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Amazon.com reviews… shills?

Category : book

There have been some comments in the Amazon.com forums that seem to imply that many of the reviews of the 4HWW Book (especially the five-star positive ones) are posted by paid shills, fake reviewers, or otherwise are unrepresentative of the actual reader population. Is this true? I have no idea. It’s hard for me to verify. I for one posted a 4-star review, but it never appeared on Amazon.com (grumble).

I feel that the book does its purpose: help change the mindset that 40 hours a week is necessary to run a successful business and maintain high income. However, I can easily see how many of the ideas in the book are shallow and immature, and as well, one can tell that Tim Ferriss does prefer to bend the rules rather than follow them (the win-by-default kickboxing incident, anyone)? However, is this truly bad? While breaking the rules in an unethical or immoral (or illegal) way can never be condoned by anyone, any good entrepreneur knows that the “conventional wisdom” or common knowledge is rarely wisdom and is too common.

Sometimes it pays to break the rules and play outside the lines. However, is this the case with the Amazon.com reviews? Is it fair to use Amazon.com as a marketing tool (rather than a reader-led consumer-oriented site)? Is it ok to pay reviewers in the way that many are paying bloggers? Are we facing an ethics battle for the soul of the Web?

Also, I was pointed to the PodTech interview with Tim and comments that are less than favorable. I posted a comment on the blog, but not sure if it will appear. Here it is:

    “Wow. It sure looks like the tide is turning against Tim Ferriss (or am I just noticing more of the skeptical posts). I for one have found the book interesting enough to try it myself and see if it will have any impact on my life. I am even baring my experiences for the world to see on my blog (at http://www.fourhourworkweekdiary.com). If it is a hoax, if it is a sham, if it is a failure, the world will see, and I will be responsible (and ethical) enough to show it. If it has merit, however, I want to find that and share it too.I believe that the core lesson in the book is one of time management and rethinking the 40-hour workweek. I think there’s merit in that. As for the rest and Tim’s claims about himself, that’s for Tim to defend. Just like you all, I take self-motivated claims with a grain of salt. ”

I don’t want to pass judgment here. If the reviews are all real, then we have to acknowledge the popularity of this book. And if you believe me, I’ve contributed to some of the positive Amazon.com reviews. I am NOT a shill. I haven’t received a penny or any sort of back-scratching from anyone to say diddly poop about this book. And if I get ticked off or bored, I’ll just drop the site altogether.

Just comment on this blog and let me know. Do you think the Amazon.com reviews are real? Do you care? Does it matter? What do you think of folks that game the blogging / web-based economy for their marketing purposes? Is this to be expected? commended? frowned upon? worth penalizing? I’d like to know.

Required FTC Disclosure:

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact Rex at info [at] fourhourworkweekdiary [dot] com. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog, including the article written above. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we often give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog may contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

Comments (2)


I followed this trail to this blog. I believe that I just bought one of your products at BlogMaestro and I joined MyBloLog? Are these your companies? Perhaps these sites are how you will become independently wealthy. I’m making a decent living as a school administrator, but I’d like to figure out a way to not depend on it. In fact, I see my 9-5 as a way to get to my 4 day work week. Are we talking 4 ten hour days? My question is how can I learn from what you and others are doing? Also, what the hell did I sign up for in BlogMaestro, if that is your product? Look forward to a reply (after which I’ll respond to this particular blog).


Hi Brian –

I’ve never heard of BlogMaestro. In fact, the only things I have to sell are merchandise (shirts, etc) and ads on my site. What did you buy? It certainly is not affiliated with me. Can you forward me a link to what you purchased? How did it lead you to my blog?

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