Sorry all! We’ve been a little busy lately and haven’t been able to post everything we wanted to this week. But before we get into Amazon Reviews As Attack Weapons, we want to share with you a little piece of information.
You all remember our twitter stalker Amanda Welling, right? You know the one who sent us about a million crazy twitter messages while she was waiting in line for concert tickets?
Yeah, that one.
Well, we just received this screenshot from Carroll that he found on GenX’s blog. It’s a shot Gen took of her 10 cent donation to the STGRB treasury.
Athena informed me that out of all the donations we’ve received so far, only one was a ten cent donation (which Athena declined) sent from a Jonathan Welling (look at the dates on both shots – January 11th):
So, it appears that Amanda Welling (aka GenX) used her husband’s paypal account to waste 10 cents.
Carroll was right. Amanda is GenX. Good call, Carroll!
Oh, by the way, Athena wants all the trolls to know that any donation under a dollar will automatically be declined. We’re not going to waste our time with mentally unstable trolls who obsess over us while waiting in concert lines. Time to get a life, girls.
Anyhow, moving on…
Our post for today is about how reviewers have been using Amazon reviews to attack books and/or the authors that write them. And in some cases, to attack other reviews/reviewers. Here is an exchange in one our recent blog posts, between Anon-a-bus, Another Anon, and Athena.
If there is something brewing here you might want to check out. A relatively unknown author in m/m romance released a book about a week ago and now has like 40 five star glowing reviews. That never happens. One person gave it a one star review and questioned the validity of the other reviews…and the honesty. Now his “fans” are beginning to rally around him. What I think is interesting is that the reviewer is getting bullied…or might be getting bullied this time. I’m not sure yet. And the overall picture any way you look at it is amazon still promotes this kind of corruption.
Hmmn, maybe not bullying as such but something very close, which just reinforces what the reviewer said. There is no way all those other reviewers would know about the 1-star review, especially all at once, unless they were told or they all checked the book’s reviews daily. Who does that? There is no alert for reviews.
We know a ton of reviewers who are that obsessed. Wendy Darling for one. There are dozens more. Fans do check their reviews and they also check the books they’ve reviewed as well. This is how review wars on Amazon get started all the time.
Athena is right about obsessive fans/reviewers. As a result, it seems that Amazon reviews may be losing credibility, as Goronwy says here:
This article actually first appeared in the NYT, where it’s received almost two hundred comments. Check them out: it really looks like Amazon reviews are losing credibility, and not because of ‘badly behaving authors’
This was an article published on January 20, 2013 about a book written by Randall Sullivan, titled: Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson. Apparently a group of Michael Jackson’s fans who call themselves Michael Jackson’s Rapid Response Team to Media Attacks organized a planned assault on the author and his book through the Amazon review system. The article states:
In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon’s briefly removing the book from sale.
“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed — and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”
The article then goes on to say:
But the book’s publisher, Grove Press, said the Amazon review system was being abused in an organized campaign. “We’re very reluctant to interfere with the free flow of discourse, but there should be transparency about people’s motivations,” said Morgan Entrekin, president of Grove/Atlantic, Grove’s parent company.
And how does Amazon respond? Just as we thought they would:
Amazon said the fans’ reviews had not violated its guidelines but declined further comment.
What do we think?
We have addressed, over and over, this problem of people abusing the Amazon review system to attack others, a problem which has been largely ignored by Amazon. Instead, they seem to think removing five-star reviews with no rhyme or reason is improving their review system.
What we think is that Amazon needs to change it’s book reviewing policy. First of all, they should require that the reviewer has actually read the book, or part of it, before writing a review. Secondly, they should also require that the review stay on topic, that is, discuss the book itself and its content. Anything else (i.e. an attack on the author, or on another reviewer, or on another review, etc.) should be prohibited/deleted.
Book reviews should be about the book. Period.