Like most people, I put a lot of business Amazon's way. One reason for this is their customer review system. On the face of it, it is a useful gauge as to how good a book is, particularly if it's a subject (non-fiction) or author (fiction) you haven't tried before. So up until recently I've relied on it a lot in making a decision about whether or not to buy.
Until recently when I came across a thread on a writers' site where a newly published author was complaining about a bad review she had received and urging members to go and vote the review as "unhelpful". Then it occurred to me, poor naive fool that I am, that anyone could solicit good reviews from friends and family - even themselves, if they faked their identity.
The idea shocks me, to be honest. Shouldn't your work stand or fall on its merits, rather than this dodgy networking? It debases the whole system and makes all the reviews - well, pretty useless, really, unless you know who gave it.
Of course, as an author I can sympathise with the idea of getting bad reviews. But I don't think getting your mates to vote for you ever made anyone a better writer. And I'll be taking all Amazon reviews with a much larger pinch of salt from now on.