The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy: Well, this is sobering:
At first, he advertised that he would review a book for $99. But some clients wanted a chorus proclaiming their excellence. So, for $499, Mr. Rutherford would do 20 online reviews. A few people needed a whole orchestra. For $999, he would do 50.
There were immediate complaints in online forums that the service was violating the sacred arm’s-length relationship between reviewer and author. But there were also orders, a lot of them. Before he knew it, he was taking in $28,000 a month.
I think that user-generated content is slowly going the way of spam, in the sense that we’re becoming a white-list world. Initially, we assumed something was accurate unless evidence existed to the contrary (blacklist). This is slowly reversing, to the point where we automatically think something is false, unless evidence exists to the contrary (whitelist).
It seems that the most valuable thing on the Internet is credibility, and who has the edge? It could be Facebook, given that it knows who your friends are and can leverage that knowledge into the credibility we’re all looking for.