Paying for reviews - authors beware

I'm a bit late seeing this in the news. I did find it interesting enough that I'd like to bring it to everyone's attention, especially authors new to publishing. This is not a BDSM topic, but more a blogger beware topic.

There are blogging sites which do charge authors for a favourable review. Regardless of my opinion of this type of blogging site, I found the entire situation rather amusing.

I found this from author Shiloh Walker. In her blog, she writes about paying for reviews. It provides a couple of excellent link including to Dear Author whom many of us know. While I'm not a fan of Dear Author's BDSM book reviews and how their commentators/readers have attacked BDSM writers, I do find their articles outside of BDSM genre to be quite good.

Jane, is a lawyer in real life (Ms. Walker mentioned it). Jane's explanation of the threat of lawsuit against an author taken aback by the $95 charge is pretty awesome. See it here.

I particularly enjoy the pictures and the breakdown of 2.5 million reader numbers. While I understand the desire to make money off of something a person is passionate about, this one does leave a bad taste in my mouth. Now that I read about how some reviewing websites are able to always have 4 or 5 star books and how they go about ensuring it, I'm a bit disillusioned.

What say you?

Comments

I've always felt that there should be a distinct separation between "endorsements" and "reviews". Reviewers shouldn't charge authors for reviews because that damages the reviewers credibility. How do you promise a "positive" review? For reviewers who want to generate revenue off of their endeavors, the appropriate route is to sell advertising space. The reviews are the draw and advertising will generate some revenue.

I also do not have a problem with endorsements. Should a reviewer wish to accept payment for an "endorsement" rather than a review, the reviewer's reputation is on line. Endorse a crappy story, and people will stop coming to your site to read your reviews. But as long as you specify that your write up is an endorsement, rather than a review, I think you can avoid some of the ethical complications that come from accepting payment.
Not happy with the comment security. It wiped my entire comment on when I couldn't read the bloody number. So here we go again. This will be brief at least.

I don't have a problem with reviewers accepting payment provided that there is a distinction, easily recognizable by readers, between a "review" and an "endorsement." For a reviewer to be honest, the review must be free of monetary compensation. However, an endorsement is acceptable because the reviewer places their reputation on the line. I wouldn't endorse something unless I truly believed it to be exceptional. And I would make bloody sure that I labeled such commentary as an endorsement.

Revenue generated from review sites should come from advertisements. One site I know of sells book cover space on their sidebar, regardless of the review. I personally will consider endorsements for a small fee on my review site, but haven't done any. I've only had two requests and both of the books submitted to me weren't up to my standards for endorsement. It's a tough call but I think honesty and integrity are the most import things to consider.
Hi Michael, sorry about that! I changed it because it wasn't clear that comments were waiting on me to release them.

I took it away. Thanks for your viewpoint on this. I agree that honesty and integrity are the most important things to consider.

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