How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare – by Megan McCluskey…

on Time Magazine:

A few months after posting a message on Goodreads about the imminent release of a new book, Indie author Beth Black woke up to an all-caps ransom email from an anonymous server, demanding that she either pay for good reviews or have her books inundated with negative ones: “EITHER YOU TAKE CARE OF OUR NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS WITH YOUR WALLET OR WE’LL RUIN YOUR AUTHOR CAREER,” the email, shared with TIME, read. “PAY US OR DISAPPEAR FROM GOODREADS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.”

Black, who has self-published both a romance novel and a collection of short stories in the past year, didn’t pay the ransom. “I reported it to Goodreads and then a couple hours later, I started noticing the stars dropping on my books as I started getting all these 1-star reviews,” she says. “It was quite threatening.”

Scammers and cyberstalkers are increasingly using the Goodreads platform to extort authors with threats of “review bombing” their work–and they are frequently targeting authors from marginalized communities who have spoken out on topics ranging from controversies within the industry to larger social issues on social media.

Black says she had posted about the upcoming book in a Goodreads community group, and had sent PDF copies to self-proclaimed reviewers. According to Black, the pressure to rack up reviews on Goodreads and Amazon led to her becoming the target of a cyber-extortion attack.

Continue reading HERE


14 thoughts on “How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare – by Megan McCluskey…

  1. I haven’t touched Goodreads since the Troll Wars of 2012. I’m not at all surprised it’s moved on to actual extortion.

    My stalker who was offering to redo my website for free under one name while posting bad reviews of projects that hadn’t been released yet under another is still on there, along with a few rabid members of the troll group that so loved to do these one-star swarms.

    They don’t moderate and they’ve deleted some of the victims rather than the perpetrators. The site makes zero difference on sales as far as any authors I know can see. One I know who quit was advised to ignore the site by someone very successful and is now very successful herself.

    I take reviews there with a grain of salt, especially if they are either one or five stars. The gaming on both sides of the fence never even slowed down.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What is the MATTER with people? This is sad and frustrating. Scammers hold the world at ransom anymore. I just watched a newscast where they have infiltrated schools, extorting them for thousands of dollars. Humanity is gone.

    Liked by 1 person


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