The cost of doing (shady) business

To buy or not to buy? Another thoughtful post from Kevin Brennan.

Posted in Uncategorized.


  1. These types of schemes have been around for a long time and it is dishonest, thievery and unethical. Unfortunately, even some major corporations and major search engines get involved with allowing (not preventing) bad review extraction from the web or punishment for honest reviews. One of the greatest examples of this is the recent need for US senators to review the lawsuits against customers for a bad review! This is totally unacceptable and affects all commerce.

    • Lawsuits against customers? Wow! Don’t think that’s happened over here yet. But maybe it’ll come… And you’re quite right, a review for $5 is no doubt a scam and therefore doubly unethical.

  2. I have a hard time figuring how they manage this. Five dollars a review makes me think of Fiver, but obviously they aren’t paying 50 people five bucks per review, or they wouldn’t be making any money. Maybe they generate the reviews using some sort of cut-and-paste sort of program, though I think this would be stunningly transparent, especially to the folks at Amazon.

    As far as ethics go, I have no problem, obviously, with giving eBooks to potential readers in the hope of getting a review. (Note: I don’t say in exchange for a review. I always tell potential readers, if they feel inspired to write a review, it would be very much appreciated, something like that. I’m sure some reviewers feel a sense of obligation, but I make a point of not using that kind of language.) Anything beyond that feels a little over the line. I don’t have a particular problem with Kirkus (other than the exorbitant reading fee) because I think most people who’d care already know the rules. As far as the scheme you’ve listed, it seems entirely shady and I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pencil.

  3. I don’t know much about Kirkus, but they seem like the upmarket niche of a whole range of similar deals, many of them scams. The difficulty being to know where to draw the line. What would be the criteria for saying that Kirkus is acceptable while others are not? The ‘honesty’ of the review? It’s all very murky. And much as we may appreciate Amazon, this is a perverse side effect of their might.

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