Sunday, February 24, 2008

Free-for-all Vote: Amazon's Surprising Loophole

Amazon makes it clear that people aren't allowed to vote for their own reviews or comments, period. Simultaneously, though, it has a surprising loophole open to the unscrupulous. If anybody sets up a no-purchase sockpuppet account, he or she would be barred, of course, from posting reviews or comments on Amazon, but would nevertheless be granted full voting rights on the reviews and comments of OTHERS!!!

A self-promoter could set up any number of these phony accounts within a few minutes, and they'd be at his disposal whenever he sought to inflate his own vote totals. This seems the simplest explanation preserving all the appearances and explaining the outrageous vote totals marking the Grady Harp Express these days.

Editor note: you don't even need to amass such accounts: you can create a new one for every 'voting session'. It's that simple: not only don't you need to buy anything from Amazon, you literally need nothing other than a throwaway email address, and even that most likely isn't verified. Takes ten seconds to type in a nickname, email address, and password, and then you're in business.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Grady Harp reviews on other Amazon Sites, but where's the voting machine?

You can read Grady's reviews on Amazon Canada here, and Amazon UK here, and I even found his reviews on Soooo, what's so different between the reviews on those sites and his reviews on Amazon US? Yes there are fewer reviews, but where is the TNGHVM? If, as the most prevelant theory is that GH has multiple Amazon accounts and uses those to vote himself silly, wouldn't he be doing it on those sites as well? He'd be #1 in a heartbeat without Harriet to contend with. If he's vote mad as we all believe he is, why aren't the votes there as well?

I suspect that it's not multiple accounts, but that GH has found some software and/or is able to manipulate the Amazon votes and that's where the massive votes come from, and if he could do so on the other sites he would as well. Besides, try getting an extra Amazon account and give yourself a vote or two. You have to log in, find the item post the vote, log out, log in again on new identity, vote again, etc. Even with the fastest connection and fingers of fire no one could do that in the time frames we've seen those votes come in.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spaceman Spiff is no L.E.Cantrell

Here's a good blog entry (and thread):
... For those who haven't heard of her, Harriet Klausner is the #1 reviewer on Amazon. As of right now, she's posted 15,584 reviews. Her very first review is on page 1,559 of her reviews listing, and it's dated November 22, 1999. That's nearly 2,000 books a year. That obviously isn't possible, even if she is a speed-reader. That'd be about six books a day.

To make it worse, she never gives a book fewer than four stars, which makes the reviews totally worthless. Said "reviews" are never anything more than a synopsis of the novel.

She's obviously a shill, if she's a real person at all. I suspect that she started out as a real reviewer, publishers made a deal with her to use her name to advertise their products. ...
Everyone gets it, how come our friend L.E.Cantrell doesn't? ;-)

Who is Grady Harp and how come 'his' reviews have so many votes?

The ABNA contestants have noticed the prolific voting of TNGVM. Read about the discussion here. The link pulls up the ABNA discussions, scroll down for the GH thread.
Note: Here is the direct link to this discussion thread.

Monday, February 11, 2008

NPR Morning Edition on Amazon Reviews: Mountain bore a mouse?

NPR produced a piece on Amazon reviewing; even Harriet Klausner has been mentioned. Here it is.

Also, somewhat relevant, check out this article: Booksellers Upset Over NPR’s Amazon Link.