December 24, 2012
Bogus Book Reviews Get The Axe By Amazon
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
According to a report by the New York Times, Amazon has started to crack down on thousands of fake book reviews that have popped up on the site in recent years.
Some writers on the online retailer rely on fake reviews to help sell copies of their books, but Amazon is laying down the hammer in an attempt to stop this.
The New York Times reports Amazon will not say how many reviews it has erased so far, and it has also declined to offer any public explanation.
Several writers have sounded off to express their frustrations with the move, some saying the reviews cause zero harm.
"Over the last few days, quite a few reviews have disappeared from books on Amazon," blogger Ed Robertson wrote in October. "I was alerted to this by someone who had reviewed Breakers and was upset to see their review had been pulled. This is a fellow KB author, but I don't know them. I'm not sure we've ever spoken directly before."
Valerie X. Armstrong, another writer, said her son's five-star review of her book was removed from the list of reviews. When he tried submitting his name again, Amazon "wouldn't take it."
The Times said Harriet Klausner, who has posted more than 25,000 reviews on the site, has many "misleadingly" positive reviews. More than 99 percent of her reviews are four or five stars, and she says if she makes it past 50 pages, it means she likes it.
"The campaign against Mrs. Klausner has pushed down her reviewer ratings, which in theory makes her less influential. But when everything is subject to review, the battle is never-ending," the Times wrote.
Amazon has refined its reviewing process over the years, allowing shoppers to rate reviews and comment on them. The company has also publicly banned reviews by friends and family.
Amazon told some writers who had reviews stricken from their spot on the online retailer "we do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors.”