According to facts uncovered by Warren Cole Smith at World Magazine, Mars Hill Church of Seattle contracted a firm called Result Source Inc. (RSI) to manipulate bestseller rankings for Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage.
The New York Times and other list compilers employ strict rules and detailed guidelines meant to prevent authors from buying their way onto best-seller lists. But firms like RSI trade on knowing the way around those guidelines, charging a fee to rank their client’s books on the best-seller lists. (In Mars Hill’s case, the fee was at least $25,000.)
Critics of Mars Hill see this practice as deceptive and an improper use of ministry funds. Critics of Warren Cole Smith assert that authors hire firms like RSI because it is legal and is considered standard business practice.
In Driscoll’s case, RSI’s campaign was successful. The promotional value of the book being a #1 best-seller was achieved. Driscoll’s official bio currently reads “Pastor Mark is the author of over 15 books, including the #1 New York Times best-selling Real Marriage.”