Category: Amazon


Apparently, Amazon is cracking down on the discussion forums and its problem with troll infestation.  If you go to any discussion forum you will see this at the bottom of the page:

NoMoreDiscussions

And how do the trolls feel about this?

Not too happy.

NoMoreDiscussions2

We take this as a good omen.  This is a step in the right direction, to a forum-free, and thus troll-free, Amazon.

If any of you haven’t been following the brouhaha regarding Ryan T. Anderson’s marriage book, here’s a link and some screenshots describing what happened to it in the Amazon bookstore (and yes, as you’ve probably already guessed, it has to do with trolls swarming on a book and leaving nasty one-star reviews without even having read the material):

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The good news?  Amazon has finally removed the offending reviews.

AmazonPullsNegReviews

Excerpt

Now, STGRB doesn’t take a public stance on current marriage laws.  We consider that to be a personal and private decision.  What we are against is bully reviews that are meant to attack the author and that are posted online in ignorance (meaning that the reviewer isn’t informed on the book because she or he never read it.)  We feel this was a good decision on Amazon’s part and a step in the right direction.

Ever since our post on Randi Harper’s Bully Review, the Twitterverse has exploded.  It appears we have stumbled upon a rather nasty bully who has been at this for a while and who – wait for it – is “the CEO of The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative(OAPI) and partner of the Crash Override Network.”  It is also listed on her Facebook profile.

Today, we’ve been inundated with emails and comments on our blog about Randi’s online behavior:

Just to let you guys know, Randi Harper is the CEO of The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative(OAPI) and partner of the Crash Override Network(CON, yes, that’ really the acronym) against online bullying and has as least one “ally” at Twitter support who bans people she(Randi) deems as offensive..

Yes, the CEO an anti-online abuse organization is the same one pictured in the above tweets/reviews harassing and bullying people and is supported by Twitter..

Let that sink in..

And this:

Randi Harper has been at this for quite a while, and not only with book authors:
http://www.ship2block20.com/hidden-face-hypocrisy-randi-harper/
http://www.ship2block20.com/the-hidden-face-of-hypocrisy-randi-harper-part-2/
http://www.ship2block20.com/the-hidden-face-of-hypocrisy-randi-harper-part-3/

Regarding Ginmar, I don’t know if you know about this case/author, she was apparently following him around for the better part of several months and he was desperate:
https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/35dnwj/desperate_for_advice_how_to_deal

And this:

As someone who has also been targeted by Randi and some of her sadly deranged followers (they have threatened to rape me, throw acid in my face, put me in a woodchipper alive, etc.), I am very glad that Stop the Good Read Bullies has brought this to surface.

She is indeed a very well-connected individual, such as within the Twitter community, and abuses her “anti-bully/harassment” power to perpetrate the highest forms of bullying and harassment. I ask that you please remain vigilant and cautious with this as she will now not only target this author, but STGRB and Ms. Anne Rice for speaking out about this. (In fact, I know she’s already called out Ms. Rice as I’ve seen the tweet.)

Furthermore, as a writer myself, I’m glad that your organization exists to protect blossoming artists from threats that they may not be able to manage/handle themselves. Thank you.

And this:

Harper is one of the truly evil people in this world. I don’t throw that adjective around lightly either. I’ll call someone terrible, disgusting, twisted, as that often reflects the core of the individual at the time. But people can change from being terrible. I’m not so sure about evil and that’s what’s deep within Harper. She actively seeks out people to target and harass. Finds the weakest person that’s gone through emotional situations and demands her followers attack them based on falsehoods she constructs.

In the author’s case he’s successful in his voice where she failed. He’s making money on the same principals Randi claims she stands behind. This would normally mean she should be happy for him and the cause, women in technology being heard. Instead Harper’s evil bares all and she attacks him like a rabid dog using her pack of mongrels as a weapon. Its this sort of action that truly defines someone from just terrible to truly evil, a scourge upon the world.

This sounds familiar.  It sounds like a lot of the bullies we’ve dealt with in the past.  They all have the same MO.  They relentlessly bully others and if anyone criticizes them, they turn around and accuse those people of harassment.  Hilariously, Randi has even accused KFC (yes Kentucky Fried Chicken) of stalking and harassing.

According to the article:

Randi Harper herself is no paragon of civic virtue. She has been incarcerated on multiple occasions for what she claims were traffic offences but around which much more salacious rumours swirl, say games industry insiders. Harper denied on Saturday night that there was any more to her arrests, or the time she has spent behind bars, than her driving violations.

Wow!  Just wow!

We heard about all of this today when, apparently overnight, Twitter erupted into a war after Anne Rice tweeted about our article on Randi’s bully review.

AnneRiceRandiHarperCartoon

Since then, Randi has taken to Twitter to revile her:

SpaceMidget

She’s even trying to strong-arm Amazon into re-publishing her nasty review:

HarperFightsRemoval

Good luck, Randi.  You’ll need it.

So… let this be fair warning.  Please, give this bully a very wide berth and steer clear of her.  It’s easy to have an enjoyable experience online as long as you know who to avoid.

Another bully who has made her way into the book world thanks to her friend, Ginmar, has recently had one of her bully reviews pulled from Amazon.  Here’s a shot we got of the review before it was pulled:

RandisBullyReview

It appears that Amazon is doing the right thing and taking steps to make sure customer reviews “constructive and useful to other customers.”

rharperSo, please, whenever you see a review that is a personal attack on an author, report it immediately to Amazon.  The best way to report a bully review is by calling Amazon (1-888-280-3321), or by using their Contact Us or Customer Service page.

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We just received a few interesting tweets of Randi Harper, the author of the book, and a friend of the author.  We’re not even going to comment on it.  We think Randi’s words speak for themselves.

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Well, this is definitely a big win for STGRB and everyone who supports our blog!  This was published last week, and it looks as though Amazon is going after sites that sell phony Amazon reviews:

AmazonFakeReviews

Bravo, Amazon!  You are finally doing the right thing.

Not only that, you all remember that bully review TheBunny posted saying an author should be shot?  Ya know, just after she said that STGRB was about “stopping bad reviews?”

*snort*

Well, that review was reported to Amazon and Amazon promptly removed it.  If you click the link, it is no longer there, and we received this screenshot verifying that she didn’t remove it herself:

TheBunnyDidntRemoveReview

Isn’t it interesting how she shows no remorse for saying that someone should be killed?  That’s very telling.

Anyhow, kudos to Amazon for doing the right thing.  We sincerely hope this trend continues.

Gaming the System

We were given this screenshot today of an Amazon customer who gets offended when authors write series.  So instead of waiting until a series is written and finished before starting it, guess what this person does?  Buys the book, reads it, and returns it for a refund.  Oh, and after a year, when Amazon has disabled the account’s refund option, this person just opens a new account.  This is typical bully mentality.  Their solution when they become unhappy is to steal books from authors.  We urge our readers that whenever they see something like this, to report it to Amazon asap.

StealingBooks

Anne Rice talks about her life, her writing, and Prince Lestat in an interview with Q on CBC.  If you scroll to the 12:50 position of the interview, you will hear her thoughts on the Amazon bullies.

Well said, Anne!

Note: for all the bullies reading this and watching the video, pay close attention to where she says she ISN’T against honest reviewing.  But of course we all know you will willfully ignore this and continue to tell people that she is against negative reviews, which is a complete lie.

We were just recently tipped off to this Facebook post by an author who was bullied on Amazon to a degree that we haven’t yet seen.  Down-rating a book to “punish” an author, calling the author a b**** or other derogatory names, or even making efforts to destroy their career are bad enough, but this is just unacceptable (we’ve blacked out certain parts to protect author identity):

Harassed

Reviews such as these need to be flagged and reported to Amazon right away.  This kind of author bullying should never be tolerated.

HWA’s Letter to Jeff Bezos

We were just alerted to the Horror Writer’s Association’s official letter to Jeff Bezos regarding the bullying and trolling happening on Amazon:

HWA

Well said, HWA!  It’s not about ensuring positive reviews.  It’s never been about that.  It’s always been about protecting authors, and publishers, from bullying and abuse.

Jeff, if you’re listening, please do something about these bullies.  It’s long overdue!

Well, well.  It appears as though the bullies are growing tired of being called out for their behavior.  What is interesting, though, is how they describe their feelings on the issue.  We were just recently tipped off to this post written by Barks & Bites on BookLikes:

Header

In today’s post, we’re not going to talk about why their bullying-fatigue is a good thing.  We all know why it is.  What we are going to talk about is the keen insight into the bully mentality the article provides — the erroneous assumptions the bullies make and the myths that they create with their propaganda.  We’ll start by dissecting the text bit by bit.

 

“I think I have reached my limit. I am tired of the hypocritical thin skinned authors and their hysterics. I am tired of their ridiculous and uninformed kiss ass supporters. I am tired of reading shitty books. I am tired of it all and I don’t see any of this going away any time soon.”

Erroneous assumption #1:  All authors are hypocritical and thin-skinned who write shitty books and who fly into hysterics at the slightest criticism.

Our response:  Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

“New authors and ancient authors alike refuse to accept that their writing is a PRODUCT the moment they charge me for it. It’s not an effing baby.”

Erroneous assumption #2:  All authors view their books as babies and all the bully attacks on these authors are the result of these authors complaining about legitimate book reviews criticizing their babies.

Our response:  This assumption is one that the bullies continue to make and promote over and over  In fact, 99.9% of the attacks that we’ve seen have had nothing to do with reviews (i.e. legit critical reviews).  As one of our blog readers commented here:

All together now, and once more: THIS IS NOT ENTIRELY ABOUT THE REVIEWS. And you seem to be trying to make this all about self-published authors.

Anne Rice is not self-published. I’m sure many of the authors on the Horror Writers Assoc. Facebook page who support this petition are not-self published. But it’s easier to think of things in black-and-white, isn’t it?  i.e. “Self-published authors write shitty books that are unreadable, they can’t take criticism, therefore they are the ones having the tantrums and causing the problems.  The end.”

This type of thinking paints every self-published author with the same brush–which is patently unfair. And It’s so much more complex than that. You did touch on this issue being the fault of both sides, and I commend you for that.

I cringe inside when I see any author going off the rails in a tantrum about anything.  It’s unprofessional and gives us all a bad name. It never helps the situation.  It usually results in their blacklisting, which may or may not be appropriate. Maybe they aren’t mature enough to handle the criticism that comes with publishing and should retire until they grow a spine. I don’t know and won’t speak to that. I don’t think there’s anything that can be done about it.  I only know that when my children were small, ignoring the tantrums was the best course of action.

And yes, many self-published books are crap.  I downloaded two yesterday, read a page or two, and deleted them.  But here’s the new reality: You might as well settle in and get comfortable or stop reading altogether.  Self-publishing is not going away.

Just this past week, Kristy [redacted] was bullied off of her own Facebook page before the release of her third book, [redacted]. It wasn’t about a bad review. It appears to be a vendetta about something personal from her past. The book bloggers over there were outraged and passed around graphics and headers that said “I hate bullies. I support K. Bromberg” and somesuch. Ironically, the brouhaha may have gotten her so much attention, she hit the New York Times bestseller’s list (though maybe she would’ve hit it anyway). Go, Kristy!  You deserve it. I support you fully.

Elle [redacted] attempted to have a dialogue about bullying on her own Goodreads blog this month. Again, this wasn’t about a review.  She was swarmed, shouted down, and one-starred as a result. She made some beautiful points ( i believe she said she was a lawyer, and I could tell), but in the end, it didn’t matter. The thread is still there, though closed.  They twisted her words and drove her off HER OWN SPACE. You may or may not have agreed with what she said, but do you at least agree that she has a right to HER OWN OPINION and she has a right to talk about that opinion on her own blog without being bashed for it?  It was a fabulous opportunity for dialogue, but some of these people don’t want dialogue.  They want uniform consent. And they want to fight.

What’s really amusing is that it’s the same hardcore bully names every time.  Every single time.  There are maybe 20? 30? When I see their names next to a one-star rating, I automatically discount it, because I know it’s more than likely a revenge rating. They have zero credibility. They don’t appear to read much.  They wield the one star like a weapon because it’s the only power these pathetic little people have.

And eeally, fellow authors: It’s just a star. One little star. And they may say something mean, but you can always have a primal scream in your closet.  Not everything needs to come to the internetz.  If your book is good, you’ll bounce back.  I promise.

It’s true that the worst of the worst have been thrown off of Goodreads and are now marginalized on a forum in an obscure book catalogue website. But last summer I watched these a-holes go after authors with torches and pitchforks, howling for blood, and it wasn’t always about an author tantrum over a review. Sometimes the authors were  baited to respond.  The thrill of the hunt. I don’t know, maybe it makes them feel relevant or something.  And the delicious irony about all of this is that the bully ringleader is a self-published author.

Then there was poor Lauren [redacted], who simply asked “How can someone one-star a book that isn’t even released yet?” She was hounded off of Goodreads, then CHASED her to her Twitter page, where she had the most vile of things said to her.  To be fair, at that point, Lauren should’ve just shut up. I kept thinking “God Lauren, close your page and go away for a couple of days!” You can’t reason with this mob and you can’t talk to them. She tried to do both, and failed miserably, giving them ammunition to fire back in the process.  In the end, they made it entirely her fault, but I was there from the beginning and saw what happened.  It started with an innocent, perfectly reasonable question, not a review.

The bullies will deny that anyone ever physically threatened an author, but I saw a post for Veronica R.’s last book where the reviewer threatened to throat-punch her if they ever saw her. I don’t know- maybe that isn’t a threat of physical violence in their book. It is in mine. Veronica tried to soothe the animals, but was shouted down. All this over an ending they didn’t like. Same thing with Laurel H..

There are just some psychotic, nasty, ugly little people out there who hide behind the anonymity of the internet, but I don’t think requiring real names on Amazon is going to help very much.  The only thing that’s going to help is when some of these people start getting prosecuted for the things they do–both reviewers AND authors if appropriate– and I think we can see that starting to happen.  I have hope.

 

“And it might even be ugly as hell and not at all ready for public consumption. I’m not here to coddle and promote. I’m not here to worry about an authors debt, their sick family or their tender feelings.”

Erroneous assumption #3:  All authors expect reviewers to coddle them because their lives are so hard.

Our response:  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

“We all have shit to deal with but most of us have to deal with careers that dole out criticism when we do what they perceive as a crappy job and we take it because that’s how the world works.”

Erroneous assumption #4:  Everyone in the world has a crappy job where they are verbally abused by their bosses and just have to take it because that’s life.

Our response:  If you have a job like this, QUIT!  This is not the way the world works and life is WAY too short to deal with crap like this.  Quit this job and find another one.

 

“I want to go back to the days when we could share our thoughts about books with each other any way we damn well pleased. But now that can only happen face to face. Thank the gods for my local reading group.”

Erroneous assumption #5:  The bullies only ever shared their thoughts about books and nothing else.

Our response:  This makes us laugh every time they say it.  How many times did they say this when GR announced their anti-bullying policy stating that the bullies could no longer talk about author behavior?  Also, we have shown more than enough evidence that the bullies were never interested in talking about books.  Their main agenda was to search out, hunt down, and destroy the people they labeled BBA.  It was (and still is for some) their crusade to perpetuate this BBA myth and root out all those who are evil in their eyes.

 

“I just wasted too much time reading the Amazon Authors Who Do Not Want Anonymous Reviews thread and I am still in disbelief over some of the things I read there. I then did something I’ve never been infuriated enough to do. I deleted three five star reviews for books by [redacted] who seems to forget that she’s written under an alias. One of those books, [redacted], only had three reviews which included mine.”

Our response:  This is EXACTLY what we are talking about.  B&B just got done whining about how this is all about book reviews and then punishes an author for signing a petition, which has nothing to do with the author whining about one of her reviews.

 

“This made me sad and angry.  I loved those effing books and recommended them to friends often but those days are done. I can no longer separate the person from the work. I can no longer be a part of this petty bullshit.”

Erroneous assumption #5 & #6:  The bullies at one point could separate the author from the book.  The bullies at one point were never part of petty bullshit.

Our response:  This whole thing started on Amazon and Goodreads BECAUSE the bullies could never separate the author from the book.  They are the ones who started the petty bullshit to begin with.

 

“I can no longer support an author who thinks so little of her readers that she’d expose them to potential danger by forcing them to review using their real name in some misguided attempt to further her career and to keep herself safe from “threats and bullies”.  If you can make  sense out of this line of reasoning please let me know because I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.”

Erroneous assumption #7 & #8:  Reviewers will be in danger if they have to review under their real names.  Removing anonymity won’t keep authors from being bullied.

Our response to #7:  We’ve published posts covering attacks on reviewers, but they were very mild.  We have never seen an attack on a reviewer to the degree and severity of attacks we’ve seen on authors.  Not even close.  One of our blog readers said it better than we ever could:

“Another salient point in this blog was the assumption that authors who want the reviewer to reveal her true name want her to be the victim of harm. The assumption being apparently that authors harm people who review under their real names which of course is totally false — a myth perpetrated by the bullies, that authors are “bad” people who must be policed by anonymous gangs. There were ridiculous assumptions like that throughout the blog and the responses. These people have created the myth of “the badly behaved author” to justify their unwholesome hobby and their absurd and relentless bullying. No one signing the petition has shown disrespect for anonymous reviewers. We all know that thousands of authentic reviews have been posted on Amazon by anonymous customers. This is about the ABUSE of anonymity in recent years by obsessive hobbyists with a low opinion of authors and a need to abuse authors, to bully them.”

Our response to #8:  Then why are the bullies so against it?  There’s a reason they don’t want to review under their real names and it’s not because they fear being in danger.  What they fear is being held accountable for their actions.

 

“They may think they’re winning but if most of us stop sharing our thoughts, our 1 star as well as our five star reviews, who the hell will be left to review besides their family and their sycophants? And none of us are dumb enough to fall for that shit more than once.  Who will get the word out about their books?”

Erroneous assumption #9:  The bullies are the only reviewers in the world and if they stop reviewing, there won’t be anyone else who will be able get the word out about authors’ books.

Our response:  I don’t think we even need to respond to this.  It would be an insult to our readers’ intelligence.

 

“Honestly at this point I don’t even care.”

Our response:  Right.  She cares so little about it that she wrote an entire blog rant on the subject.

 

“I feel really lame for wasting so much energy on this reviewing hobby and might just start focusing my energy on something else. Another hobby that won’t shit all over me.”

Erroneous assumption #10:  The bullies aren’t the problem.  The problem is all these whiny authors who can’t just sit there and take all of the bullies’ personal attacks and abuse.  If the bullies start another hobby, then the problem will go away and they won’t ever experience anything like this again.

Our response:  Again, no need to comment.

 

“I realize some authors are cool, [redacted] you get it and there are many others, but it seems as if every time I open my email another author is spewing their crazy ass shit all over the internet. Right now It all seems like such a complete waste of my time.”

Our response:  Then it’s probably a good idea to pack up and move on.  Once you start experiencing the backlash from your actions in other areas of your life, you will begin to understand that the problem is not the world.  The problem is you.

 

Now, if you have the time (and the patience) to read some of the comments on B&B’s post, the bullies seem to be complaining about the “poison in the water” these days, but what they don’t understand is that they are the ones who put the poison there in the first place.  There are, however, a couple of them like Grim who’ve realized that by letting go of the whole BBA crusade, their lives are much happier (a fact we’ve been trying to get across to them ever since we started our blog):

Grim

But the rest are growing more unhappy and appear to be blaming Anne Rice and Todd’s petition:

AnneRiceBlownUp

For the record, this didn’t start with Anne or Todd.  This whole online bully vs. the world conflict was a time bomb waiting to go off.  In the past few years, much to the dismay of the bullies, it has gotten a lot of media attention and if the bullies keep it up, it will continue to get more.  In fact, just this week, we checked Todd’s petition and it’s still going strong.  It is now up to 7,522 signatures:

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This alone makes a very strong statement about how deep-rooted this problem is.  Lets hope Amazon listens and puts an end to it.

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