I want to say how much I appreciate Boing Boing for bring this to our attention. I hope that like the book on Jesus, Zealot, that was attacked by Fox News, this story will lead to greater sales for the book. What is sad that it takes a backlash to get PR these days.
I think that a very clever person might decide to attack their own book so that they get the backlash PR and sales.
Philip_ Barrett links to the person who wrote a funny one star review. Good for them. but what would be interesting is to track down the actual lobbying firm and PR person (people) who wrote those.
You will note that they used a certain technique. This looks like standard practice. 1) Give a profession with history (background in the industry) or 2) Give a profession that has nothing to do with the industry. - e.g. Lab tech, Mom researcher, jewelry maker.
3) Then the talking points.
One of the ways that you can tell that these are fake is not just the template and talking points, but the decent english and complete sentences. Why is that? Because they still have a glimmer of self respect? "I might be a paid shill, but my work won't have any grammatical mistakes or spelling errors!"
These are the jobs available to college educated people with degrees in English (or even journalism). You are in 80k in debt with your English degree and there are no jobs? Look to the lobbying firms, they have money! You simply need to lie about who you are, and post info that supports the person who is paying you. When we talk about the power of corporations over our world this is one part of it. You aren't killing people with your views, you aren't making death goo or poisonous products so you feel okay about that vs people working for big tobacco or Monsanto. And you aren't doing back-breaking labor so you are using your brain. If you are lucky you are paid a decent wage, but do you have health benefits?
But at least you have a job, probably contract work. What do you care about the truth? It's all buyer beware anyway. In fact you can probably breath a sigh of relief that someone pointed this out, so in a way you are actually HELPING the book sell more. At least that is what you tell yourself so you can feel better about your lying. I feel sorry for the people who are doing this work, but on the other hand at least they Have work. When the economy has no real jobs the jobs that are available become more and more obnoxious and the ability to lock people in because of health care is still intact. The employers WANT people locked into crappy jobs at low wages.
If they could leave because they have health care or there were better jobs, they would. As it stands now the people who are running the lobbying firm could fire all the people who did these fake reviews and replace them with the same number tomorrow for less money.