In Brief

To what extent can online book reviews be trusted and what can authors do in the face of 'attack reviews'?

Online book reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads have an immense power over the sales of newly published work, but how trustworthy are reviews?

A new book about Michael Jackson shows the strength of fan groups and how online reviews can be ‘gamed’ to read a certain way. Michael Jackson’s Rapid Response Team To Media Attacks is a Facebook and Twitter group that leveraged their social networks to ask other fans to write negative reviews of the new book ‘Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson’ by Randall Sullivan. Fans were infuriated by the way he discussed what plastic surgery did to MJ’s nose and the author’s assertion that he died a virgin.

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