There is actually an easy fix to this scam. Something that Amazon has missed completely: average number of reviews over sales. My own book was downloaded over 5000 times in a three month period, which netted me 15 reviews. That’s about 3 reviews per 1000 downloads. I imagine other products are similar, but the true statistics only Amazon knows. Some of Dagny Taggart’s books received ten reviews on the very first day of publication. This past week, another scammer’s book has received over 100 reviews (and counting). Could it be that they each had thousands of downloads on the very first day of publication, or during this past week? No, of course not. They paid professional reviews to astroturf.
Not only does /u/goans314 highlight a problem, they also propose a solution. A rather elegant one, at that. Sure, there’s still room for error,1 but with Amazon’s resources it’s doable.
- They acknowledge it with the idea that the ‘astroturfing yourself’ folk could move to astroturfing their competitors to get them banned, but then point out that an appeals process could be implemented. ↩