Saturday, March 27, 2010

OT: The Do It Yourself Scholar

Entirely off topic: Here's a nice blog The Do It Yourself Scholar . I perused it only superficially so far, but it looks like it's interesting. Check it out, you might like it.

PS. Oh yeah, and Harriet went to 696 for a few days; then descended to 698. Perhaps voting on her reviews is re-enabled? Has anyone tried lately ?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Special Dispensation has been effective

Just a few days back we blogged about Klausner's apparent immunity to votes -- and just look how well this has already worked: she was then 706 and now she's 703. The brilliant intervention worked: Harriet's precipitous fall in ranks stopped and even reversed. All publisher shills giving her thumbs up all the time, she'll be back to No.1 in no time now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yet Another Question About HK

Is Our Dear Harriett immune not only from Amazon rules (and general accountability) but also from the latest FTC requirement?? In short, the FTC recently announced that reviewers must clearly state that they're getting free review copies (in whatever form) from the publishers. It makes sense. The FTC wants readers of reviews to be able to differentiate "I bought this book with my hard-earned cash and now that it's too late for me, here's what I think," from "I got this book from a publisher and, man, am I glad I didn't lay out my own money for it or I'd be even more ticked."

I've been reviewing for years. I started at a website and then went off on my own and started my own blog. Publishers and authors send me review copies all the time. It's noted at the top of my blog, on the front page, that my copies are provided by publishers. What is actually says is "Books provided by publishers and authors." It also says "Fashions By Dicker & Dicker of Beverly Hills" so sue me for having a sense of humor.

Just a random sampling of HK's many reviews posted lately show NO SIGN of this disclaimer. I think it's obvious to anyone with a functioning brain stem that she's not paying to purchase every copy of every book ever published. They're being provided to her, for free. Which is fine. But why is she immune to this rule, too? Or is she? Is this what will finally trip her up and get her faux-reviews banished? Or at least marked as 'not a paying customer review' on Amazon?

PS, because lots of people ask... No publisher or publicist or marketing person has EVER, EVER asked for a 'good' review. They ask if I'd like to review something. The content of the review is totally up to me. I've reviewed a few real stinkers, and said so, while keeping in mind how my Mom taught me to be polite while still being clear. And I've reviewed a few great things. Most books fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Great, bad, indifferent, I've never heard a single word of complaint about what is, in the end, my personal opinion about any given book. (I did have one author flip out on me and threaten to blacklist me for a mediocre review. I just forwarded her emails to the publicist who was sending out her books. I never heard another word from the author, and I still get every new release of hers, in hardcover, which I never review. Because I am that petty.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Does Harriet Klausner have a special dispensation from Amazon?

cloudyskye says:
This is NOT a helpful review! I'm not a Harriet Klausner hater, but I think it rather weird that my "no" after the question "Was this review helpful to you?" does not register. When reading a review, I want to know WHY someone did or did not like a book, not a very superficial - if wordy - description which reads like the book's back cover.
Ronald Craig says:
(How can there be no votes on this thing when I KNOW I voted it unhelpful two days ago?)
Recently a few people complained (see example above) that their votes on Klausner shill-jobs do not show up. Now, we all know that in 2008 Amazon changed their vote registration mechanisms so that "campaign voting" no longer works -- a welcome development, as I have always said, invalidating the good works of guys like our dear Maestro, Grady Harp, who had a habit of giving himself 250-400 positive votes for every review within a day or two (or three) upon posting. The disabling of campaign voting also removed the possibility of retaliatory negging (which we've seen a million times: question some shill's funny record and the very next day your own reviews magically gain like 70 negs each... ). So that's good, and when reading about Harriet reviews appearing immune to votes, I thought, well, these guys, understandably, negged too many Klausner excretions, and now Amazon counts them as "campaign" voters and ignores their votes. Don't get me wrong: I think Klausner deserved all the negs she can get, but if her immunity is a byproduct of Amazon's new overall defense against the revolting mutual-vote rings by shills as well as campaign-vote thuggery, then be it.

But. Then it occurred to me that I'm assuming something here. So I says do myself, hey, try yourself (I would remind the dear reader here, hopefully redundantly, that I am *not* a habitual voter on Klausner reviews and cannot possibly be considered a "fan" of hers, positive or negative). Well, I voted on one random review and MY VOTE DID NOT APPEAR. I now hear more people who are definitely not habitual Klausner voters reporting the same experience. It appears that Harriet Klausner has become untouchable on Amazon. (?)

If true, is it because, having observed her precipitous fall from No.1 to No.706, Amazon decided they went too far with reader empowerment? And, to limit the damage, stopped vote collection on Klausner reviews so as to keep her from continuing in the same direction, straight to No. 5,999,999 or thereabouts ? Would it not be helpful if Amazon finally declared how their reviewing system actually works? Or would such a move be ill-advised, because of making the system's amazing shill-friendliness too obvious to a casual visitor? :-) No, really -- inquiring minds want to know.