Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Response from Amazon about mass deletions

Took a long while and about five requests from me, a couple of back-and-forth messages in between, and finally there's a response from Aaron of Amazon Customer Service [emphasis mine]:
Greetings from Amazon.com.

I have reviewed your account and your status in regards to our
Customer Discussion Forums.

Your posts were found to be profane, obscene, inflammatory and

Because of this, it was determined to remove your posting privileges
from your account in accordance with our Conditions of Use.

We have also removed all of your posts. Please take a look at our
guidelines for more information: [...]

Amazon.com Customer Service

Well, you know what these posts were. One more discovery about Amazon, I guess? Or, perhaps, our suspicions confirmed...
Note: Someone asked me to clarify matters here a bit: most of the posts in question dealt with shilling and other shenanigans by some Amazon reviewers. The rest were something like "Thank you, Sir", "I agree", "here's where more info about this book can be had from", and the like. There was nothing profane or obscene in any of them... well, unless Amazon considers the very broaching of the topic of book-shilling profane and obscene... which, in a way, would make sense — for them :-)


Cathy said...

Say what? The only ones I found seriously profane, obscene, inflammatory were FTF/amfibsy. How come he's still there?

Malleus said...

He actually got wiped out as well in very many places; all his attacks on Barbara seem gone. Well, I mean, I didn't specifically check for all his comments, but wherever I posted something in response to him, both me and him are gone. So perhaps someone from Amz did look at the messages this time.

Otherwise, well... the whole purpose behind this exercise was to poke it with a twig, as it were, and see what happens. What we could only suspect before, now we know for sure: the place is deliberately set up to protect and encourage shilling (which takes place there on an industrial scale, really).

Other than taking his business elsewhere, there's little an isolated individual with work/family/and so on can (reasonably) do about it, but I won't be surprised if one day the FTC or the Attorney General gets involved: kind of like Spitzer got involved with some mutual funds enriching themselves at the regular investor's cost (a couple of years ago; Janus and others.)

What an isolated individual could do is look, notice patterns, blog, and spread the news in general. And of course, consider alternative booksellers; Amazon is not the only place around: a while ago I started weening myself and, to my surprise, found out that everything can usually be had from somewhere else -- and at the same or better prices at that. Now, when looking for a book I use unaffiliated book-search engines, like the following, for example:


and in most cases the only difference between what I find and Amz is the lack of full-text preview (but Google has something similar, and in many cases more extensive than Amz) along with the reviews. Well, since we now know what these reviews are worth, not having them is obviously more of a gain than a loss. I truly seems that my long-time addiction to Amazon is no more than a lazy-man's habit.

Italian_Goddess said...

He has turned his assaults from Barbara to me. Which I don't mind. If he wants to start with me I say bring it.

Malleus said...

I remember a couple of your comments 'deleted-by-Amazon' too. In general, if there's any reason to post anything there, it's in order to warn other visitors to reviewing shenanigans, not to joust with local trolls. So, what I'm trying to say is, avoid provokation. :-) Post when you want to post something, but don't feel obligated to respond to every attack there... :-) Explaining the obvious is not the best investment of one's time.

Cathy said...

Good advice from Malleus Goddess, I would take it. I found it incredibly ironic that you were attacked about your grammar and language skills by LE Cantrell and the sainted Eileen, yet they ignore the same by amfibsy and MM.

Stanley H Nemeth said...

What a raw deal! I'd like to kmow if "your posts were found to be..." was something decided from Amazon's unbiased scrutiny of them, or whether Amazon was simply responding to numbers of complaints issuing from the thugs and brutes in a possible "offended" pack loyal to you know who. In any event, my regrets, but thanks at the same time for the list of alternative vendors whom I intend to use in future. My ordering from Amazon, too, is a thing of the past.

Cathy said...

Amazon does a great job of recommending books based upon your reading habits. That doesn't mean you have to buy the books from them. Use the tools they provide you for free and then take your business elsewhere.

Italian_Goddess said...

Thanks for the advice malleus, and for the suggested websites

Deborah Hern said...

I guess that means I should be getting mass deleted any day now. I'm still posting comments about the factual errors in HK's reviews, so I'm sure I'll become a target quite soon.

Come to think of it, I've been slacking off on pointing out HK's bs. I should probably get back on that!

Malleus said...

Factual errors is only one side effect of her modus operandi -- the real issue is that she does not read what she reviews; and that we believe is because she couldn't possibly: she reviews way too much, no human could read that preposterously high number of books in the timeframe he would have to in order to match Klausner's reviewing output.

Everything else is a corollary (or simply a concomitant: after all, suppose 'her' reviews were written w/o factual and grammatical errors: what would it change? Instead of a sloppy shill she would be a diligent shill, but she would still be a shill).

It is unlikely that she even writes these blurbs; more likely writing them is outsourced to a group of copywriters who then post their oeuvre under the "Harriet Klausner" brand name.

If you start pointing to that (and do it with any persistence), you're sure to be bumped off Amazon.com in no time! :-)

Deborah Hern said...

Good point. Even if she (or her contracted ESL writer) got the basic facts correct... there's still no way she's really reading the books she claims to have read.

I guess Amazon takes the position that reviews are just pr or part of the marketing process. So it doesn't matter to Amazon if they're honest or not. As long as reviews get posted, that's fine with them.

But for readers/buyers, it does matter. If you read the back cover or jacket flap and reword it as a "review," adding a final paragraph about how fun/zany/hot/moving/whateverthehell the book is... that's not providing a service to the average reader/buyer. Which should be the function of the reader reviews. Not to simply sell books for Amazon.

Viva said...

I wonder if I'm still there...But I think I'll quit ordering from Amazon as well, as Stan mentioned.
Hello to Stan and Malleus, btw.

Malleus said...

Ah, you've made it, I see. Welcome! :-)