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

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Sharon Reamer1 February, 2016

    Love the typo in the last sentence. 🙂

    1. Nate Hoffelder1 February, 2016

      I don’t like typos, but LOL that was funny.

  2. Catherine M. Wilson1 February, 2016

    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.

    1. Nate Hoffelder2 February, 2016

      I’d say the fact they log those ratings are the bigger issue. Tweets aren’t as easy to find.

  3. Catherine M. Wilson2 February, 2016

    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. Catherine M. Wilson2 February, 2016

    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.

    1. Nate Hoffelder2 February, 2016

      I wish they’d take all the book ratings down, and let everyone try again.

      1. Karl Coyne11 March, 2019

        Hi Nate. can you kindly contact me as this article was right on target.

  5. […] die Zahl, desto “verdächtiger” das Bewertungsprofil. Im Buchbereich soll der Algorithmus, dessen Variablen Fakespot geheim hält, allerdings noch extrem […]

  6. Robby6 October, 2016

    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.

  7. Jerry Roper20 February, 2018

    I have 100% accurate reviews and an excellent product.
    They just gave me an F rating. What is up with these guys. It is time to sue!

  8. […] je größer die Zahl, desto “verdächtiger” das Bewertungsprofil. Im Buchbereich soll der Algorithmus, dessen Variablen Fakespot geheim hält, allerdings noch extrem unzuverlässig […]

  9. Karl Coyne11 March, 2019

    Fakespot gets Fakespotted at their own…
    Fakespot gets Fakespotted at their own game and gets an F from my side. At first glance, the company seems like it has all sorts of great reviews when you visit their site until the research is done. Fakespot clearly controls the reviews that post on their site, somewhat hypocritical in ways. If you scroll this site, you will see the reality with both good and bad rather than biased one-sided reviews. I have solid evidence that Fakespot software has very serious flaws as will be explained. All comments that are to follow have been documented in both a written manner as well as multiple photographs. So let’s get started with this. Firstly, I’m a book author that uses Amazon as most people in this day and age. I have had positive reviews for 3 straight years with reviews coming all over the world from reputable sources. I put a lot of hard work and research into my books and the reviews reflect that, well at least for everyone except Fakespot. Well, due to the fact that my books have great reviews with readers expressing kindness and emotion that these books exist and bring back historical memories, Fakespots system wrongfully perceives this as fake. I have documented this from day one and will pursue this to the utmost. This is only the beginning. Next to show that Fakespots software is definitely flawed will be proven again. Back in 2018, Amazon had technical issues whereby my books were getting somewhat mixed up with another product that had nothing to do with my books. To be precise mousetraps. So not only were my books showing mousetraps but there was a combination of reviews for books and mousetraps. Unfortunately, Fakespot didn’t pick this up thereby damaging my flawless 5-star reputation. I have taken photographs of this matter and it eventually will be presented for legal action so there will be no way Fakespot will sneak out of this matter. Granted I’m aware that there is some mischief on Amazon with some companies using fake reviews, but the fact that Fakespot has tried to take this approach with legitimate people is crossing the barrier. In my case, all customers that left reviews have gotten actual physical copies of the book which will be proven in a court of law when the shipping labels and tracking is provided once again showing the inaccuracy of this software. The company seems to keep their contact information very limited and at the moment it appears there is some small office in downtown Manhattan in the Wall Street area based on the information I found on Google. I will be adding a link soon for those that feel their rights and legal integrity has been broken by this company.


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