The author of A Tale of Two Sock Puppeteers asked us to publish this tongue-in-cheek follow up post.  Enjoy!

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We have just been informed of a terrible problem that is afflicting young self-published authors. As yet, the problem has no name, because it has only recently been identified. Researchers are provisionally calling it That-Thing-When-A-Bunch-of Trolls-Out-Of-Nowhere-Decide-To-All-Five -Star-Your-Book-At-The-Same-Time.

Basically, the main symptom is this: an author will be minding his own business when BOOM! -Out of Nowhere!- twenty people, or sometimes more, will converge on his book and give it five star ratings for absolutely no reason.

Take the case of writer Gavin H.

An unsuccessful author with five one star reviews on Amazon, he was minding his own business one day, when BOOM! -Out of Nowhere!-twenty two people converged on his unsuccessful book and gave it five star ratings. You can see a small portion of the horror here:

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These five starring bandits inflated Gavin’s ratings by a ridiculous amount over a very short span of time, until he had 55 ratings and an average rating of almost 5 stars.

“Who would do such a thing?” A witness sobbed.
Others were stunned speechless.

“For all we know” says researcher I.M. Fullofit, PhD, “this has been going on for a very long time. The reason we’ve only just recognized it as a separate and distinct problem is that up to now we were confusing it with those sock-puppet reviews authors, especially self-published authors, sometimes give themselves. Can you imagine? On top of the horror of getting twenty or thirty  five star reviews on your book within the space of a few days, some authors were getting accused of having done it to themselves! Would you tell a cancer patient `you brought this on yourself?’ But that’s exactly what people were saying to these authors.”

Gavin’s story has a happy ending. Working quickly, Goodreads personnel were able to remove 22 of those five star ratings/reviews, bringing his total down to 33 from a high of 55. Gavin credits this to his having taken prompt action.

“The worst part” a friend who asked not to be named said “was that people were accusing him of making up those accounts himself! I mean, that’s ridiculous! Those accounts were in France! Okay, some of them were in Illinois! But Gavin lives in the UK! Everybody knows that people in the UK don’t travel or have friends in foreign countries!”

Fortunately, Gavin remains upbeat about the incident.

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We are glad things ended well for Gavin. If you or anyone you know has been attacked by a gang of mysterious five star reviewers, please let us know. People need to be made aware of this problem, to stop them suffering what Gavin had to endure.

Signs to watch out for are:

  • The profiles that attack you were all created in the same month.
  • They have no friends or are friends with each other.
  • Their only common element is your book.
  • They have few other reviews and ratings, and generally very few books read.
  • They all attack at once.

Please be alert, and stay safe.

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