What is “Swarming” in Book Terms?

This article infuriates me. I have seen a few such comments on my own books. I have personally known of those who upped their ratings with positive reviews from friends and family and who have “attacked” other writers with the help of those same family and friends. Tell me what you think.

This article comes the January 20, 2013 edition of the The New York Times. To read the complete article, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/business/a-casualty-on-the-battlefield-of-amazons-partisan-book-reviews.html?_r=0

Reviews on Amazon are becoming attack weapons, intended to sink new books as soon as they are published.

Randall Sullivan is the author of “Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson.”

In the book Randall Sullivan writes that Michael Jackson’s overuse of plastic surgery reduced his nose to little more than a pair of nostrils and that he died a virgin despite being married twice.

In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon’s briefly removing the book from sale.

“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed — and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”

About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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6 Responses to What is “Swarming” in Book Terms?

  1. Gerri Bowen says:

    Not nice, Regina.

  2. Mary Roya says:

    It is a shame on the human race that some have been so petty. The reviews and stars should be used as intended, for an honest review. This thing is being done to Charlane Harris’s last Sookie book. Someone didn’t like the ending so they have been trashing it. Shame, shame on them. I was pleased that so many came to Ms. Harris’ defense.

    • Mary, I can tolerate someone not liking one of my books. Everyone’s taste cannot be the same, but this practice is disheartening because publishers often use such comments in their evaluations on whether to extend another contract.

  3. carolcork says:

    Regina, as a reviewer, I think this practice is reprehensible, especially if publishers are being influenced by such reviews. If I’m considering purchasing a book, I generally rely on reviews posted by friends on Goodreads who I know and trust,

    • It is amazing, Carol, that Amazon has removed the reviews of known authors, but they permit this practice to continue. I have reviews, which do not even speak to the books. As an author, I am also a reader. I have some six hundred books I have read and listed on Goodreads. I have always devoured books.
      I believe this practice first began with a few well meaning friends and families, but it has grown to outrageous proportions. It makes the idea of paying for positive reviews less distasteful. Authors sometimes feel they must “balance” the scales.

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