Fakespot Responds to Complaints Over Book Review Ratings, Promises Changes

6338272090_60a8ae253c_bIf there's one thing we've learned in the week since I first reported on Fakespot's system for analyzing Amazon reviews, it's that Fakespot's algorithms completely miffed on book reviews.

Numerous authors have complained both in the comments here and over on The Passive Voice that their books were being given erroneous ratings. They've been responding with damning critiques like "I tested one of my books & it came back 73% fake, which is ridiculous" and "I tried it on books that I know have 100% authentic reviews, and it was wrong every time".

Clearly this system doesn't work for book reviews, and that is something that even Fakespot will concede. I have exchanged a few emails with the Fakespot team over the past week, and they told me that they are aware of the issue with book reviews.

"Fakespot initially was not designed or intended for book reviews. Book reviews by their nature are an extremely different case when compared to other categories of products, which consist of the majority of what Fakespot users would input (electronics, groceries, etc)," the spokesperson told me by email, before adding "However, our analysis system is currently undergoing a revamp and accurate measurements of book reviews will be available."

My contact informed me that Fakespot has released a beta version of its algorithms which is intended to fix the issue with erroneous book review ratings.

And I think I can confirm that announcement. The books I am checking for the first time are showing a much lower score. The books are now being identified as books rather than products of a company, and Fakespot is identifying fewer reviews as potentially fake.

Looking for Alaska, for example, scored 0%, and so did Will Grayson Will Grayson and The Beginning of Everything.

It's hard to say whether that is going to fix the problem, because the existing ratings aren't being replaced. To name one example, Girl on the Train scored 28% and %50 for the Kindle edition and hardback, respectively, and with tens of thousands of reviews for each edition that is clearly inaccurate.

I'm told that authors can request a reanalysis/investigation on any of the books rated, but it won't happen automatically. So if you've already checked your book in Fakespot and think it got a bum rap, contact Fakespot and ask them to fix it.

image by Ionics

About Nate Hoffelder (11466 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

8 Comments on Fakespot Responds to Complaints Over Book Review Ratings, Promises Changes

  1. Love the typo in the last sentence. 🙂

  2. And here’s a warning for authors. When you put your books into fakespot, they tweet the results of every query. So all the world will know that fakespot thinks your reviews are bogus. I discovered this by searching on my titles on twitter. I didn’t appreciate the over 200 reviews they thought were bogus. I REALLY didn’t appreciate it that they trumpeted their false results to the world.

  3. Thanks for that info, Nate. I just discovered that yesterday. I have emailed fakespot that I don’t appreciate their branding me a fake and a cheater to all their followers. That got me a note asking for the links to my books so they can ‘reevaluate’ them. Um, no. But I do want my books out of their database. If anyone has any success with these folks, please leave comments here for the rest of us.

  4. Update: after an email correspondence with Alex at fakespot, my books have been reanalyzed and now have a less than 1% fake rating (down from over 23% from the first attempt.) So it may be time to try again.

  5. I am not an author btw, but it is impossible for book reviews to be meaningful because it is all down to individual tastes and what one person hates another will love and another will not notice. So i don’t think it is right for fakespot to analyse reviews on books, as they are done to personal views not true quality.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Woran du Fake-Rezensionen erkennst (und woran nicht) » lesen.net

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.