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.


Dave IRV said...

Very interesting. I did not know of this latest development. I guess the HK Era has ended. It's hard to believe she got away with it, really. Oh, well, it's a balancing act for Amazon. The rating system encourages people to rate products, which is good, but it also encourages people to compete for rankings, which can cause garbage reviews.

In a way I'm glad HK is immune from the negative votes. While I never condoned her actions, I always thought the people who followed her around demeaning her reviews were a bit thuggish. Don't get me wrong, they were on the right side of the issue; it just struck me as mean-spirited. Now that she's ranked in the 700s, it's time to drop the campaign.

I used to hear comments about musicians selling out, and that artists need to put their art before commercial interests. This only became clear to me in this day of the Internet. For instance, from time to time I'll post on political boards where people vote on your posts. If you get enough, you (and your posts) rise to the top of the website and get more attention. I found myself "selling out" and writing posts in such a way as to garner more votes. I would still get to make my primary point, but I knew adding a few key buzz phrases would elicit favorable votes, ensuring my posts made it to the top of the website where they'd get more attention.

My own little taste of becoming a formulaic author.

Malleus said...

Thuggish, eh? Well, thanks a lot. :-) I guess, I'll have to disagree -- nothing thuggish about it. Well, I'm sure anything can be thuggish when done by thugs, but I haven't seen any of it in the Klausner trenches. Maybe I missed something? Point us to an example of thuggery there. The Protection Squad is frequently thuggish (and always imbecile), but the other side is perfect, in my view. Maybe not always specific enough: while pointing to the fact that Harriet is a con artist, people forget to explain why they think Harriet is a fraud (six posts a day on average over the last decade etc.). Otherwise, I see no problem there; the more the merrier. And of course all of this keeps our mildly schizophrenic friend "James" entertained, what with endless negging of every single comment there and posting idiot rejoinders now and then. Now, interesting, you never mentioned that the Protection Squaddies are thuggish... that makes me wonder if you accidentally got exposed to that dangerous "Moscow Lawyer" infection. ;-)

Dave IRV said...

No offense intended. (By the way I don't know what the protection squad is.) Maybe there is a better word. It just seems extreme to me to track reviews a person makes just to vote "no" on all of them. (Like the political book people who will vote "no" on every favorable review of a book by an author in the "wrong" party.)

Again, I know what she was doing and it was obviously idiotic. I guess I just got to the "whatever" stage on this faster than most. (Not that I quickly get to the "whatever" stage in other aspects of my life. It's just that HK's reviews always seemed more like Amazon's problem than hers.)

I kind of felt sorry for her. I pictured someone typing in dust jacket "reviews" to pay her heating bill.

Malleus said...

>It just seems extreme to me to track
>reviews a person makes just to vote
>"no" on all of them
You were talking about commentary, not voting. That said, what's wrong with negging all of Klausner reviews? They're all fraudulent. Whether one wants to waste one's time or not is another story, but if someone does, I see nothing wrong with it. Of course, the new system will disable his vote very soon, and although in the case of Harriet this is a shame, I'll live with it if it's a cost of disabling negging thuggery by shills. But again, to my mind, there'd be nothing wrong with negging every single dropping by Klausner.

>I kind of felt sorry for her.
>I pictured someone typing in
>dust jacket "reviews" to pay
>her heating bill.
Why? I mean, did you have any basis for this mental picture? I think it's clear by looking at Amazon reviews that a lot (maybe most?) of ever-five-star mass posters are shills. Whould you picture them all as starving retirees? Perhaps publishers go specifically after this social group? Finally, even if it is in order to pay their heating bills that they are trying to fuck you up on a daily basis, relentlessly, for decades: is it acceptable then? Why not apply for welfare if they can't pay their bills. Why should they rip off the public because of their heating bills. Personally, I don't five a flying fuck about their bills: they're lying cunts, a bunch of thieves who need to be kicked in the ass. And then of course, what about the parties who benefit from their "good works"? Authors/publishers/sellers etc. Amazon enables these guys and sells them to the public as "readers like you". Should we go along because they do it in order to pay their heating bills (assuming this is the case -- which I see no evidence for -- but for the sake of the argument).