Thursday, August 13, 2015

More 'Kimjongilia' Drama

Hillary Choi's hot new look.
This just gets weirder and weirder (see previous post on Goodreads fake reviewers). When I originally wrote that post, I hadn't yet had the conversation with 'Loki', and I updated this post with further activity from various of the players in this little drama.

Today I discovered that 'J Yoon', 'Hillary Choi' and 'Book Readers' have locked down their accounts as Private, to conceal the dates of their account creation and the lists of their reviewed books. As well, 'Hillary Choi' deleted the conversation between me and 'Loki'. Lastly, all three have changed their account icons: 'J Yoon' is using a stock image purchased by an eye clinic; 'Hillary Choi' is using the image of a "hot Japanese girl", despite her Chinese surname and claiming to come from Korea; 'Book Readers' is using an image that appears to support gay rights but could be interpreted to be a slur against their detractors.

Additionally, "Victor Fox" recently tweeted an article from Psychology Today on Internet trolls:
Usually he just tweets promotions for his books or assorted cartoons that mock the conditions of modern American life, so this is a step away from that. I notice that he has employed a Dublin, Ireland, based company that tweets identical messages promoting his book, using multiple Twitter accounts (@TryNewBooks, @LPOBryan, @findnewbooks, @letsgosocial, @yournewbook, etc.). Nothing wrong with that, but that's also got to cost money (on top of self-publishing, hiring fake reviewers and ad space).

And while he deleted his lorem ipsum-heavy blog, he has not yet removed his Services page. This is another template page that seems to be an example of design for creative agency websites, again fleshed out with lorem ipsum, and it's inapplicable to Victor Fox. It's not linked to from his sidebar menu: I found it by accident when searching a book review on his site.

Just doing a site: search on Google turns up all sorts of template pages in cache, some of which have been removed, and others haven't. Here's a sample page on Process:

And then there's this bizarre "Superdollz Showroom" page:

It looks familiar to me: many of these pages were referred to in the former blog that has been deleted. And as I poke through the other pages, like business archives and art archives, to say nothing of the portfolio, I'm discovering the hazard of buying a theme set like this. Obviously Fox's website was stocked with dozens and dozens of pages he doesn't know exist. Now this author has to go through and laboriously delete all these extra pages, when the very point of going to a theme designer was to work around exactly this kind of web design hassle. Word to the wise.

This is now an interesting study on what an independent writer has to go through to promote himself. A path error on this website showed me it's a WordPress account; the sidebar image comes from Qode Themes, a WP-theme design company in Belgrade (selling themes for $49 or $59); Fox's book giveaway app is built by a Polish company with not a great reputation. There are lots of services for everything an ambitious writer wants to achieve, but who can take the time to ensure exactly what you're getting, or what the effects will be? Who wants to take that kind of time?

Victor Fox went down one path in self-publication, and I went down another: I just post on Facebook or Twitter, once a month or even less. No images, no referrals, not even on Amazon or Goodreads. It hasn't yielded a lot of success, whereas Fox (whoever he may really be) is doing much better, all told. Can't argue with results.

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