Friday, March 18, 2011

Kindle Author Challenges Amazon To Fix Rankings System

From MediaBistro: Dianna Dilworth writes:
[...]Author Thomas Hertog authored a book on how he worked the Amazon rankings system to get an inflated ranking. [...] called The Day the Kindle Died [and sold as eBook, it] was allegedly removed from the Kindle store earlier this month [...]

The removal got the book a lot of attention on Twitter [,] and Amazon took the opportunity to e-mail their disapproval to the author. Hertog showed us the e-mail and this is what it said: “”…customer reviews and sales rank are an important source of information for customers…” and “we will not tolerate efforts to manipulate it.”[...]”
Yeah, mostly, it seems, by way of deleting any commentary bringing this sort of shenanigans to the public's attention — see Why is Amazon Deleting Comments? below... Or this: the same day as poster Manny R Brooklyn suffered this Amazonian wipeout, another familiar poster, Ghost(Ghost(M)), also a target of a past "deleted-by-Amazon" wipeout, suffered a precipitous fall in reviewing rank: from about 200,000 to below 8,000,000 — although there has been no change in his vote totals! Apparently, this has been another revenge action by the Klausner Protection Squad(TM), but the interesting thing is that they unwittingly demonstrated that such manipulation of reviewing ranks is possible. Either this can be done from the outside, or they have "their man" on the inside, but in the absense of an appreciable change in amassed public vote, such a strange move would seem to require direct tweaking.

And, developing this disquieting thought even further: is this perhaps the reason for Harriet's surprising ranking resilience over the last year or so? After all, right after Amazon changed the rating algorithm (in Oct 2008?) she fell from No.1 by a good four hundred places in a matter of days, yet lately her reviewing rank has been bobbing about 760: it goes a bit under and then immediately floats back up. Why such a sudden change from what to all appearances was a free fall to a persistent buoying at a stable level? Perhaps her rank gets daily adjusted "by hand" by the "Team Harriet"? After all, if it's possible to bring someone's rank down by over seven million places w/o any observable change in his voting totals, it should be possible to effect the opposite change too, no? Harriet, are you really ranked 759, or has this amazingly stable level been achieved "with the little help" from your silent but hyperactive friends? What's the real rank now, the Top Fifty Millionth Reviewer or something? Just how (if at all) "intolerant" of such manipulations is Amazon in reality? A lot seems possible that you'd think wouldn't be (and we can start simply from Harriet's habit of posting 250-300 reviews every month — is this not manipulation? No one can read that much, and then of course, there's the issue of all-positiveness of her reviewing record). Anyway... something to think about. Dear Reader, if curious, read more on the Hertog Affair (it's a google search).

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