Saturday, January 3, 2009

Knol vs Wikipedia: Corporatism vs Nature

Here's a curious article (from Slate) that, I think, is directly applicable to the pullulating woes of the Amazon "reviews" system. Another failure of an attempt to sell shit-faced corporate skull-duggery as, um... like Amazon would say, "helpful" (despite the obligatory fake friendliness and even an openly stated promise of some cash). Check it out.


STepper said...

Excellent comment on "unmoderated" posts. I also note that Harriet Klausner is not a subject in Knol. Perhaps you could put up a review and shamelessly plug this site.

Harriet is up to her old ways, defacing the Amazon site with 40 more fauxreviews in a week. Including two reviews for two different books entitled The Fireman's Wife. One was a memoir written in 2006. The other a steamy novel published last week, in 2008. Harriet loved them both (natch) and gave both of them exactly the same fauxreview.

Her crimes against English and thoughtful commentary have also increased in her latest disgraces. Mixed up plots, incorrect names of characters, awkward sentence structure as she slavishly copies from marketing materials, and spoilers (some correct some a surprise to anyone who will read the book under fauxreview).

Dave IRV said...

STepper, I checked in on this site after a long absence. After catching up, I decided to check on the guy I had been complaining about at Amazon. He still had the Spotlight Review.

While there I saw a comment of yours -- complaining about that guy! Haha. I'm thinking about making a booklist for all the books where he has posted an advertisement review. It's nuts. Amazon controls what makes Spotlight Review placement. They could easily remove this guys's reviews if they wanted.

I think the bottom line is that Amazon just doesn't care. They don't want to spend time on any tough cleanup. If someone posts vulgar or insulting or hoax reviews, they'll get rid of those; otherwise, I have seen no sign that Amazon cares. I still think, overall, the reviews are useful. You just have to sort out the honest, well-meaning reviews from the others.

It's frustrating. Like I wrote in a previous thread, I spent about three hours putting together a review for a book and it was gone off the first page almost immediately. But the "ad" stayed as a Spotlight Review. I've only written eleven or twelve reviews. I'm not trying to make Top Ten or anything. But I do get a kick out of people voting Useful -- letting me know I did at least a halfway decent job and my time wasn't wasted.

Ah well. I'm glad this site exists. I feel better knowing I'm not the only one who notices such abusers as Harriet and the Emotional IQ Quick Book guy.