Many of you remember the fairly recent scandal around paid reviews, right?

If not here’s an article the New York Times did.

In short, the whole publishing world was up in arms, no one knew what was true and what wasn’t, books were supposedly becoming best sellers thanks to massive amounts of overwhelmingly positive reviews; it was just another wrench in traditional publishing’s losing battle against technology. Then you had the authors, many stuck between a rock and a hard place, not knowing how to compete for attention in the new world of self-publishing, but perhaps not ready to go as far as paying for praise – especially not after the media backlash.

But no matter what role you play in the big scheme of things it’s likely we all agree that paying for positive reviews is not ideal, organic referrals and genuinely positive assessments and feedback are still the best validation you can get.

So how do we classify someone who charges others to read her reviews?

Confused? I was too when I first found her on Amazon.

As far as I can tell this woman has no prior history or qualifications to charge so much for her opinion, if anything at all, and for the life of me I can’t imagine she’s making money providing a “service” or “product” (depending on how you look at it) that Amazon offers for free…are her reviews that much better than the tens, or sometimes hundreds, of reader reviews books have listed for free?

Here is her Amazon page.

If you’re like me you’re trying to figure out what you’re looking at. Let me help. What you’re seeing is this woman’s reviews of a number of books, that she’s decided to publish on Amazon, and charge $9.95 for.

Again, I can’t imagine how she makes money doing this.

As an author, how would you feel about someone else making money off of a review they wrote of your book? Better yet, how would you feel not knowing what the review said unless you were willing to fork over the cash??

This is one of the more bizarre things I’ve seen as technology started to play a bigger role in how books are published, found, received and reviewed.

If you’re an author, I’d love your feedback on this!