Is It Ethical to Charge $5 to Post a 5-Star Review on Amazon?

Laura Shin
Posted

5 in coinsWe’re all for people getting creative with making money, but this pushes it.

On odd-jobs site Fiverr, where people can make $5 for small services, a number of people are offering to write rave five-star Amazon reviews for $5.

Is it ethical for people to make money this way, and for authors to hire such people?

How Fake Reviewers Make Real Cash

A typical offer such as this one by thesporklover reads “I will give a 5 star AMAZON review on your book or product and promote you to 3000 of my facebook friends and 2000 twitter followers for $5.”

One fake Amazon reviewer, Tierney211, who has hundreds of positive Fiverr ratings, posted a recent ad for services in the Kindle bookstore:

Tierney211's fiverr profile

Authors who used Tierney211′s service wrote comments such as “Excellent work! Thanks again from a repeat customer!” and “The gold standard for Fiverr! Always delivers a great gig!” demonstrating that some writers are using such services multiple times.

As you can see, there’s a lot more where these came from.

Five-star reviews are only the beginning. An ambitious (dare we say greedy?) author can also pay someone to push a negative review down (or off) the page, “like” their Kindle ebook to push it higher in the rankings and slot a book in at #1 on a Listmania list.

It’s even gotten to the point where authors can specify the name and gender of the fake reviewer and even write the review themselves.

Swindling Us Out of Our Hard-Earned Money

This trend certainly reverses the notion of throwing good money after bad: Authors bribe others to get us to spend our honest earnings.

Will you trust Amazon reviews now that you see that they can be bought? Is it ethical for people to make money by posting such reviews? Do you think the free-market economy makes it okay for authors to pay for good reviews or does this cross the line?

More From LearnVest

There are other tricks businesses use to get us to spend. Learn to avoid them.
Want to make a lot more than $5? Try one of the ten fastest-growing jobs.
And don’t forget to negotiate your salary with these must-know tips.

  • http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/ Michelle

    And that’s why I hardly ever believe reviews

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/75E2FPXKVTPZKECAQLMALUCACY KatherineP

    Trust no one! If my family and friends have bought a product and vouch for it as being good, then OK, but people over the internet never again.

    • Berne

      I agree. But I’m hoping that “tripadvisor” does a better job of sorting out fake reviews. I’ve had good luck relying on their views and wonder how others feel. Thanks!