This is a detailing of how things came about with a bullshit reviewer named Dean Martin or @gerrardnum8 on Twitter, and how he was exposed for having a website full of plagiarized reviews.
The idea of fake media has bothered me ever since we started the DRM Gamecast. While we were going at things the legit way, others were buying fake followers, inflating their numbers, botting their twitch account, not writing promised reviews, not streaming promised reviews, etc. etc. In the achievement community, it’s fairly easy to point out who’s legit and who isn’t. One look at an unreleased games page on TrueAchievements.com will uncover at least ten or more people that aren’t doing any form of media or are known bullshitters.
So the whole thing started when I was making a list of fake media people I knew. The list was only about four people long. There was a reason I was doing this, however, I won’t go into detail on the reason why. You will just have to trust that there was a reason and that I wasn’t just doing it for fun. The list included names and brief descriptions of how I knew they were fake.
Then Dean Martin (@gerrardnum8) came into my head. Why? Well Rand al Thor, another person doing things legitimately while surrounded by bullshitters, was asking me how this guy named Dean on Twitter gets all these codes. He ran his account through a fake followers website and it came up they were legit surprisingly enough. 18,000+ followers is a lot! So his website must be decently big then right? Nope. His website, according to a website calculator, averaged about 10 hits a month
— Magic (@MRBlackMagik) February 24, 2016
So I ended up visiting his website (https://gerrardnum8.wordpress.com/), which has now been taken down, to see what’s what. Surprisingly enough he actually had a lot of reviews posted. I didn’t go back all the way, but they went back as far as September 2015. Maybe it was the cynic in me, but I decided to copy and paste one of his paragraphs into a Google search. I think the idea came from the fact that LilMissyCherry had once told me about someone ripping off her entire website, including reviews. Well lo and behold, the paragraph I pasted came up with another review that was almost word for word. So I checked another paragraph, same thing. So I checked another review, same thing.
— Magic (@MRBlackMagik) February 24, 2016
Sure enough, I added him to the list. But I wasn’t done there. I’ve been known to call people out on their bullshit. “Fuck it” I thought, fuck this random guy on Twitter named Dean Martin. So I took a few screenshots of examples and posted it on Twitter. In all the commotion I actually grabbed the wrong comparison shots for one of the examples. There were so many I actually got them mixed up! Not more than a few minutes later Dean “liked” my original tweet and then blocked me. After that it was pretty much over. A few of my followers started to un-follow him and check the site for themselves but nothing more than that. Dean didn’t respond and kept tweeting about his current giveaway.
Then Rand got involved. For whatever reason he decided to run the reviews through a plagiarism site (http://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/). You can enter the link to a review and it checks sentences for uniqueness. Well it turns out every single review he checked was plagiarized. Damn near the whole website.
— Rand al Thor 19 (@Rand_al_Thor_19) February 25, 2016
Now the whole thing blows up on Twitter. People are checking his reviews, calling him out on it, messaging Rand and I to ask how this all started, etc. I think after all the notifications and his follower count started to drop, Dean finally decided it was time to respond. He claimed that none of the reviews were written by him and that he had someone else write them because he didn’t have the time. This other “person”, he says, has since deleted their Twitter account. He also told the guy to put his name at the bottom of the reviews to take some credit but the guy refused.
All lies presumably. But let’s entertain the fact that he’s telling the truth. First of all, having someone else write your reviews for 7+ months while you steadily ask for review codes isn’t any better than plagiarizing. Second of all, just because someone deletes their Twitter account does not mean they no longer exist on planet Earth. The guy doesn’t have a name? An e-mail? A gamertag? Hell, I’m almost positive you can still go to a deleted Twitter accounts page and it will say something like “this account has been deleted”. Last of all, it was Dean’s personal website. How does he not have control over if the guy puts his name at the bottom of the reviews or not? Couldn’t he have forced him to?
— Johnny Zarpentine (@Jzarp43) February 25, 2016
He also claimed the reason he didn’t have time to write his own reviews is because he works 15+ hours a day. So he’s too busy to write a plagiarized review, but not too busy to request for review codes, tweet 60,000+ tweets, play the free games he’s requesting, all on top of sleeping, eating, you know the other things that would take up the remaining 9 hours of his day. Ok buddy.
That’s about the sum of it. You can check out my Twitter account or Rand’s if you want to see full conversations. I wrote this for people that wanted clarification on the matter. But also because I think people like this need to be exposed. There’s always a level of “if you expose it, more people will do it”. But screw that mentality. People are going to find out and do it anyway so why not expose the ones that do? There are hundreds of Dean’s out there, he’s nothing special. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last. I can’t do anything about indie reviewers or PR companies not checking up on the people they hand out review codes to. But what I can do is expose the fake media personnel that I know exist.