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Fake Reviews: Hacker Hunter by Christopher Keenan


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Initial post: Nov 29, 2011 7:02:15 AM PST
P. A. Berg says:
The 250+ reviews on this god-awful book are so obviously fake and planted. Why does Amazon let this happen?

Almost every single review is 5 star, almost every one by some generic "John Smith" type name, under a profile just created, writing about stuff that really doesn't even make sense.

Even the 1 star reviews are positive (except the one that I left). So, so, so fake it's not even funny.

The Hacker Hunter

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 8:04:14 AM PST
M. Bailey says:
I haven't read the sample, but the typos and poor grammar in the product description don't give a good impression.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 8:19:29 AM PST
J. Fields says:
It's funny because I saw the same thing on this book - it's not only selling like crazy on US Amazon, it's selling like crazy on UK Amazon, and has more reviews on that site than on the US. There is also just a couple reviewers who point out the poor writing and editing in UK reviews. Everyone else loved it. I don't know how the author did it, but whatever tactic he's using is making money and building a fan base. He wouldn't be the first writer to put out a poor product and make a living, I suppose. It's similar to the blurbs you see on book covers in the stores, or in the papers, or magazines, or even here on Amazon. Some are real, some are paid for, some are fake and just a marketing tool, some are biased. If you hate the book your review goes up too, so that's a good thing. I read the sample and I'm definitely not buying it - even though almost 300 people think I should haha.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 8:31:15 AM PST
That's the most impressive display of sockpuppetry I've ever seen! Yours was the only review I saw that was a verified purchased. (Though I didn't look at every single page.) I noticed that some of the 1 stars said they loved the book, but there was too much sex and violence. Hah! Obviously just wanting to point that out to get people to read.

I used the Feedback form at the bottom of the page to report it. Let's see how many reviews are left in a few days. :)

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 9:29:24 AM PST
P. A. Berg says:
It really is impressive. Not only are the reviews fake, but there are a lot of people (or at least a lot of profiles) out there hitting the "helpful" button for these reviews that don't even make sense.

I did get my money back. (First time ever making such a request from Amazon, as stated in my review.) Can't help feeling duped by the fake reviews. I only gave a cursory glance to the product description before buying because (1) the price was good, and (2) I had never seen so many 5 star reviews (and (until now) I placed some measure of confidence in the Amazon rating/review system).

As an example of some of these ridiculous reviews, here's a 5 star: "The Hacker Hunter is exceptional, don't write a follow on, you'll make a million just from this book be happy with that. Sequels always ruin the magic and this is MAGIC!"

Here's a 1 star: "Shocking, I'm sure that if they removed some of the bad language it would sell to more people, I mean it's such a good book why swear in it. The sex also need to be removed, far too graphic."

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 9:39:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2011 9:40:08 AM PST
J. Fields says:
Okay I'm sold. Most of the reviewers have only one other review, posted within a day or two of the date they reviewed the book - many of them DVDs. Many others just have the one review. And if these aren't verified purchases, and there are no hard copies of the book in print, and it's not available on Smashwords or B&N, then where the heck did all the reviewers read the book? To get 200+ reviews how many free books would you need to send out...maybe 500? More? Definitely something going on here. Someone needs to hunt down the guy who hacked his own reviews.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 10:12:07 AM PST
Who on earth has the time to create hundreds of fake people and write hundreds of fake reviews? If you're going to write pages and pages of material, shouldn't it be another story?

This makes all indie authors look like idiots, and he's duped innocent readers with this tactic. The author is now on my "report and warn people not to buy" list.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 10:33:23 AM PST
P. A. Berg says:
FYI: In my review, I included the following quote verbatim from the text of Chapter 2 (yes, misplaced commas were everywhere in that book):

"Recognizing his friend's attempts to calm him Alex, mulled over Oleg's words for a few long seconds and then replied, 'Will Mother Russia thank me Oleg? Will it thank me for working out a way to take a human brain, a brain that you have learnt to grow so well and turn it into an abomination?'"

I'm not making this up.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 10:44:32 AM PST
"To get 200+ reviews how many free books would you need to send out...maybe 500? More?"

Probably about 20,000. It's difficult to judge accurately, but it appears that only about 1% or less of the people who read a book post a review for it on Amazon.

Since this only appears to be available in ebook format, then a large percentage of the "reviewers" should have the verified purchase tag. And they don't.

"If you're going to write pages and pages of material, shouldn't it be another story?"

That's exactly what I was thinking, Sara Jo!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 10:49:15 AM PST
J. Fields says:
Yes the logistics of pulling this off is mind-boggling. Either someone created hundreds of email accounts, then Amazon accounts, then waited, then wrote reviews for this book and a few other random items - or, there was an army of people who may be starting with taking over Amazon, and next, the world.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 11:02:28 AM PST
Marion Stein says:
It's very strange. If the author is buying his own books or gifting them, he'd still have to be investing a lot and I'm not sure what the end game would be, unless he believes that the numbers alone will attract an agent or a movie deal. I have heard of buying reviews but even if they come cheap, that's so many!

Ok, I just checked out the sample. At least on the first few chapters every chapter begins with a description of someone's hands. It's extremely odd and the writing is very amateurish. This really leads me to believe the whole thing is some kind of joke or stunt.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 11:06:58 AM PST
I sampled the book. First lines:

"A hand, well manicured but blemished with age reached into an open ice bucket; a set of silver tongs remained hooked over the rim, neglected in favour of a bohemian grasp. A moment later, the hand re-emerged, now full of cubes it moved swiftly and elegantly towards two sturdy whisky glasses." The cubes go on to actually "dance". Yes, dancing cubes. Also, "bitter, sharp nectar [from Scotland] washes over the crackling cubes."

Wow. Seriously, it's so bad you need to sample for yourselves. I mean, it's not Massaro bad, but it's bad!

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 11:10:26 AM PST
Creating fake amazon accounts (I believe) is a little harder than just using different email addresses. I think each has to be tied to a credit or debit card as well. So, not sure how such a thing is accomplished.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 11:19:27 AM PST
"neglected in favour of a bohemian grasp."

A "bohemian" grasp? WTF?

"I have heard of buying reviews but even if they come cheap, that's so many! "

Yeah, at $5 a pop that would be almost $1300. Money better spent on an editor, methinks.

If you actually skim over the reviews they have a lot in common, so it's only one or a very few people doing this. The time and effort still flabbergasts me.

One of the things that cracked me up is several of the reviews saying to discuss the book in the comments. I've never seen that on a review before. On one it might be an unusual personal quirk of the reviewer. On several? Dead giveaway.

One of the reviews did have several comments, people talking about favorite plot points. I almost never see that in review comments either. Normally comments are used for discussing the review itself and how it does or does not apply to the book.

This is whole thing is just all sorts of astounding and funny!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 11:26:14 AM PST
You are not allowed to review until you make at least one purchase. I'd be interested to see exactly what items those accounts have purchased before being allowed to review. Some .99 book.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 11:28:15 AM PST
J. Fields says:
In that case why didn't they purchase the book? LOL

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 11:30:51 AM PST
J. Fields says:
Another interesting point is the sales ranking on both US and UK Amazon. That leads me to believe that at least some real people are buying it - so its strange that they aren't responding to mutitudes of reviews after reading that mess.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 11:38:12 AM PST
Because it blows?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 11:49:49 AM PST
AmeliaAT says:
ROTFLOL! That is just priceless! Absolutely dreadful, but I think that no matter how hard I worked, I could never come up with such prose. Well, I could probably manage to go and delete commas and put in a few where they didn't belong, but I couldn't come up with that bit about the brain!

This looks like one of the more atrocious books out there. It might beat out Big Paw. It certainly does in the quantity of sock-puppet reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 11:52:06 AM PST
AmeliaAT says:
But this is far funnier than Massaro's stuff -- or maybe it's my overtired brain. I'm a bit punchy today, but those lines just made laugh. Not that I'd want to read the book, but they're just hysterically bad.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 11:52:51 AM PST
"Another interesting point is the sales ranking on both US and UK Amazon. That leads me to believe that at least some real people are buying it - so its strange that they aren't responding to mutitudes of reviews after reading that mess."

Most people don't review, no matter what. Most people who do review go by the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" saying. So they find out it's crap and keep their mouths shut (typing fingers still). And yet others will feel embarrassed that they got taken in by what turns out to be a scam and won't want to admit it in public. (Cheers to PA Berg for standing up and posting a review!)

Then there are the few oddballs who probably liked the book. :)

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 11:57:36 AM PST
AmeliaAT says:
From the product description:

Going into the Wild East to steal Russian computer hackers for the American Government and in the process discovering a horrendous experimental Cyber Weapon gave John Mac & Christian Cannon an adventure they had never counted on.

Discover the real powerbases of Russia, Britain and the USA.

Enjoy the British Royals, NSA, New York Mafia, the Russian GRU, the SAS and the British Secret Service like you've never seen them before.

This book is the first ever story written by Christopher Keenan. It is dedicated to John McAleese, who is the iconic SAS legend, you saw on the balcony of the Iranian embassy. John was head of the focus group used for keeping the book as close to reality as possible within its fiction genre. John suddenly and very unexpectedly died just 9 days after the book was finished.

**Back to me > I wonder if it's supposed to appear as though John died as a result of the book's completion. (And can anyone actually believe that there was a "focus group" for the book?)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 12:01:32 PM PST
And, those are the first lines. He couldn't do better than that?

Jane Austen comes up with "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

JK Rowling, in Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone gives us: "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in 100 years of solitude: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

No one expects first lines of that level of awesomeness, but seriously, that's the best he can do to start his epic thriller? An overwritten treatise about an old man pouring himself a Scotch on the rocks?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 12:14:32 PM PST
AmeliaAT says:
Ah, but the old man is not merely pouring himself a Scotch on the rocks! He is doing it with a bohemian grasp! And those rocks dance!

Sorry -- still laughing at how very bad it is.

You're right, though -- the first lines of any novel should be something that make the reader curious about what's to come, or spellbound by their beauty, or something. Not doubled over with the hilarity of it when it's supposed to be a thriller, not humor.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 12:20:07 PM PST
J. Fields says:
I heard that the sequel is just called "Hack".
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
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Initial post:  Nov 29, 2011
Latest post:  Aug 20, 2013

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