The Mysterious World of Goodreads Reviews

Much ink has been spilled about spammers and trolls on the book review site, Goodreads.  To its credit, Goodreads has cleaned up its act regarding fake reviews and hostile reviewers-- or at least made inroads in that direction.  Book reviewing, whether in print or online, has never been a completely fair game.

But today, a new and stranger (at least to me) form of hackery appeared on the site-- just when you thought that things had calmed down.  An author friend of mine (who, to avoid further mischief, shall remain anonymous) sent me a private message on Facebook.  He was curious to know what I had disliked in one of his books to merit a one-star review with no comment.  Was it his writing or the content, he asked.

But I had never read his book.  It was not on any of my lists, even as a "to read" book.  It was, simply put, not on my reading radar. I could not find the "review" on any of my pages-- nowhere.  I asked him to send me the link.

There it was, an "update" on his book -- with my name attached to it.  A strange sort of hackery indeed-- and one which offended me more than if a troll had attacked me.  Worse, there is no way for me to detect the problem -- since the fake review did not show up under my account.

Is there no end to social media mischief?

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