Netgalley Installs Yes/No Voting Button and My Heart Dies A Little

Bloggers, I know you love your Netgalley. Or, if you're anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with them. Love? Hey, free books and you get them early. All you have to do is review them and you do that anyway, right? Hate? Well, it's self-loathing really. Personally, they test my willpower and suddenly I'm requesting and not touching my physical tbr pile in over a year! I love the fact that Netgalley is a separate entity from the usual book haunts. It is all about getting books into the hands of reviewers, librarians and book sellers so they, in turn, can get the word out. Netgalley has been a safe haven away from the sometimes drama filled world of review/reviewer/blogger drama and competition. We request our books and we walk away, hoping for a few requests to come through. We've all been on the same playing field. But after receiving an email from them two days in a row, I fear things may be changing. Please tell me I am wrong.

If you have not seen the email, here is a link to their blog post:

As of August 14, 2017, Netgalley has decided to start posting all submitted reviews on the book page which is a wee bit weird and unnecessary (if you ask me) but that is not all. If that were all I would've gone on with my day. I have nothing against them posting all the reviews even if I do find it a bit strange unless you're a librarian or buyer with a limited budged hoping to escape buying duds for your reading/buying public. But the typical blogger is requesting a book months before publication and likely hoping to find a gem without being influenced by outside reviews. At least, that's how I use Netgalley. I don't visit Netgalley to read reviews. That's why blogs, Goodreads and Booklikes are around.

So, though the review posting seems useless on a site such as Netgalley, my problem lies with the fact that they've installed a voting button so anyone who has a Netgalley account or suddenly creates one can up or downvote your reviews. ANONYMOUSLY. Without leaving any sort of comment on why they found your review helpful or not. This is troubling in so many ways. They don't like your face? They vote NO. They hate the book you loved (and vice versa)? They vote NO. They want all the ARC's? They vote NO.

I've tested the button by voting on my own review (yes, it allowed me to do that, ugh, who doesn't think their reviews are helpful?!) and the review of another blogger. I voted yes on both, then logged out, was able to look at the page, and the votes (either up or down) are not public knowledge. I also asked several other Goodreaders to log in and see if they could see any voting action. They couldn't. My question then, what is the ultimate purpose of the voting and who will have the ability to see the votes? Is it just there for funzies or is it there for publishers to see when they're distributing a limited number of ARC's? And if this is the case, will votes become a factor in a publisher deciding who will be approved for an ARC? This is pure speculation as of today because Netgalley is refusing to address any of these questions by monitoring comments and refusing to post them on their blog post. They've also deleted one comment that I know of so they are actively choosing NOT to address this issue and that worries me. See the Goodreads thread HERE if you'd like to read more about the many reader/blogger concerns (it's not just me, really!).

I've been reviewing for a long time and I've seen some ugly things go down in our little book world and it will be a very sad thing if Netgalley becomes a toxic place due to competition to get approved for the best ARC's or campaigns to knock out reviewers who don't always give five stars. I wonder, is Netgalley truly unaware of the dangers of downvoting (or upvoting) that have basically made Amazon's reviews become untrustworthy and also caused countless internet scandals including paid for reviews, campaigns to upvote/down vote reviews and on and on? It's revolting stuff and they can't possibly be that naive. Can they? Am I worried for no reason? I sure hope so but it seems to me like they are opening the floodgates for a whole mess of trouble.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this all worry for naught? Should I spend my time reading through my tbr pile, hoping for the best and doing this instead?

Please ease my mind or share your fears and have a great weekend! 


  1. I don't like the yes/no button at all. I don't understand the purpose of it and in my mind it doesn't make sense on netgalley. I dislike the yes/no voting on amazon so I hate to see it implemented anywhere else.

    1. It's such a source of potential trouble. How can't they realize that?

  2. I don't like it either. It's sooo not helpful. I hate that it's cropping up in more places.

    1. They are getting a lot of negative comments on their Facebook page so perhaps they'll rethink this update.

  3. I don't like that idea at all. It sounds like they might be bringing in more limited numbers of ARCs and maybe those with the most positive responses will be getting all the goods. Call me paranoid but that is the only reason I can see for bringing it in. Like you said Bark, who gets to see these votes? Will people compete to get better results and ask friends to join just to vote their stuff up? It confirms my decision to avoid Netgalley!

  4. I havent seen the changes myself when I go on the website but I've been following the updates on the Goodreads Netgalley group you're also in (how I found this post!) I disagree with having downvotes - what's the point? Harbors negativity. Worried it will affect approval chances too.

  5. Downvoting? To what purpose?

    With the time-suck of finding and managing all the ARCs wanted and handling our own reviews -- just how many NetGalley members are going to bother reading and voting reviews from others?

    Isn't NetGalley just asking for hordes of people to join up just to vote because some campaign got underway to up or die vote something? There are so many campaigns all over the blogosphere and social media urging that (plus folk actually selling and buying such votes to suppress consumer speech).

    Who is NetGalley thinking will be voting? To what purpose? Who asked for it (beyond the current trend of everything getting yes/no/liked/up/downed)? Do they honestly want people joining just to vote? Do publishers/authors give a flying gig about yes/no voting from other reviewers versus their own opinions on the reviews?

    (It would make more sense to me if hidden from public view publishers/authors eith submissions on NetGalley voted with votes visible only to each other -- except don't see any of them really wanting to tell each other that "hey, this reviewer has been wonderful us so everyone solicit their reviews"...)

  6. Hmm yeah I don't see an upside and definitely some downsides. Hopefully they'll scale this back or at least answer questions at some point! As someone who hardly ever uses NG I don't really have a lot of experience there, but I do scroll through looking at what's coming from time to time. And I was hoping to use it more in the future.

    tHanks for sharing, this is the first I'd heard of it.

  7. I got the email and really didn't read it through or think that much about it but worried about it becoming public like that. I guess it's entirely their right and maybe helps others find a book to review? Like perusing Goodread's before buying but I don't really like it.

    But the voting thing feels like yet another popularity contest that helps decide if you should be given a book or not. What is the purpose if they're not doing it for that reason?

    I don't know - I need to look into it a bit more but for now I agree with everything you've said.

    For What It's Worth

  8. I agree, it sounds like a huge popularity contest. And the yes/no button - PITA! I've got enough to do by reading books, blogging and following other bloggers and maintaining my Goodreads. I sure don't feel like reading reviews on Netgalley.

  9. I posted an update that makes my heart grow colder. If things go the way I fear they might, I may be safe from the siren call of Netgalley and finally start tackling my tbr pile! Still stinks though :(

  10. Not a fan at all. When I read the email I thought we would be able to see the votes and thought it was silly. I mean why on NG?? I need to check out your update.

  11. I am definitely not a fan of a Yes/No voting system at all. I can't understand why they would want to implement something like that when we don't even get to see the votes at all, unless it's going to publisher. Which isn't very fair at all. Like you said, someone could go through and "no" vote on everyone else's posts just to make their odds better of getting ARCs. Or just because they disagree with you.

  12. Maybe everyone will just ignore the stupid downbutton then.

    I don't read reviews on Netgalley at all anyway, so I personally won't look. I read the reviews on Goodreads and blogs. I just use Netgalley as a requesting tool


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