enjoy your stay in te 21st century.
Have you ever heard of ethics?
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:19 AM   #80
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I'm not sure what you mean, but writers are paid to write editorials. They happen to push their agenda in most cases. They are propaganda meant to sway the reader to a particular opinion. They may be paid differently and presented differently than an 'ad' but they are still meant to draw attention to a viewpoint and sell a particular idea.
I'm flabbergasted. Do you truly not see the difference between

(1) a newspaper independently deciding it supports X for certain reasons, and therefore publishing an editorial urging others to also support X, and

(2) a newspaper taking money from the Committee for X in exchange for publishing an editorial urging others to support X?

Really? It's all the same thing to you? So bribery, payola, etc.--no problem? Really?
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:27 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post
First and foremost, I am a realist. I accept that lying, cheating and stealing goes on throughout society, business and marketing, and I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch over one more straw on a 50-story haystack.
You are a realist? So am I. I am realistic enough to realise that if the ONLY valid criterion for assessing the value of Amazon books, the Amazon review system, is sabotaged, eBook buyers are likely to stop using Amazon for eBook purchases. This will affect an enormous number of new authors as Amazon is probably the most useful platform for a novice writer.

In the past, if you wanted to buy a new book, you would look at the various media reviews. We all knew that some reviewers had biases and quirks, but if they all agreed that a new author was worth a look, then generally you could rely on that. In the case of eBooks, the only reviews are semi-anonymous and aggregated. If that system accepts cheating, we have nothing to rely on.

What people like Locke are doing is destroying credibility, damaging the genuine hard earned positive reviews, tarring all with his sordid little brush. It really isn't just a matter of "Oh well, just another blip on the e-literary horizon" it is a death knell. How do you propose to overcome a system where no one trusts reviews? The integrity of the reviews system must be protected, and hopefully as it is a flaw in Amazon's business machine, they will take steps to tighten and control their review system. It has been failing for some time, this last issue has just focused some attention on the problem.


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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post
As far as my image to others, I'd like to think the fact that I don't participate in any of those practices--even if it means two years' hiatus from writing while looking for a workable promotional system, and zero sales for a dozen perfectly good and well-received novels--counts for something. If not... c'est la vie. (Makes you wonder why I bother to write, doesn't it? Yeah, me too.)
The problem is that for the last few hours you seem to be openly supporting it. It is great that you would not consider traveling down that path yourself, but it probably wouldn't hurt to distance yourself from such people - or say nothing on the matter.

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VSo my opinion is, if this is what sets you off on a righteous rampage to fix the world... well, you probably haven't been paying enough attention. But either way, John Locke is one guy... he does not represent all independent artists, any more than Barry Bonds represents all baseball players. He's one bad egg in an otherwise good basket, and despite what alarmists say, his presence will not make the rest of the basket go bad. He's a blip that will fade away. Stop fanning the flames, and let it fade.
Not me, I don't rampage. I observe and comment, but very little gets me excited - at least very little that isn't feminine and cute. (My wife is feminine and cute.)

To reiterate, it can't be brushed off as "John Locke is one guy... he does not represent all independent artists" as he is doing damage. It doesn't take much more than one guy. How many aspiring authors are right now looking for ways to buy reviews based simply on the publicity that has surrounded him in the last couple of days? "Cheat and sell a million books. Sound tempting? You can be pretty damned sure that there will be more than just a few of them stampeding down the trail that he has blazed.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:45 AM   #82
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I'm flabbergasted. Do you truly not see the difference between

(1) a newspaper independently deciding it supports X for certain reasons, and therefore publishing an editorial urging others to also support X, and

(2) a newspaper taking money from the Committee for X in exchange for publishing an editorial urging others to support X?

Really? It's all the same thing to you? So bribery, payola, etc.--no problem? Really?
I believe the newspapers these days are corrupt enough to not just SUPPORT, but post untrue propaganda to further an agenda. Let's take NBCs decision to leave out certain parts of a 911 call when reporting on that shooting case in Florida. Completely chose to leave out the fact that the guy was ASKED if the perpetrator was black. -- but happily played only the answer to make it appear as if the guy was targeting blacks.

Or how about the more recent MSNBC choosing not to air a single Black or Hispanic speaker at the GOP convention? Not a single one? Hmm. Wonder if they had an agenda there? Wonder if I should believe their "editorials" on any subject.

Rush Limbaugh? Excuse me, is there anyone left on the planet that doesn't see it as total propaganda? He is selling himself. He attempts to incite and entertain at the same time. Ted Rall? Editorials are the same thing on a different level.

I lump much of media into: Advertising. Editorials are just a slightly different form of it.

What I'm saying is I have a problem with all of it, not just the most obvious forms of bribery or payola. Misconstruing facts or leaving them out to push an agenda, whether paid for it or not (as a legal ad) doesn't sit right with me no matter who does it--authors, politicians, media, bribery, payola, etc.

I'm a suspicious sort to begin with and these days agendas aren't even disguised well.

Also note that the FCC considers reviews similar to ads--which is why review sites and bloggers are now supposed to put a disclaimer/note telling readers whether or not they received the book for free or in exchange for a review.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:08 AM   #83
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I believe the newspapers these days are corrupt enough to not just SUPPORT, but post untrue propaganda to further an agenda. Let's take NBCs decision to leave out certain parts of a 911 call when reporting on that shooting case in Florida. Completely chose to leave out the fact that the guy was ASKED if the perpetrator was black. -- but happily played only the answer to make it appear as if the guy was targeting blacks.
But you're not answering my question. I'm not talking about media bias and news judgment. I asked if you saw no difference between expressing an opinion and letting an opinion be bought.

Your examples are completely irrelevant, unless you want to tell me that some outside party PAID news organizations to act as you claim they did.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:24 AM   #84
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But either way, John Locke is one guy... he does not represent all independent artists, any more than Barry Bonds represents all baseball players. He's one bad egg in an otherwise good basket, and despite what alarmists say, his presence will not make the rest of the basket go bad. He's a blip that will fade away. Stop fanning the flames, and let it fade.
The "independent artists" are exactly the ones who should be most upset about John Locke, for making them all look bad, and instead we are getting "who cares?" Additionally, every sale he made might have taken a sale away from you or another independent author. And that's OK?
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:41 AM   #85
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But you're not answering my question. I'm not talking about media bias and news judgment. I asked if you saw no difference between expressing an opinion and letting an opinion be bought.

Your examples are completely irrelevant, unless you want to tell me that some outside party PAID news organizations to act as you claim they did.
The end result is the same if the opinion is paid for and editorials are paid media. The intent is the same. The ethics are very nearly the same although I will grant you that me going out and "buying" a review is lower on the scale since the reader has no way of distinguishing a bought review versus an unbought one. AT least with an editorial I know a guy has been hired to write an opinion. I know he has probably been selected for the job because he agrees with the stance the newspaper has or they'd hire someone else. I know that he is basically being paid to "sway" readers to a cause. In other words, I'm "informed" in that case whereas with a "bought" review, I'm very likely not informed.

But for me as a READER, I don't care about the differences. They are both forms of paid propaganda and I don't read editorials for that reason. They disgust me. I don't read paid reviews either (if I know about it.)
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:46 AM   #86
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The "independent artists" are exactly the ones who should be most upset about John Locke, for making them all look bad, and instead we are getting "who cares?" Additionally, every sale he made might have taken a sale away from you or another independent author. And that's OK?
I can't decide if I'm more upset as an author or a reader. I don't like it from either front. I do believe that shenanigans like this and authors trading for reviews when they don't actually like or read the book has hurt indie authors. I *know* the pressure is there to endorse books. I've been asked to review books that I cannot endorse/review positively and I don't do it. It puts me in a bad position, which is why I almost never accept review copies from authors I know. I've had to *not* review books because the authors are known as ones who will get their sock puppets to go throw up 18 1 star reviews onto any author who dares speak against them. And at least ONE of these "1 star trolls" is a trad author.

I'm not sure that a sale is taken away from me when a person buys a different book, but I do know that lack of quality in books (Whether trad or indie) causes people to go do other things rather than read. A string of mediocre books makes people switch up to some other entertainment.
It makes ME walk away from books for a while.

And mis-marketing books (like the books I'm currently reading was marketed and says right on it urban fantasy--it's not--it's romantic suspense.) annoys me too. And trad publishers catch me in that web all the blipping time. Hmph.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #87
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The end result is the same if the opinion is paid for and editorials are paid media. The intent is the same. The ethics are very nearly the same although I will grant you that me going out and "buying" a review is lower on the scale since the reader has no way of distinguishing a bought review versus an unbought one. AT least with an editorial I know a guy has been hired to write an opinion. I know he has probably been selected for the job because he agrees with the stance the newspaper has or they'd hire someone else. I know that he is basically being paid to "sway" readers to a cause. In other words, I'm "informed" in that case whereas with a "bought" review, I'm very likely not informed.

But for me as a READER, I don't care about the differences. They are both forms of paid propaganda and I don't read editorials for that reason. They disgust me. I don't read paid reviews either (if I know about it.)
You are missing or ignoring the fact that in one case, the writer IS TELLING THE TRUTH as he sees it. The writer believes what he is writing, he actually holds the opinion he is espousing.

In the other case, the writer is LYING. He is acting as the mouthpiece for someone else; he is a puppet for sale to the highest bidder.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #88
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The "independent artists" are exactly the ones who should be most upset about John Locke, for making them all look bad, and instead we are getting "who cares?" Additionally, every sale he made might have taken a sale away from you or another independent author. And that's OK?
If you think the response has been "who cares?" you're obviously not in touch with any independent artists, which isn't surprising considering the disdain for them you've previously expressed. Everybody finds this behavior deplorable and offensive, and you would've only needed to read the first sentence in the article that this thread got its title from found in the opening post to know that.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:57 AM   #89
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You are missing or ignoring the fact that in one case, the writer IS TELLING THE TRUTH as he sees it. The writer believes what he is writing, he actually holds the opinion he is espousing.

In the other case, the writer is LYING. He is acting as the mouthpiece for someone else; he is a puppet for sale to the highest bidder.
Not necessarily. I know a writer who wrote editorials for years (political ones). He was hired to write a POV he did not personally agree with. He is also a trad published author who did the editorials to support his financial situation because the fiction didn't sell enough.

That is exactly my point. And I was told this BY THE AUTHOR, not a third party. He blogged about it after he quit. He also wrote ghost books and often had to write POVs he did not agree with.

So in some cases, they are one and the same: Paid for work. I seriously doubt he is the only one who did it. He also wrote political speeches on a couple of occasions. Paid for work.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:59 AM   #90
HarryT
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HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.HarryT ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: UK
Device: PW2, iPad Retina Mini, iPhone 4, MS Surface Pro, Kobo H2O, N7
Question: is it wrong to pay people to write unbiased reviews of a book? (It's against Amazon's TOS, but that's a different question).
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