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October 20

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Book Reviews Plagiarized on Amazon

by Ann-Katrina

Well, I received a most disturbing email alerting me to a problem.

Someone actually took one of my reviews, plucked from it a few sentences, changed a word or two, and then posted it on as their own. No credit, no thank you, no permission, no nothing.

When I tallied the actual amount of plagiarized to original content, it turned out that more than 48% of the review was ripped off. o_0

I work hard on my reviews and to see bits and pieces lodged into someone else’s review, especially with no credit, made me glow red.

It got me thinking: How often does this happen? And has it happened to any other book reviewers? And how does Amazon handle those reviewers? (This particular reviewer is a part of the Amazon Vine program, and frankly, I believe their status in the program should be revoked after something like this.)

UPDATE: Amazon is awesome. I don’t know whether the reviewer was kicked out of Vine or not, but the review was removed.

Comments on Book Reviews Plagiarized on Amazon

  1. # Karissa wrote on October 20, 2009 at 8:39 am:

    I am also part of the Amazon Vine program and unfortunately I have heard of people having reviews copied without permission by other reviewers a number of times. I think it is horrible. We put so much time into writing reviews…
    In past cases Amazon has been very good about getting rid of the people doing the copying, so if you notify them hopefully they will act on it fast :-)

  2. # janicu wrote on October 20, 2009 at 8:43 am:

    Holy crap! Hope you reported them. I keep seeing my reviews used in crappy spammy sites, and have no idea how to get them down. I’d be PISSED if someone stole them for Amazon. Do people really have to steal someone else’s review? Can’t they write what they thought in their own words? Appalling.
    .-= janicu´s last blog ..On Vox: Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Meljean Brook =-.

  3. # Nicole wrote on October 20, 2009 at 9:23 am:

    Wow. It’s a good thing that someone noticed so at least maybe you will be able to get them to take it down if you want. I think I would have no way of knowing if that happened with any of my content unless someone notified me, and the likelihood of that seem s low. It’s really unfortunate, because yes, so much goes into writing a review.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Progress: Notes From A Reading Life ~ October 20 =-.

  4. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm:

    Thanks for chiming in and the understanding ladies.

    Karissa, that’s pretty shameful. I wonder what drives these people to blatantly take the hard work of someone else and try to pass it off as their own.

    Janice, that’s the same question I asked when I saw it. I really couldn’t believe my eyes and I’ve already sent an email to Amazon. Crossing my fingers and hoping it gets taken down (or at very least edited) soon.

    Nicole, you make a good point. I guess I was lucky in this case. Turns out the person was looking online for reviews and this particular one happened to be in the first 5 Google results, then when she visited the Amazon review page, something about one of the reviews smelled fishy. It does make me a little paranoid now.

    What made this particular Amazon review twisted was that they took my negative review and used it for a positive review–basically twisting the meaning of the sentences they chose to plagiarize. *sigh* Some people’s children.

  5. # Lenore wrote on October 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm:

    Wow! The gall of some people. I think that reviewer should be dropped from the program too. Sounds like he/she didn’t even read it and just wanted to post a review fast to get more “free stuff”.
    .-= Lenore´s last blog ..Library Thing Tuesday (76) + Picture of Emmy =-.

  6. # margaret wrote on October 20, 2009 at 7:55 pm:

    Holly Smokes!! I’m shocked. I’ve never thought too look and see if people are plagiarizing me – I doubt it though – my reviews are always so scatter brained :P

    I hope they take the review down and ban the person, or at least revoke the title. I’m sorry Ann-Kat. What was the book?

  7. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm:

    Lenore, you’re probably right.

    Margaret, here’s a direct link to their review* (and the person who emailed me was even kind enough to comment regarding the “source” of most of the review).

    It’s a relatively short review, but it still stings when nearly half of their review was copy/pasted from my own review of of the book*. In the first paragraph, the summary, they only modified a few words of my synopsis and for the final two paragraphs, they lifted entire sentences and only tacked on a few words of their own.

    I still haven’t heard back from Amazon, so I’m going to send another follow up email.

    * Removed links since the review has been removed from Amazon and don’t want anyone to click on a broken link.

  8. # Amanda wrote on October 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm:

    Wow. That’s horrible. I hope you get it all taken care of!
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..In a Perfect World, by Laura Kasischke =-.

  9. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 22, 2009 at 8:23 am:

    Thanks Amanda. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping Amazon does something about it.

  10. # Ann-Kat wrote on October 22, 2009 at 11:54 am:

    Update: Amazon is awesome. I don’t know whether the reviewer was kicked out of Vine or not, but the review was removed. :)

  11. # Book Reviews wrote on October 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm:

    This is a shame that this keeps happening to writers all over the internet. But I’m glad the review was removed. At least Amazon did the right thing.

  12. # Ladybug wrote on October 29, 2009 at 7:53 am:

    Some people have no shame! Great to hear that Amazon did the right thing. I don’t think that this would happen to me – I don’t think anybody would want to steal my bad English grammar. I probably mix it with the Norwegian grammar rules sometimes. But then again maybe the people doing this are so bad writers that they steal anything..
    .-= Ladybug´s last blog ..Contest time! Win Hush,Hush, Ice, The Demon King or Devil’s Kiss =-.

  13. # SavvyVerse&Wit wrote on April 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm:

    I’m going to have to check now! UGh
    .-= SavvyVerse&Wit´s last blog ..Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward, DVM =-.

  14. # Amos Lassen Falls From Grace, When Reviewers Attack wrote on December 14, 2010 at 8:04 pm:

    [...] Amazon forums, I saw a thread titled “Plagiarism in a review?” This caught my attention because I, too, had been plagiarised by an Amazon reviewer. But before I could chip my two cents in, I was swept up on the roller coaster ride of reviewer [...]

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