Friday, August 30, 2013

Shameful Review Buyers

Of the authors at the center of "review" schemes, Melissa Foster was one of the most egregious. Melissa Foster's scams revolved around questionable awards, questionable reviews, and questionable promotion tactics involving friends, family, and other authors.

Melissa Foster is the poster child for fake writing awards. Legitimate awards are highly selective and recognized throughout the publishing industry.  Legitimate awards have strict rules and careful oversight. At the least, authors must be nominated by their publishers, bookstores, library staff. Books are only eligible for the year they were published and only in a specific category/genre. Legitimate awards launch careers and establish author leader in the industry.

Illegitimate awards come from companies that are neither highly selective nor recognized throughout the publishing industry. Illegitimate awards don't have strict rules or careful oversight. Illegitimate awards allow anyone willing to pay their entry fees to enter. They allow authors to enter a book in as many categories and as many times as they like and for as many years as they like. If an author enters books over and over for as many years and in many categories as Foster did, a win is almost assured. In fact, entering the same books over and over in multiple categories over many years assured Melissa Foster of multiple wins.

Melissa Foster in fact claims five awards from a for-pay award company that appears to give an award of some kind to every book entered. Several awards from a company that runs 17 different award programs and allows authors to register for all 17 awards using one multiple entry form.

Awards she couldn't win through this method? Melissa Foster appears to have recruited author friends and others to volunteer as judges. When Melissa Foster won, Melissa Foster then acted as a judge in a different year to return the favor. She became so adept at the scheme she tried to start her own awards program. Read the full Zon Alert report on Melissa Foster's fake awards.

When it comes to fake reviews, Melissa Foster out "Arnolded" Carolyn Arnold in friends and family reviews, making a science of it until friends and family had so many duplicate accounts Zon Alert bloggers lost track of them all.

Intermixed with friends and family reviews are reviews traded with other authors. Unlike Arnold who does her own review reciprocating, Foster often has others in her pyramid-like scheme participants do the reciprocating.

In what seems like an attempt to cover up her questionable activities, Melissa Foster started buying reviews, asking for reviews "as fast as you can provide them." Racking up over 250 review purchases, as determined by reviews received from for-pay review writers.

Other shameful review buyers, I'll get to in upcoming editions of The Fiverr Report. Look for reports on

Just for starters. Many more to follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment