Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Interesting Reading Elsewhere-- "Amazon Tackles Review Problem, Deletes Wrong Reviews" (Forbes)

In her interesting piece "Amazon Tackles Review Problem, Deletes Wrong Reviews"  Suw Charman-Anderson recounts the recent efforts that Amazon has undertaken to find and delete fake reviews. Interestingly, not only does she detail both sides of the problem, she also points out the hypocrisy regarding Amazon's favorite number one reviewer,  Harriet Klausner.

Worth your time to read as are the comments.



Randy Johnson said...

Interesting piece. I called Klausner "the serial reviewer" several years back. I thought it couldn't be one person. No one is that fast. To learn she's a for profit reviewer is not surprising.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I figured she read the first couple of chapters and then the ending chapter of each book and cribbed her review from that. I based that on the errors I would find in her reviews of the books I had also read.

I don't think Amazon would ever remove her stuff since they praised her so highly for years and celebrated here "reviewing" prowess.

Barry Ergang said...
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Barry Ergang said...

It's another example of corporate dictatorship--and hypocrisy. Amazon's policies are tyrannical, but they get away with them because not many (if any) authors would want them to refuse to sell their books. I wonder, though, whether they'd stop carrying books by major best-sellers like Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Dennis Lehane and others if they challenged policy.

The fact that one- and two-star reviews have become treated as suspect reminds me of one of your stories in MIND SLICES, which in turn was based on your own experience working for a book store: management's position that all books are created equal and have no merits or faults beyond their capacity to generate revenue, that being all they're good for.

As for Klausner, I read a newspaper article about her years ago that alleged she's some kind of phenomenon among speed-readers, thus her astounding number of reviews. It also said she only reviews books she likes, doesn't finish those she doesn't like. I don't know about you, but that raises issues of integrity for me. I might know what she likes and why, but I never get to learn which books she couldn't finish and why.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I thought of my story as well, Barry. All books are not equal and if we have gotten to the point that all one star and two star reviews are suspect it makes just as much sense to suspect that all five star reviews are written for a reason other than the quality of a book.

Yes, her deal was always she was a super speed reader and chose not to review or talk about some books. I never bought the speed reading angle because of her errors in reviews. For me, her statements about not reviewing books she did not like was also bogus.Sadly, the later is becoming more and more common these days and is an opinion expressed by lots of folks.

If we are not very careful, pretty soon reviews will have all the merit of ribbons that the kids would get doing stuff in first grade. Everyone got the same ribbon.