Tuesday, May 6, 2014

OneBookShelf Purging Some "Self" Reviews (Publishers, Don't Rate Your Own Works)

A publisher friend of mine got an email from OneBookShelf informing them that OBS was removing one or more reviews that they had made at OBS / DTRPG / RPGNow.

Criteria for removal? They had either highly reviewed one of their own products, or gave someone else a poor review.

The letter itself was a a form letter, written in general with no specifics as to his / her actual offense.

Apparently, nearly 100 publishers were "caught" in this audit, but at this time, all they are doing is removing reviews that violated a previously unwritten policy. I mean, in retrospect, this is a no-brainer - I surprised it hasn't come up previously.

Now, I know of a product that released yesterday, got a 5 star review, and the first name and first initial of the last name of the reviewer match that of the publisher. I suspect that went up after the audit.

OBS reviews have been controversial at times, as it is an open secret that "featured reviewers" aren't supposed to make negative reviews on the OBS sites.

Kinda makes those OBS reviews a bit less valuable if you ask me.


  1. Well shit, there goes all my reviews. I worked hard on those.

    I don't really understand why they are removing negative reviews. I think that's a poor choice. Usually I will learn more from a product from a negative review. I think we all read the one star reviews on Amazon more than the 5 star reviews.

    1. They aren't removing all negative reviews but if you are a publisher who does pathfinder products, they'll not want you reviewing another publishers pathfinder products, especially if they are very close to your own (adventure paths, etc) and giving them negative reviews. That can be seen as unfair business practices.

      They also don't want you revieing your own products... long as they do it across the board, I see no issues with it.

    2. Sure I can see not wanting to review you're own product. Makes sense. No one would believe my reviews of me anyhow.

      Still, not sure about removal of neg. reviews for possible likeness to your own products. I have no idea of what its involved, but I think it would be better, say, if a personal gave all bad reviews to like products warn the person from doing so and if they continued suspend their privileged to sell there for a bit. But say they give positive reviews to most things and only a few things then its an honest opinion. I hope they don't crack down on this too much. I would be a bit pissed if I couldn't give my honest opinion about an adventure, but wasn't permitted because I write adventures.

  2. Actually, I don't believe it was an unwritten rule. It was in the publisher package I got when I started.

  3. New plan: make up a FAKE SCREEN NAME... And proceed with original plan. Muahaha

  4. I actually had to remove myself from the comic publisher I work for's account, because it technically put me in breach of the OBS Featured Reviewer policy (in that I was both a Featured Reviewer and technically a publisher...on their comic-based sister site). However, I was the one that brought that breach to their attention, not the other way around, and was rectifying it before they had to say anything to me.

  5. After purchasing a couple product that had decent reviews but turned out to be worth less than the electrons used to display the pdf, I'm very hesitant to take the word of any but a few reviewers. Endzeigeist (Thilo Graf) is one, and I've not seen any problems with Mr. Shorts' reviews.

    But there are other problems with the review system as well. I gave a product from Skirmisher Publishing one star. First, the publisher posted a reply that was filled with personal attacks against me. OBS took the reply down and gave me a $10 gift card in compensation. But shortly after, a couple more 5-star reviews popped up. Sure enough, the reviewers didn't review anything but Skirmisher Publishing's stuff.

    The review system is pretty much an honor system, and as such I'm sure I've missed several good company's products because they didn't have a review, or the reviewer had only done that one review.

    If I were king, a publisher caught reviewing his own work would get locked out of my store, but I'm not OBS.

  6. Never heard of OBS, but can't a publisher just write a glowing self-review and have his buddy post it under said buddy's name?


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