Category Archives: writing

Thank you, kind reviewers

We all know that in today’s world, any frustrated loser can fill any comment section with insults, nastiness, and lies.

Just look at YouTube—search for any great piece of music, from classical to contemporary, and you’ll see idiotic hostility and inexplicably high numbers next to the “thumbs down” button. I mean, who the hell would give a thumbs down to Glenn Gould?

This is also true for reviews on Amazon. Look up your favorite book and you’re bound to see awful reviews by people who probably haven’t read it. “This was assigned in a class and I couldn’t get through it” seems to be a common one.

In fact, last year Amazon changed its rating system because of thousands of negative reviews left on Hillary Clinton’s book Stronger Together: A Blueprint for America’s Future, among others. Now reviews by “verified purchases” are given much more value in the total accumulated one to five stars.

Most of those people never read her book; the reviews were motivated purely by politics. And I’m not here to defend Clinton, merely point out the problem. This also applies to Trump’s Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America and Trump: The Art of the Deal.

Netflix too has changed its rating system, possibly at the request of Amy Shumer, who received loads of one-star ratings on her most recent standup special, which she claimed was because of her jokes against Trump.

So, with all this happening, let me say how nice it is to read positive reviews of my guidebooks on Amazon!

I woke up this morning to the ninth five-star review of my guide to San Cristobal and Palenque, Chiapas. Thank you, thank you very much.

And while there are a few critical reviews of my older (but recently updated, in March 2017) guidebook to Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, most are positive, thoughtful and insightful. And even some of the negative ones aren’t fully negative, but also add in a little bit of positivity.

I think it’s easy to find the motivation to write a negative review—and I’m talking about genuine reviews, not the ones written by lunatics who never bought the product. It’s understandable: You bought something, you didn’t like it, and now you can tell it to the world.

(By the way, I consider the critical reviews on my Cancun guide to be genuine reviews. If you wrote one, please understand that I’m not talking about you when I talk about “frustrated losers,” and please contact me so I can send you the updated version! I’m sure you’ll like it better.)

Similarly, why leave a positive review? When you buy something, you expect it to be good, so most people wouldn’t bother to take the time to review it.

So, just in case any of you happen to read this, thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to write a positive review, especially in this time of so much negativity and so many platforms to express it. For an independent writer like me, positive reviews and comments are hugely important, and I appreciate them very much.

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