Thursday, January 26, 2006

Additional Thoughts on Amazon.com Reviews

I received some good comments on my previous post about my Amazon.com reviews. A few people at Black Hat Federal yesterday asked similar questions, namely: "Why don't you post bad reviews? We think cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y are more helpful than good reviews."

First, let's consider cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 definition of "bad review." I've never given a book 1 star. I've only given a few books two stars. For example, this book was awful. It's also got cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 highest number of fake positive reviews I've ever seen. (Many are written by people who have only reviewed cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 author's books, which is an indicator of being planted by cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 author.) The author somehow got Amazon.com to reject my original review. In cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 second review (which is now posted), I restricted my comments to quoting outrageously bad technical details that neicá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 author nor Amazon.com could deny.

My reading and reviewing habits are usually contrary to posting bad reviews. I am not cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 typical "reviewer" who gets a free book from cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 publisher, skims cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 contents, looks at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 back cover, and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n posts a so-called "review." In almost every case I read cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 whole book, or at least enough of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 book to ensure I cover cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 author's main points. (Sometimes I do skip material. For example, I am not going to read about compiling software using "./configure, make, make install" in a sys admin book.)

Therefore, reading and reviewing is a fairly serious time commitment. As a result my reading list is about 50 books deep now. Publishers send me dozens of books per year. 95% of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time I have already identified cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 ones I want to read by adding cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m to my Wish List. If you're a publisher and you want a book review, please first check that list. If your book is not on it, I will probably not ever review it.

Books sent to me by publishers that go unread are not sold on eBay. I give cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m away at conferences or classes. I gave about 30 books away at ShmooCon, with cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 hope that attendees read and review cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m.

Given this scenario, sometimes I do write three star reviews. That sort of assessment means I thought cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 book had potential, so I decided to read it. While reading, I became disappointed by cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 content or technical accuracy. In 2005, I wrote 26 reviews. Of those, four were three-star reviews. This is a good example. I hoped that would be a good book, but cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 material covered plus cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 technical inaccuracies really sunk it for me.

The books most likely to get a low review are those I personally purchase. I may buy a book because it seems very good on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 surface. If while reading it I find errors or ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r problems, I will definitely provide a bad review. I will probably not read all of a bad book in this case. The fact that I paid for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 book will make me feel better about reviewing a book I have not thoroughly read.

I do not enjoy writing bad reviews. As an author, I do not like seeing my books receive low reviews. Thankfully that has only happen infrequently, and in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 most recent case I can cite personal problems with one reviewer. As an author I also know that writing a book represents committing a lot of time and effort. If a lousy book somehow manages to slip through cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 editing process, or if cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 publisher refuses to correct deficiencies despite being notified, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n I am more likely to post a bad review.

In some cases I even dislike writing 4 star reviews, since I can tell cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 author spent a lot of time on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 book. A book that is technically sound can still receive a four star review. I usually deduct stars for covering material that has appeared elsewhere. I am a proponent for publishing new material, and I am disappointed when I see one good book followed by a handful of copycats who provide little original material.

I welcome your comments on this issue.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you give honest reviews supported by a bunch of facts - that is what I like about your reviews. I may disagree/agree with your review butI do appreciate cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 in-depth review as opposed to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 many that just flip through cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 back cover and post a review (you can typically tell which ones those are) with little facts to support cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir thoughts.

Thanks,
Chuck

Anonymous said...

Your reviews are good because a) you actually read cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 books b) you don't regurgitate cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 blurb/marketing material and c) you're actually honest in your reviews. Ok, so you would expect to find poor reviewers on Amazon. But when so-called "Top 500" reviewers just write rubbish I would assume people would expect better. I was reading a Ciscopress CCNA book review recently and no joke, a "Top 500" reviewer basically said: "This is a Cisco-published book. Cisco publishes cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 CCNA, so this automatically should be a good book to get for CCNA exam study. Buy this book." And cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n I'm sure some idiots voted it helpful as well. wtf?!

Anonymous said...

Amazon's interface to your reviews sucks. It's split over a dozen pages, so it is difficult to see, for example, all of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 books that you gave five stars to. Having a list of each book, author, and number of stars on a single page would be helpful. I've emailed amazon about this before to no avail. Thanks for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 reviews though, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y've been quite helpful to me. I remember using your review of Chirillo's book to convince someone that it was rubbish.

Sean C said...

Interesting to note that you believe Amazon was able to delete your first post. I didn't know Amazon would scrub comments and only look for 'favorable' comments.

I've been comtemplating to start reviewing my collection of networking books. I have a large collection of CiscoPress books and only have started to, within cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 past year or so, relied on IPSec books. I'll probably score most books at a 4. I'd pretty much reserve 5 stars for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 'bibles' - Stevens, Perlman, probably a Bejtlich ;-). I'd probably limit my lowest rating to a 3.

BTW - I really apprectiate your reviews. I think cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y are some of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 best reviews out cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re.

Thx, Sean

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