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Total: Creator Admits Site is a Fraud

Monday, September 9, 2013 9:40
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Goodreads Creator Admits Site is a Fraud

I first started investigating when I and seven friends, who like myself are authors, were stalked from the Amazon Forums to the Goodreads site. Because of a statement I made in a forum I was stalked by the resident stalker trolls who discovered who my friends were. Consequently All our books were placed on disgustingly named lists and given 1-star ratings without a word being read. This is over 40 books generating over 500 fake reviews and ratings for goodreads.


When I complained about the stalking and personal attacks they banned me. It is against their author guidelines for an author to defend themselves, apparently not only to other members but to the goodreads staff as well. In fact the guidelines state the following:

How should I handle a negative review?

The generally accepted advice – and we believe it’s the best advice – is to ignore a negative review or comment. Realistically, not everyone who reads your book will love it so much that they give it five stars.

From time to time, Goodreads authors have responded to readers who gave their books negative reviews or ratings, and the results have been disastrous for the authors’ reputations. Goodreads is not private; other readers will see a hostile reaction from the author, and a single negative interaction is often enough to turn a reader against an author permanently.

This was my first clue there was something very wrong with the Goodreads model. This is to me an implied threat that if an author complains about a review, even one that is a no-read personal attack, Goodreads will allow their members to destroy their reputation and do absolutely nothing to stop it.

I was shocked when I saw this absurd policy and had to wonder why. The deeper I looked the worse it got.

I started looking into the policies of Otis Chandler and what he envisions the Goodreads website should be. After a little digging it became clear his goal was to “build up a critical mass of book reviews” to market as an API to book sellers. So the site was set up in such a way for anyone to rate books and post reviews. Hiding behind the first amendment he allows any thing to pass as a valid review, 1-star ratings and reviews abound by people who never read the books in question.

This critical mass of book reviews, most of which are not reviews at all or are lies by vindictive cliques who love to trash books for sport, was deem to be reached at 25 million. In his own word:

Here he hides behind the spectre of censorship to justify completely invalid reviews. Thereby also admitting that many of the 25 million reviews he sells as representative of books are worthless if not outright lies. He also has no problem with ratings and reviews of books that haven’t even been published and that no-one has read. He’s all about the numbers, valid or not so he can sell the info.

Here’s a few examples of how absurd and fraudulent most of the 25 million reviews are.

These members in just one week posted 1231 reviews and that’s just in a week. I say that it’s physically impossible to read 200 books in a week and writer reviews for them. It just cannot be done. So this is clearly fake reviews by the hundreds in a single week. If we look at a years it gets worse:

Do you believe these six people over the past year have each read 4.6 books each and every day and written reviews for them? I don’t believe they have nor could they if they tried. That’s over ten thousand bogus reviews from just six members in the past year.

Chandler is well aware of this and that is intentional consumer fraud. If I go to Sony to get an ebook and base my decisions on the reviews provided by the goodreads API, I have been defrauded.

It doesn’t end there either. Goodreads steals content and refuses to honor DMCA take down orders and even has a little primer they use the tell members where to steal copyrighted content:

Chandler is intentionally and by design selling invalid content that directly affect the books sales of authors and the purchase of said books by consumers. He has no problem selling worthless and even vicious personal attacks on authors as valid reviews.

This is in direct violation of the Federal Trade Commissions Truth in Advertising laws.

Chandler encourages members to acquire copyrighted material from any source to publish on his website. This is intentional, for profit, copyright infringement. is a fraudulent enterprise selling a worthless database of lies and stolen content.

It is nearly impossible to estimate the damage done to the reputations of writers and sales but it surely is in the area of hundreds of millions. That’s not considering the purchases by consumers based on fakes reviews and book ratings.

Given the above information how could any review from Goodreads be viewed as valid even if it is?

Here’s a link to the FTC regulation the website violates:

Report These FTC violations here:


You will need GR’s phone number and address:


785 Market St (4th St)
San Francisco, CA 94103


Some of this material is used under fair use from

I’d also like to thank M.t. Dismuke for doing much of the research to uncover this story.

If you are an abused author there is a support group, AAA Authors Against Abuse on Facebook that can be found here:



© Copyright Rick Carufel 2013.

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