David Aaronovitch entered into a conspiracy with others to post fake 5 star reviews of his last shoddy book on Amazon. He now lies about why. He has attempted to defuse the row by coming clean and making light, courtesy of his Murdoch employer.
But his explanation is a plain lie. Aaronovitch claims that :
“almost before my book was published, the first 1-star reviews started to appear, from people who had never read it. After a week, even I wouldn’t have bought it.”
In fact, the very first eight reviews on Amazon were all five star – which by his own argument must be “from people who had never read it”. That is very probably true, as the first two five star reviews were posted on the very day the book was released, 7 May 2009. In fact the average rating of the first reviews is very much higher than the average rating he gets from the general public overall, extremely suspiciously so. (One remote possibility is he was getting Amazon to delete critical reviews, but that also would negate his justification for procuring the fake positive reviews).
He claims “After a week even I wouldn’t have bought it”. In fact, after a week it was averaging a literally unbelievable five stars. It was a full month before the first one star review arrived. Then it was from an amazon real name verified customer who Aaronovitch plainly does not think should be entitled to their opinion.
His excuse for this attempt to defraud the public by planting false reviews of his product is, quite simply, a lie. Aaronovitch is a liar. Which makes you worry a little about his journalistic standards otherwise, does it not? It is an interesting glimpse into the dark mind of one of the leading propagandists for the Iraq War.
It seems that Aaronovitch with others entered a conspiracy to boost book sales through fraudulent reviews. Which as his book in question argues that pro-establishment conspiracies never have existed, is rather ironic. I do not regard this as a minor dereliction. I believe it opens serious questions about a journalist’s integrity. In the days when the Times was a respectable newspaper, it would have led to Aaronovitch’s dismissal.
I should say I have never asked anybody to post a positive review of one of my books on Amazon. I am happy to say that Murder in Samarkand has a much higher star review rating than Voodoo Histories, and unlike Aaronovitch I did not have to cheat to get it. Only one of my 49 reviews by “Biodiplomacy” is actually from a friend but I did not ask him to do it, and I am sure in any circumstances he would give his honest opinion. He often disagrees with me in comments here!
I am conscious that one probable consequence of this posting is that neo-con trolls will now bomb Murder in Samarkand with bad reviews. I very much welcome reviews, good, bad, or indifferent, from anybody who has honestly read the book and is giving their genuine opinion.
This is an extract from the article in the Times where Aaronovitch admits to his fraud, and lies about the cause. I can’t link to it because it was behind a paywall. To Mr Murdoch’s copyright lawyers, I am quoting a brief extract for the purpose of legitimate analysis and debate. If you have any sense, you would realize I am also doing you a favour by exposing your star columnist as a cheat and a fraud:
Something like half of all book sales are now made through Amazon, and when you find a book on Amazon it is accompanied by reviews from “readers” who give it a 1 (lowest) to 5 star rating. So, almost before my book was published, the first 1-star reviews started to appear, from people who had never read it. After a week, even I wouldn’t have bought it.
There is only one thing you can do in this situation. You ask every friend and family member to go onsite PDQ and 5-star your baby. You get your frauds to balance off their frauds. Ce n’est pas magnifique, mais (grâce à Amazon) c’est la guerre.
Actually, David, ce n’est pas la guerre. La guerre is what you supported so enthusiastically in Iraq, and involves the blasting to pieces of young children, the rape of countless women, the end of hundreds of thousands of lives and the wrecking of millions more. It involves the destruction of the infrastructure of countries and the loss of decades of economic development, and a ruinous expense to our own economy. It involves the bombing of densely packed urban areas in Gaza, for which you are an enthusiast, and from which the terror and suffering is something you will never understand. For you just sit here in the highly paid heart of the warmongering Murdoch establishment, and indulge in lies and cheats to further your income and your grubby little career.