Publishing Industry Cults, Weaponized Amazon Reviews, and Organized Cyberbullying…

by Anne R. Allen:

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit about the dangers of author-on-author cyberbullying.

A few years ago, a group I called “Mean Girls-meets-Lord of the Flies” terrorized authors on Goodreads and Amazon. A lot of us left Goodreads and never went back.

The ringleaders were mostly unsuccessfully self-published authors who harassed established stars as well as newbie writers. They criticized successful authors for their “greed” in charging money for their work and gamed Goodreads for free hard-copy books, which they’d give bogus one-star “reviews,” then sell unread on ebay.

Newbie authors who didn’t know the group’s unwritten “rules” were punished with sadistic glee.

They attacked victims with swarms of one-star “reviews” on Goodreads and Amazon that contained character assassination lies, personal attacks, rape threats, and even death threats — what I call “weaponized” reviews.

They swarmed buy pages, Goodreads entries, and blog comments to intimidate, control, and defame whistleblowers or wayward members.

I got death threats from this group myself for the crime of witnessing their rape threats against a naive teenager before the dozens of perpetrators had the sense to delete the incriminating evidence.

Their shenanigans inspired my comic novel So Much for Buckingham, where both reviewers and authors suffer from the dark side of online reviews. I even copied some of their threats word for word — which made for some hilarious comic scenes.

But when you’re the target, they’re anything but funny.

I think the group could have been called a cult. It ticked a lot of the boxes on the following list — a condensed version of a list by Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. at the International Cultic Studies Journal

Continue reading at:

Cults, Cliques and Cyberbullying

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4 thoughts on “Publishing Industry Cults, Weaponized Amazon Reviews, and Organized Cyberbullying…

  1. As many steps as we make forward as a whole, there are those that would rip tear down and destroy. It’s cyberbullying at it’s worst – attacking either the defenceless, the innocent, and those that would be all they can be. I had no idea about this and I’m truly sorry — I almost pity such people because they have been too scared to actually try! to live a life worth living.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post & well worth highlighting. It happens – bully-reviews are endemic, as I think I’ve said before, in the ‘professional’ literary review world here in New Zealand. I’ve been trying to take one on about his attitude to my work, directly – he put words in my mouth that are false and make me look an idiot – but my only response so far has been a waffling piece of invalidation dribble in which it seems his academic status and intellectual capability takes away any right I have to my good name or to defend myself from whatever he may attribute to me, true or not. And then he declined further correspondence. Speaks for itself and I’m not sure I can be bothered dignifying him with further engagement, to be honest.

    I guess it’s harder to deal with such people in the wider world of the Amazon/Goodreads environment.

    Liked by 1 person

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