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Spot Fake Kindle Reviews With FakeSpot

16836447092_d82feb2bb7_hAmazon has taken many steps to clean up its review section, including suing sellers of fake reviews and forbidding any relationship between author and reviewer, but sometimes that’s just not enough.

Sometimes you can’t trust the mass of four and five star ratings, and that is where Fakespot comes in. This website (there’s also a Chrome extension) hoovers up the reviews for a given product, crunches some algorithms, and gives you an estimate of the number of questionable reviews.

All you have to do is copy and paste a link to learn that, for example, around one in four reviews for The Girl on the Train were suspect:

fakespot

Fakespot is less than specific on what makes for a questionable review, but according to Cnet the reviews were flagged because the reviewers write only overwhelmingly positive reviews, reviewed products without purchasing them, or were determined to have written other reviews about the same company.

I’m not sure how good that criteria is when it comes to book reviews, given that the "company" for Kindle ebooks is the Kindle Store. (Fakespot is going to have to fix that.) But then again, this tool was built to find reviews in any part of Amazon, and not just the book section,

And there are Kindle ebooks with good ratings (The Martian scored 6.7%). But in any case this, Fakespot is not intended to replace your judgement; it’s up to you to decide which reviews can be trusted.

The Girl on the Train, for example, has over 27,000 reviews and it is highly unlikely that the publisher faked a quarter of the reviews.

Fakespot currently supports Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.com.au.

Cnet

Thanks, Fbone, for the tip!

image by GotCredit

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Comments


cksyme 26 January, 2016 um 8:54 am

"Fakespot is less than specific on what makes for a questionable review, but according to Cnet the reviews were flagged because the reviewers write only overwhelmingly positive reviews, reviewed products without purchasing them, or were determined to have written other reviews about the same company." This, unfortunately, sounds like advance review team behavior. Food for thought.


Spot Fake Kindle Reviews With FakeSpot | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing 26 January, 2016 um 10:00 am

[…] Link to the rest at The Digital Reader […]


Hannah Methwell 26 January, 2016 um 10:44 am

I personally have my doubts…I ran three of my books through it, one 0% fakes, another (same reviewers…I have few fans but they’re hardcore) came out as 25% fake, and my only poor reviews came out as 100% fake. Now since I KNOW I’ve never paid for a review and I don’t do ARCs….?

Nate Hoffelder 26 January, 2016 um 10:51 am

That’s a problem, yes, and you’re not the only one to be dinged in error.

I dug around the website and found Fakespot’s list of the biggest fakers. One was a cable from AmazonBasics (Amazon’s own brand). Amazon isn’t going to post fake reviews, so they’re obviously legit and thus Fakespot is throwing false positive flags.


Susan May 26 January, 2016 um 11:17 am

I tested one of my books & it came back 73% fake which is ridiculous. It’s main reason being that many of the reviewers had a history of not purchasing their books from Amazon. Since half my sales come from Kindle Reads which don’t show up as a verified purchase (which I’ve complained to Amazon about-more authors should complain), it’s hardly accurate. Then it called my book a suspect product. I hope the site fades away quickly. Can’t see the point of it. If a customers not happy they can return a product. Thumbs down on Fakespot. Seems pretty useless.


Catherine M. Wilson 26 January, 2016 um 5:48 pm

"flagged because the reviewers write only overwhelmingly positive reviews"

Because I don’t want to attract revenge reviews, I will not post a negative review. Does that make my positive reviews fake?

"reviewed products without purchasing them"

Presumably they mean "without purchasing them from Amazon." I am not exclusive to Amazon, yet I encourage my fans to post an Amazon review, for obvious reasons.

I am VERY disappointed in these criteria, because like most indies, I want the review process to be fair and transparent. We need something like Fakespot, but this attempt isn’t it! Instead, it looks like it is going to punish us.

One of my books showed 25% fake reviews. I have NEVER paid for a review. I have given away ONE (1) audio book for review and ONE (1) set of paperbacks (to the Historical Novel Society, a legitimate reviewer). Other than that, I have NEVER sent ARCs or ebooks to reviewers, because my first book is permafree, so there really is no need to do that.

I knew ONE (1) of my reviewers personally before she posted her review, and with over 900 reviews of that book, I doubt she skewed my rating much. I have met maybe ten of my reviewers at book events, but only AFTER they posted their reviews.

Something I noticed during the analysis–they seem to be downgrading the reviews of anyone who uses the same words or phrases in their reviews, or who uploads many reviews on the same date. I can think of innocent reasons for doing both those things.

No one profits from my books but me, so I doubt there are a couple hundred reviewers out there who posted fake positive reviews out of the kindness of their hearts to help my writing career.

Nate Hoffelder 26 January, 2016 um 6:20 pm

Yep.

I’m reading a lot of similar criticism over at The Passive Voice. This site clearly doesn’t work for books.


Rosalind James 26 January, 2016 um 7:31 pm

I ran through three of my books with the same 4.7-star review average, published at various times over the past 3 years, and each with 130+ reviews. "Suspect" count ranged from 0% to a whopping 71%. I’ve never bought a review. I had ARCs on one of those books only (the 71% one), but a book with no ARCs still scored 58% "suspect." One issue is that the site appears to flag non-verified-purchases as suspect. Since a borrow with KU isn’t a "verified purchase," this is going to throw up a lot of false positives.

I’d say the methodology is flawed when it comes to book reviews.


M.J. Rose 27 January, 2016 um 8:20 am

I found this tool to be useless. I tried it on books that i know have 100% authentic reviews and it was wrong every time. Some authors get a lot of positive short reviews – they’re just lucky that way!


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Tara 30 June, 2016 um 10:52 am

Fakespot is an Amazon affiliate. As soon as analysis is finished you will get a an affiliate link to the product they analyzed. If you buy it they get a commission. That’s fine except they don’t disclose this information as per the FTC and Amazon associates tos. If they did people would not be so inclined to believe the effectiveness of this tool.


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