Monday, December 29, 2008

Harriet Klausner Malapropism

Maybe I'm just late to the party, but I came across this reference to our Queen in a book on malapropisms: Click to visit.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"The Fish Rots From The Head Down"

I've raised this issue before, but I've usually been met with skepticism as to its likelihood. Reading the Klausner threads and seeing the proliferating number of readers who document her glaring errors, question her actual reading of just about anything she "reviews," doubt her ability in any event to read so much in so short a time, and express wonder at Amazon's benign neglect of her offenses, I'm forced once again to ask whether Amazon itself - or certain of its staff-members - are not in some way active enablers of the Number One Reviewer. The only people who'd stand to lose by such tolerance of fraud would be paying customers, not publishers nor bookseller Amazon. Perhaps my mind has in this matter a malicious bent, but I keep on thinking of the old Italian proverb, "the fish rots from the head down."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Person, New Topic

Hi, everyone. I'm new to this so bear with me, please.

I'm writing about something I first noticed a long time ago, but didn't give much thought to. There is a person who writes reviews solely to hawk his own book. Have you seen this?

The book is the "Emotional Intelligence Quick Book." The M.O. is to (1) be one of the first to write a review for a new book, a surefire best seller; (2) Write a generic review that fans of the subject will not be offended by and, as best as I can tell, always give it a 5-star -- probably so the author won't complain about someone using his book to hawk another book; (3) Add a final two-sentence paragraph saying: "Another book I like..." "If you liked this book, you should like..." "I read a lot of books this weekend and another good one was..." "I saw a review of another book on Amazon and bought it, it was fantastic..." and then provide a link to the "Emotional Intelligence Quick Book."

The guy is, from what I've seen, using many, many accounts to hawk the book. It's pretty obvious, but he takes some minor steps to disguise his footprints. He might create an account and review his own book, then review another book and insert an "ad" in that review. Then sometimes (not always) he'll toss in a couple of unrelated reviews. The reviews are invariably generic or else rehashes of something such as Publisher's Weekly.

I didn't know this for a long time. In fact, I took links in his review "ads" a couple of times without realizing anything was odd. I would see the book, though, and think, "This had absolutely nothing to do with the book I was interested in." None of this made much of an impression on me until I reviewed a book last week. I spent about three hours writing it. Maybe it wasn't "Moby Dick," but it was not a bad review, and it wasn't offensive in any way. (Nor was it political, which I've learned, garner automatic negative votes.

I'll skip the details, but I noticed my review and other new ones were picking up negative votes for no real reason I could tell. Looking around I noticed the "ad" in the top Spotlight Review. The book ("Call Me Ted") was relatively new and this review was the second one posted. I suspect he is voting on his own reviews, but whether that is the case or not, it had received enough votes to be the top Spotlight Review. I didn't really get suspicious until I clicked into the Reviewer Profile and saw he also reviewed the new T. Boone Pickens' book. And there was another ad. This review was childishly generic. It made Ms. Klausner's work read like PhD theses.

Two generic reviews, two brand new high-profile autobiographies, two ads for "Emotional Intelligence Quick Book." I did some Advanced Google searches and found the guy was pulling the trick all over Amazon.

I was outraged. I spent three hours writing an honest review and it had no chance to garner votes before it scrolled off the first screen. Yet this phony's "review" was the Spotlight, forever to stay on the first page, shilling for his own book.

Amazon has been less than useless. (The phone guy was understanding, but could do nothing but give me the e-mail address I already had.)

Has anyone else seen this? Is it something that is already public knowledge? Can we do anything? Please help bring this to light.

P.S. As I researched, I found complaints that this book was also being "advertised" in the Wiki entry for "Emotional Intelligence Quick Book." I'm so ticked off, I want this to become national news. I want the author of "Emotional Intelligence Quick Book" to explain or else be exposed for an emotionally corrupt human being.