The dangerous business with fake guides on Amazon

Anyone who suffers from psychological problems, wants to lose weight or needs help with parenting issues often and willingly uses advice literature. Proven experts share their specialist knowledge with the readership and provide competent help for self-help – at least that’s how it should be. In fact, in the digital sector, the majority of the most popular books only appear to come from trained professionals, fictitious degrees and professional experience are the rule. This is not a problem for Amazon.

Fictitious degrees, fictitious work experience

Leoni Herzig has had an impressive career as an author for almost 33 years. Born in Aschaffenburg, she has 13 publications in the field of personality development in the Kindle Store with many hundreds of enthusiastic 5-star reviews and combined sales in the five-digit range at least. In her books, Herzig gives ” advice for a happier and happier life “, names ” 8 ingredients for a perfect relationship & marriage ” and ” tips to overcome self-doubt “

For her advice in sensitive psychological areas, Leoni Herzig qualifies for a social science degree in London. “In addition, Leoni is a trained personality trainer and works throughout Europe,” it says on her author page and in the “About the author” box on all article pages.

Those seeking advice can therefore be sure that they are getting scientifically sound information. If the CV weren’t completely invented. The person “Leoni Herzig” is a pure artificial product, her profile photo comes from an image database . And the quality of the guide is far from the level of content that the author’s professional background suggests. This is clear even after a quick glance, as well as with a closer look at the book reviews. ” It looks like amateur homework ,” it says, ” terribly flat generalities without substance ” or, in summary, ” simply bad “.

On average, Leoni Herzig’s guides still have consistently excellent ratings. However, this does not follow from the quality of the content, which, depending on the book, is very obviously either poorly translated or co-written by copywriters from other sources for a small fee. Rather, the few “real” reviews are offset by a large number of purchased reviews. The result can be seen in the review areas or on the profiles of numerous reviewers up to the Amazon Top 100, where more than a dozen “reviewed” guides within a week are no exception.

Kindle Store firmly in the hands of fake guides

“Leoni Herzig” is no exception. The top positions in the Kindle Store’s advice corner are firmly in the hands of fake constructs. A qualified nutritionist only seems to give well-founded recommendations for intermittent fasting and low-carb nutrition, a qualified animal psychologist and full-time dog trainer writes about puppy training – and a young mothershares her experiences with healthy food for babies and toddlers. From mental illnesses to small children, no subject area is too sensitive to the F-scheme: An author profile with a CV that fits the subject area and pretty photos from stock image archives, quickly translated or copied together texts in XL font size, a few dozen purchased 5-star Ratings – and the reader’s point of view of the technically high-quality complete guidebook package is complete.

Amazon makes great money and sees no problems

The authors of the fake guides earn excellent money with the business model. And when in doubt, Amazon also prefers to sell one book more than one less, there are no explicit guidelines for advisors, nor is there a ban on completely concocted CVs from supposedly studied experts. When asked, an Amazon spokeswoman told us meaningfully that “the use of stock images is not expressly prohibited”.

Fraud on readers and publishers

The first loser in the Kindle Store’s guide carousel is the reader. The fabricated degrees and professional experience of the authors lead him to believe that he has content-related competence that simply does not exist. And who, against better knowledge, is guided by poorly translated or quickly copied wiki texts on topics such as baby food and self-help for depressive moods.

But well-known advice and science publishers are also among the victims. There you put a lot of money and know-how in the publication of thematically similar books “real” experts , which are hardly visible in the Kindle Store. Which will not change as long as the authors of the fake guides from writing factories with their fake CVs and the top reviews they have bought can suggest a similar quality and competence for a fraction of the purchase price.

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