Authors Under Attack from a Cyber Bully

First of all this is not about me and my books. So far, this Amazon  “reviewer” has not  targeted any of my books ( I guess there is some advantage to being obscure!), but many of my colleagues have been targeted and I’m hoping with this post to help reverse the damage by shining a bright light on this scurrilous person who goes by the name of Robert Blumenstock.

Mr. Blumenstock ( and I do not believe for one minute this is a real name) has singled out authors of Christian fiction and has given more than 150 one star reviews to their books. Among the fine authors who have been targeted are Irene Hannon, Siri Mitchell, Lynn Austin,Margaret Brownley, Laura Frantz, Deeanne Gist, Shelley Shepard Gray, Robin Lee Hatcher, and Julie Klassen.  Most, but not all, of the the authors are writers of historical romance.

This “reviewer” does not bother to write a single word explaining why he thinks the books in question deserve such a low rating–he simply gives the book one star and then types one letter–the letter z– into the comment field and moves on to the next book.

This person is either an aspiring writer who has been rejected by the publishers who publish these authors’ books and is seeking revenge, or else a person who hates anything associated with the word “Christian.”

Here’s why I believe these one star ratings are bogus: First of all, it makes no sense that a person would continue to read more than 100 books in a genre that has proven so unsatisfying.

Think about it: if you read 5 books, or ten, or a dozen, in the same genre and ALL of them were so bad that you gave them just one star, would you read 90 more books in the same genre?  Secondly, most people who are dissatisfied enough to rate anything one star–be it a book or a bicycle— can’t wait to tell others WHY they are so unhappy. But this “Robert Blumenstock” says nothing,

Amazon won’t remove these negative reviews so it’s up to people of good will to fight back against cyber bullying. If you have read and enjoyed books by ANY of the  authors named above, and have not already done so, please consider posting a positive review on Amazon. Another thing you can do is find “Robert Blumenstock’s”  reviews and where Amazon asks “was this review helpful” check ” No.

It’s a small thing and it won’t stop this person, but such mean-spirited behavior needs to be recognized and neutralized when possible, and  not ignored.




13 thoughts on “Authors Under Attack from a Cyber Bully

  1. Patricia

    I had posted this on my FB wall and someone sent me your blog post, Dorothy. Thank you and I also filed a complaint about him to Amazon. I’m not on his list, but could be soon. I was a victim of a cyber-bully attack a few years ago. I had to work very carefully to prove that I wasn’t having sour grapes about a legitimate review about my novel. In the end, the reviews were pulled when I proved it by the sheer volume. People who appear not to like any fiction should stay out of the book review biz. Let the real fans decide.

  2. C. Dees

    I found Mr. Blumenstock’s Amazon profile and he did 151 reviews on August 27 of this year. Not all of them are one stars, there are a few random ones that are four stars (to keep Amazon from stopping his spamming?), but with the exception of his first review, he only used one letter in his comments. I went through a bunch of his reviews and clicked that they were unhelpful, but I began to notice that they “verified purchase”. That’s even more confusing. If he did purchase and read all of them… Crazy. Why would someone waste their time being so mean?

    1. dorothy Post author

      I noticed those few 4 star reviews, too, and I think those were put there just to make the others seem legit and to avoid raising a red flag at Amazon. The fact that he posted 151 reviews all om the same day is another indication that these are not legitimate, and they are not helpful to other Amazon customers, either. It’s just unfortunate there are people like this out there with nothing better to do.

  3. Connie Stevens

    Dorothy, I agree with your reasoning. This is nothing but an attack on Christian fiction. I’m puzzled that Amazon won’t take them down when all he posts is a single letter “Z”. As for your call for action, if more real readers who enjoy the books would post honest reviews, the sheer numbers would dilute this guy’s single-star. I would imagine the publishers and editors are aware of this person’s attempts to target best-selling Christian fiction authors, and have contacted Amazon–at least I hope so. Thank you for the informative post, frightening those it was.

    1. dorothy Post author

      Connie, I’m not sure if the publishers are aware of it. There is so much stuff out there it’s hard to keep up with it all. But I do hope readers who have enjoyed these authors will help them by posting positive reviews. The single letter Z does not help any reader decide whether to purchase a book, and is harmful to authors since those one star ratings dilute the better ratings. It’s just mean.

    1. dorothy Post author

      Meagan, I don’t know. I thought there was a minimum number of words required for an Amazon review, but apparently not. Unless Amazon has not seen his “reviews”. How does typing “z” help anyone?

  4. JoAnn Durgin

    I noticed this person’s so-called review (little “z”) on an author friend’s book (thankfully, none of my books were affected…yet). She’s an indie writer who writes popular contemporary books, and I also noticed a few contemporary CBA Christian romance authors on the apparently “targeted” list by this “reviewer.” Then I looked at the other reviews to see if they were similar, and sure enough (as you’ve said), they were. I noticed a couple of “s” reviews, as well. I called and spoke with an Amazon customer service rep but was told there was nothing they could do about it unless the reviews were “offensive.” I’ve noticed one-word reviews on Amazon lately and confirmed with the rep that it’s acceptable…even one LETTER now, apparently. The definition of “offensive” in my own mind continued to grow as I scrolled through the 20-page list of this person’s mostly one-star reviews (although I noted the occasional four-star reviews). The Amazon rep also told me my complaint would be forwarded to the “appropriate department” (but she was vague as to which department that was) and that any follow-up action would be taken and I would be notified. When I noted that this person’s reviews all said “verified purchase,” I was disheartened but also rather surprised. For that reason alone, Amazon probably won’t remove them. But, yes, if enough readers complain, perhaps Amazon might at least consider taking action.

    1. dorothy Post author

      Jo Ann, I appreciate your post here and your time in investigating this. These reviews smack of a deliberate attempt to smear an entire genre ( mainly historical romance) and a group of authors who write for the inspirational market. I find it highly unlikely that anyone–let alone a man— would take time to read 151 romances that he hated!! Who does that?? Only someone with an agenda. All of these one star reviews are malicious and harmful and Amazon has posted policies prohibiting such. I hope they will review this and see it for what it is..a case of cyber bullying. Thanks so much for weighing in!

  5. Heather

    There’s no way that this person purchased that many books. I wonder if this person hacked into Amazon or something. Who would spend that much money on so many books they hate? I think we should all call up Amazon and report that we think they’ve been hacked. Maybe that will actually get them to do something.

  6. Heather

    I was pleased to find just now that they’re all gone except for his 4-star review of a Flash Drive using actual words!

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