Best selling author caught faking Amazon reviews

59 replies
Crime writer RJ Ellory was caught red-handed faking his own glowing reviews while slagging competitors under alternate identities.

Crime Writer RJ Ellory Caught Faking Amazon Reviews - ABC News

The article is funny and informative and has some nice mud-slinging...

Jeremy Dunns is a writer who exposed Ellory's behavior:

"Ellory writes 5-star reviews of his own work on Amazon. Long, purple tributes to his own magnificent genius," Duns tweeted. "RJ Ellory also writes shoddy, sh***y sniping reviews of others authors' work on Amazon, under an assumed identity."

Duns also tweeted images of the times that Ellory appeared to forget which account he was signed into. There were written responses from the pseudonyms that were signed from "Roger."

LOL


Mahlon
#amazon #author #caught #faking #reviews #selling
  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    There are many people doing that. Too bad for him, he got caught...
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  • Profile picture of the author ColinR
    That's karma for you, I'm glad he was caught. People who try to sabotage their competition are pathetic.
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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      Perfect example of the old adage "Cheaters never win and winners never cheat!"

      He's a loser...

      Terra
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      • Originally Posted by MissTerraK View Post

        Perfect example of the old adage "Cheaters never win and winners never cheat!"

        He's a loser...

        Terra
        Cheaters never win is NOT TRUE, cheaters do win millions of them! Few cheaters don't win is TRUE.

        I don't like to cheat, but I know tons of cheaters who make millions and think those of use who don't cheat are stupid.
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        • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
          Originally Posted by HelpingYouBeAnExpert View Post

          Cheaters never win is NOT TRUE, cheaters do win millions of them! Few cheaters don't win is TRUE.

          I don't like to cheat, but I know tons of cheaters who make millions and think those of use who don't cheat are stupid.
          Hey, don't shoot the messenger! I'm not the author of that quote.

          Okay, so some cheaters may win today and tomorrow, but they won't be winners for all of eternity if you get my drift.

          Terra
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    • Profile picture of the author andrewkar
      Originally Posted by ColinR View Post

      That's karma for you, I'm glad he was caught. People who try to sabotage their competition are pathetic.
      you are kidding right?

      You have to sabotage your competition each time you have possibility. It's part of this job, to look for their weaknesses and exploit them as much as possible.

      True, his fake reviews are pathetic...

      But this whole marketing thing is like one BIG sabotage. Look at principles of Guerrilla warfare... ambushes, raids and sabotage... ahh, San Tzu knows what I mean
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      Do what you want to do!
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      • Profile picture of the author ExRat
        Hi andrewkar,

        Originally Posted by andrewkar View Post

        You have to sabotage your competition each time you have possibility.
        Interesting point of view.

        BTW, all of your sites just went down.

        Why not sabotage the competition by focusing your resources on dominating the market with your own sheer brilliance?
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        Roger Davis

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        • Profile picture of the author andrewkar
          Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

          Hi andrewkar,



          Interesting point of view.

          BTW, all of your sites just went down.

          Why not sabotage the competition by focusing your resources on dominating the market with your own sheer brilliance?
          Hi ExRat,

          I know what you mean. But...

          Part of my "brilliance" tells me to look for weak points in competitor marketing...

          Whatever we are selling products or doing SEO, marketplace is a battlefield and we are not alone over there.

          When I say "Sabotage" I mean ONLY ethical stuff.
          Of course, what is ethical for you, doesn't have to be ethical for me (and that's probably the biggest problem with ethics in business).

          But I'm sure we all agree that FAKE testimonials, claims and reviews are unethical.

          (Well, actually I'm not sure everyone here will agree with that in regards to Claims --> WSO Forum, Clickbank, etc... Disclaimers? Simple way to make BS claims. But people use them because they want to be "Ethical" right? That's pathetic...)

          Anyway. Let's say someone told you that your competitor is going to make a deal with one huge Web design company.

          Deal is worth $5.000.000.

          If you get it, your family will be secured for life.

          You know this Web design company and you know that you to are able to prepare nice deal for them.

          So, you go and look for weak points in your competitor offer. You look into every area of his business to find where you can kick his ass. You want to hit him right into the weakest point, giving no chances for recovery.

          You want it or not, if you about to make that deal you will have to use this information to get advantage.

          You will contact SEO of this company and tell him why you are better than your competitor. And you will point out all that weak points your competitor have, making sure YOUR offer in those exact points is stronger and better (and a lot of other things!)

          If you do this right, you will get $5.000.000 deal... unfortunately your competitor will get nothing.

          Is this ethical or not?

          Maybe it's a little exaggerated example, but I hope you guys get my point.
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      • Profile picture of the author YoungAndOpulent
        Banned
        Originally Posted by andrewkar View Post

        you are kidding right?

        You have to sabotage your competition each time you have possibility. It's part of this job, to look for their weaknesses and exploit them as much as possible.

        True, his fake reviews are pathetic...

        But this whole marketing thing is like one BIG sabotage. Look at principles of Guerrilla warfare... ambushes, raids and sabotage... ahh, San Tzu knows what I mean
        Yeah, some people on here try too hard to make it sound as if they have the highest moral standards.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by YoungAndOpulent View Post

          Yeah, some people on here try too hard to make it sound as if they have the highest moral standards.
          ... and some don't have to work hard at all to prove that they have NO moral standard at all
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          • Profile picture of the author YoungAndOpulent
            Banned
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            ... and some don't have to work hard at all to prove that they have NO moral standard at all
            I don't know how you figure I have NO moral standards by me pointing out that some people try to hard to give the impression. You don't see me selling anything on here or offering any services, do you? I guess I must have struck a nerve with you. Did you read my words and feel that I was talking to you? Guilty conscience? Thanks for telling on yourself. As the old saying goes, "a hit dog will holler."
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            • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
              I am an avid reader and this is exactly why I don't read Amazon reviews before I read a book. I just don't trust them and who knows if they are real or not.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
        Originally Posted by JackTheFrost View Post

        If you look closely at a lot of the reviews for books on amazon you will see that they are faked.
        If they have 1 million 5 stars and 2 million generic comments saying: WOW! and That's Cool Then It's probably faked.

        I always look at the 1 star comments first , they usually give you the real deal.
        Except when those 1-star comments are written by the compettion. Which is what the OP was about.


        Originally Posted by revolution109 View Post

        A large majority of businesses resort to guerrila marketing tactics. He just got caught!
        What he did was NOT guerilla marketing. I would humbly suggest that you familiarize yourself with what that term really means.

        All the best,
        Michael
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      • Profile picture of the author Marakatapolis
        Originally Posted by andrewkar View Post

        you are kidding right?

        You have to sabotage your competition each time you have possibility. It's part of this job, to look for their weaknesses and exploit them as much as possible.

        True, his fake reviews are pathetic...

        But this whole marketing thing is like one BIG sabotage. Look at principles of Guerrilla warfare... ambushes, raids and sabotage... ahh, San Tzu knows what I mean
        I recommend Sun Tzu's Art of War for Business, and the works of Niccolo Machiavelli.
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  • Profile picture of the author yourreviewer
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    • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
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      • Tim Ferriss put up a contest for purchasers/reviewers of his 4 Hour Body book. The original contest page has been deleted (gee, wonder why...) but here's an excerpt:

        "If you want to go for the gold, get amped and promote The 4-Hour Body this week (deadline is 12 midnight PST, Friday) and tell me what you did in the comments. Measure your impact (clicks, sales, etc.) whenever possible.

        If you are the best promoter, judged by me and a panel of friends, you get to pick one trip of a lifetime... for free. I will almost definitely be in attendance:

        8-Day Argentina Snow Adventure in Patagonia
        10-Day Private Tour of India, including Miss India

        How to promote? That's up to you. E-mail your friends, share links (like The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss - Official Site) on Facebook, join relevant LinkedIn groups, give a copy to a popular radio station as a giveaway... it's entirely up to you!"

        Or, leave a review on Amazon.

        More information here:

        Tim Ferriss & A New Era Of Astro-turfing? | Outspoken Media

        Including...

        The promotional campaign doled out an astounding $4,000,000 worth of once-in-a-lifetime prizes in just 48 hours.

        fLufF
        --
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    There's a crime story for you. Seems like writing about crime wasn't enough.
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  • Pretty much the 'negative SEO' of the Kindle world. I really hate these type of people and hope that all their books are banned from being published again on the Amazon platform as well has being 'blacklisted' on other digital distribution sites.

    Attempting to gain your own fake reviews is bad enough, but adding negative reviews to the competition is really low and deserves the maximum punishment.

    Chow chow,
    Kevin
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
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      • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
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          • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              Trolling for reviews may not be unusual these days - trying to post your own reviews about how great your product/book is would be the next step.

              When you post negative reviews about competing products to damage their sales - you go into the realm of scumbag in my book.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gladiator
    I'm becoming allergic (lol) to Reviews and Testimonials especially in the IM world!
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    This is almost the same discussion as buying likes and followers, isn't it?
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I'm glad he got caught. Writing great reviews for himself ... well, I'll bet that goes on a lot on Amazon, but bashing other writers was the real crime. Shame on him.
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  • Profile picture of the author Haroon Ballim
    If this is true how will he be penalized if at all . Will Amazon stop selling his products or will he just continue under a pen name.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

    Crime writer RJ Ellory was caught red-handed faking his own glowing reviews while slagging competitors under alternate identities.

    Crime Writer RJ Ellory Caught Faking Amazon Reviews - ABC News

    The article is funny and informative and has some nice mud-slinging...
    Indeed ... :rolleyes: :p

    Funnily enough, I heard of this writer for the first time only a couple of hours ago (sitting in a waiting-room: the person directly opposite me was reading one of his books!).
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Harris
    Serve him right..

    Problem is "any publicity is good publicity"

    So it maybe helpful to his book sales..
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
    Any online environment where reviews can be left freely can lead to abuses like this.

    You see this a lot with the business reviews on Google Places/Local...I once did consulting work for a restaurant trying to upgrade its image and I noticed that variations of the same negative reviews would show up for all of the same restaurant types within close proximity.

    It's hard to control so you really have to do some detective work to stay on top of it!
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  • Profile picture of the author marketingva
    John Locke bought paid fake reviews from that company that was all over the news last week. I found out after I bought his e-book about how he sold so many books. Guess I don't have to finish it now.

    Bonnie
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    How many of us fall for that temptation of short-cutting
    success--taking the easy way out?

    It's just hard to see people who are already so successful
    messing up their names with such dishonest tricks.

    The Good Book says that those who love money will
    not be satisfied with money. Human nature I guess.

    Soon we'll have to demand reviews of the reviews.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Dariuszden
    That's some blackhat strategies right there!
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    If any serious affiliates are looking for a new income stream PM me.

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    • Profile picture of the author capitalalchemy
      This reply contains stunning use of the language, philosophical readiness, and attention grabbing details that could come from none other than Capital Alchemy himself! His ability to weave magic from words that keep the reader up at night, turning over the meaning of such powerfully articulate writing, is truly awe inspiring.

      - Capital Alchemy (whoops).
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  • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
    Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

    Crime writer RJ Ellory
    Oh, the irony!
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    • Profile picture of the author Cee
      It makes you wonder how he can write crime novels when he can't even cover his own tracks. :p
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      • Profile picture of the author MattStevens
        Originally Posted by Cee View Post

        It makes you wonder how he can write crime novels when he can't even cover his own tracks. :p
        This is the funniest thing I've read all night!!!
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      • Profile picture of the author Green Moon
        Originally Posted by Cee View Post

        It makes you wonder how he can write crime novels when he can't even cover his own tracks. :p
        That was my second thought (after first thinking "What a scumbag").
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  • Profile picture of the author JackTheFrost
    If you look closely at a lot of the reviews for books on amazon you will see that they are faked.
    If they have 1 million 5 stars and 2 million generic comments saying: WOW! and That's Cool Then It's probably faked.

    I always look at the 1 star comments first , they usually give you the real deal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I hope nobody does a similar thing of "faking the testimonials". Somebody will crack down on you.
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  • Profile picture of the author ankur sharma
    I know for fact this thing runs a lot on amazon. I think it was his bad luck he got caught. But still crime is crime.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prosper2day
    Hey Man you got caught with your hand up to the elbow in the cookie jar!
    Sucks 2 be U
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  • Profile picture of the author YoungAndOpulent
    Banned
    I heard it said a few years ago that the majority of reviews on Amazon are of this type. So this comes as no surprise.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony Humble
    Banned
    Wow.. if you're going to leave fake reviews, at least make sure you're signed into the right account.. I don't feel bad for this con artist.
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  • Profile picture of the author revolution109
    A large majority of businesses resort to guerrila marketing tactics. He just got caught!
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelplies
    lol. but there are some communities between writers directly on amazon that is called something like review for review or something. don't have to do it yourself )
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Carlson
    That is why we see so many generic reviews on Amazon.I am not saying that all the authors there are doing this but many of them certainly do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Auggie Tsai
    A valuable lesson and reminder for all of us to be as honest and legitimate as possible when running our business. Pretty simple concept for most people.
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  • Profile picture of the author danr62
    That sounds a bit like some people on this forum who use multiple accounts to try to bump up the views on their threads.

    Oops, I accidentally replied to myself with the wrong account, hurry, hit the edit button before anyone notices...
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  • Profile picture of the author eb219
    Now that he's infamous, he's got to write a second crime novel ... a few liner notes ... "Deep in the heart of the Amazon ... an author of crime sets a diabolical trap ... his unsuspecting victims, like helpless moths to a flame, NO!! ... like a quicksand of the mind they enter his review lagoon ... with dark temptations of sinister greed, uncontrollably snatching his victims eyes ... oh the humanity ... how heinous ... whatever will become of them? How will they make it out? READ ON!!! ..."
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  • Profile picture of the author easternodyssey
    Hahahhah, its quite funny because most people who dont know anything about SEO or web marketing do not spot these type of things. However, the more i spend on the SEO and web marketing game the more i learn that practicly everything is fake on the web.
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  • Profile picture of the author cj20032005
    I recently read about another man doing the same thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author TiffanyLambert
    I never understood this kind of behavior - not with minisite "testimonials" and not with Amazon, either. I would always launch products with zero testimonials and just wait for real ones to come in rather than make them up using some istockphoto image of the testimonials giver.

    For this guy, who apparently had some talent writing, it's even a million times worse. Completely pathetic that he had to fake reviews and worse - bash competitors. I will never understand people like this.
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  • Profile picture of the author GetShorty
    This type of activity must go on all the time at Amazon. Especially when you notice expensive products where most of the reviewers have only reviewed that one item and nothing else.
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  • Profile picture of the author loveallofya
    Hah, it at least tell us reviews are not always reliable.
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  • Profile picture of the author getprofits
    Outstanding products should have reviews take care of themselves.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by JackTheFrost View Post

      If you look closely at a lot of the reviews for books on amazon you will see that they are faked.
      If they have 1 million 5 stars and 2 million generic comments saying: WOW! and That's Cool Then It's probably faked.

      I always look at the 1 star comments first , they usually give you the real deal.
      I'd guess there are about as many fake 1-star reviews as fake 5-star reviews. The guy this thread is about was doing both. I suspect that's not all that unusual.

      Originally Posted by YoungAndOpulent View Post

      Yeah, some people on here try too hard to make it sound as if they have the highest moral standards.
      Some people don't have to "try" to sound as if they have high moral standards, because they DO have high moral standards ... and so, it comes out naturally.
      Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author XYZcontent
    This is somewhat morally deprevating, it's not the right thing to do, although I feel pretty confident stating that he isn't the only one doing so, I'm sure there are quite a few of his kind out there.
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    • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
      Originally Posted by XYZcontent View Post

      This is somewhat morally deprevating, it's not the right thing to do, although I feel pretty confident stating that he isn't the only one doing so, I'm sure there are quite a few of his kind out there.
      A "few" lol.

      I'll be honest maybe I'm just a negative person. But I can't remember the last time I read a review ANYWHERE online, & didn't think it was bs. There is always that voice in the back of my head that screams "BS!" when I read reviews.

      Maybe thats just me. But I think a lot more than a "few" are using them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Weedy92
    This looks good, will read it later when I have more time on my hands! Thanks for the share.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ali Rangwala
    He can't be much of a crime writer if he got caught, lol, Arthur Conan Doyle would have gotten away with it!

    But then again ACD was actually a good writer, so he wouldn't have had any inducement to be tempted to resort to such shenanigans.
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