Adverse Publicity has its Merits

By being a book publisher I have found that when a book is ignored by the critics the likelihood of it being a success is severely diminished, whereas a bad review does not necessarily kill its prospects of becoming a commercial success.

It is one thing many business owners simply dread: receiving a one star online review. But far from being the death knell, a study has found that a bad review on a website like Amazon or TripAdvisor may actually be good for business. This is because customers become suspicious when faced with a perfect set of five star reviews for a product. This seems to apply to books in equal measure, but a couple of disgruntled users can make a glowing list of reviews seem more authentic the researchers found – and the pickier the complaint the better.

The scientists from the Open University of Israel and Tel Aviv University found that a camera with positive reviews became less desirable when a one star comment was added criticising its ability to take photos in low light. However, its popularity surged when there was a review criticising its colour. The team says this shows that while a relevant negative view may harm a product, any other type of sniping may actually drive people towards buying it.

It goes to prove that a bad review on the whole is far better than no review at all. Ignoring a book or a product could bring more untold harm than we expect, for lack of attention in everything is more deadly than we usually disdainfully consider.


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