Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No, no, no! Gregory Callahan, you got it wrong again.

In a recent comment, Gregory Callahan makes a mistake again. He says:
[...] From what I gather, Grady's detractors are more concerned about pre-pub books or small press books that he may have received FREE promotional copies of to review. [...]
No, no, no. Gregory, you got it all wrong! No one talks about how Grady gets his books, nor has anybody even looked at Grady's reviews themselves for the sakes of analyzing them in isolation yet (perhaps these topics deserve discussion as well, but it just hasn't been done yet.)

The problem with Grady Harp's reviews is not the reviews themselves but the mind-bogglinggly high rate of their being voted 'helpful' immediately upon the posting of every single review of his, no matter how obscure the item, no matter how poorly written the review. This instant vote is the problem: it's obvious that the voting is done by a bunch of flunkeys rather than curious, review-reading visitors to the site in search of a book to read or a flick to watch. This has already been discussed ad nauseam! You never learn, Gregory Callahan!
Unrelated: a convenient clickable link to the 'time thing' Comment (see below, in comments here).


Cathy said...

Did you noticed that GH deigned to chime in and respond to a comment on one of his reviews?


Malleus said...

No. Where is it? The link is cut off and points nowhere... what book?

Cathy said...

Looker A Novel posted 4/12/07

Malleus said...

:-))))) A great find!

>Betty Dravis :
> Grady Harp is one of Amazon's most
> sensitive, intelligent reviewers [...]
> T. Burger :
> He writes terrific reviews - I just wonder
> how his review has ten times the amount of
> helpful votes than the others.
[ :-)))))) ]

>Grady Harp :
>[...]I think the difference is that this review
> has been up since April and the others were
> posted in July...it is a 'time thing'

Well, we know it's not the 'time thing', it's the Notorious Grady Harp Voting Machine thing! All his reviews are voted through the roof within the first day or two -- the 'time thing' got nothing to do with nothing here. In fact, after these couple of day the voting stops, so 'the time thing' is the same for Grady as it is for everyone else. It's a 'voting ring' thing.


(Now that we've posted about it, watch this Comments section disappear)

Malleus said...

PS. Alternatively, the questioning posts may be 'deleted-by-Amazon' in the near future -- this is another way of getting rid of unwelcome posters' comments on Amazon.

Unlike the delete/repost mechanism (that wipes out the whole Comments page clean), this method wipes out comments selectively while leaving the rest of the Comments page intact; it also leaves a stub in place of the former comment; the stub says 'deleted by Amazon'.

However, this cunning manoeuvre cannot be performed by a single individual: it appears to require some voting power (a sufficient number of clicks on the 'report abuse' button) -- but voting power Grady does have, just look at the usual 'helpful' vote count for his reviews.

The advantage of this method consists in giving the appearance of the posts' having been removed by Amazon (rather than the reviewer) and thus 'keeping the reviewer out of it', uninvolved as it were.

An accidental reader will probably figure that the comments were removed because of something inappropriate in them; since they're no longer there he can't see whether it's true or not, and so he departs, without supsicions, secure in his knowledge that everything's all right -- and of course, as uninformed as before.

If the author of the removed comments emails to Amazon asking why his comments were removed he will either (1) get no reply, or (2) get a reply saying something like 'our posting community can determine what's inappropriate and your comment was removed as such', or (3) simply that the comment was removed by Amazon because it was found 'profane, obscene, inflammatory and spiteful' -- or some such malarkey.

This is the topic of our upcoming investigation, the next in the series Why Shill Reviewers Are Untouchable on Amazon; the first in the series was posted on July 12, 2007 (see below).

Barbara Delaney said...

Did you notice Gregory Callahan commenting on the abscence of Grady Harp's critics? He said something like if there had been corporate censorship he found it disturbing, or some such nonsense. Yeah, I'll bet he's losing sleep over it. What did he think happened?

If you look way, way back at Grady Harp's reviews he would sometimes respond to comments, as long as they didn't accuse him outright of vote manipulation.

Malleus said...

Greg is a bit strange: he's like not here, not there, and I can't ever quite figure out what exactly he's saying. But his observation is certainly valid: indeed where did we all go? Well, I'm for one is banished by Amazon for writing commentary that they thought was 'prophane and obscene' and what not. :-) Like GH voting time-tables for example, those are clearly offensive... So, yes, Greg, we tend to be bumped off the site.

Barbara Delaney said...

I find that more than just a little disingenuous. Where did everybody go? Well, Gregory, just where they were sent by your corporate masters, that's where. By all means, express your dismay at how your intent was never to stifle free speech, oh no, of course not. But every time you hit that report abuse button this was your intent.

But wash your hands off it. The decision was clearly made by Amazon higher-ups whose role it is to determine what's appropriate. Greg was merely alerting them to a potential problem. He was not demanding your comments be removed, not him. That was for the "experts" to determine. How very fucking convenient.