Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Klausner Protection Squad negs comments but doesn't vote for review itself

Poster Guy the Gorilla raises an interesting issue:
Guy the Gorilla says:
It's either 22 mentally deranged people, or the same mentally deranged person circling back for the 22nd time.

I wonder if it may be Harriet herself, like I said earlier. If you'll notice, not one of these 22 "defenders" has thought to vote Harriet's original review itself as helpful. That is very odd. Makes me think it's her, and she can't bring herself to vote for her own review [...]
No, no, no. Come one, why would one suspect Harriet of such cowardice? The issue, I'm guessing, is far simpler. Let's go back some five-to-eight years.

Back then anyone could post reviews: you only needed to register with an email address and a password (the email address didn't need to be valid). So you could set up any number of accounts and start posting reviews (to your own books, for example, which is still done a lot — I'm gonna be posting an article about it soon). Then, in the mid-2000s some time Amazon started to require a purchase to be made from an account before it could be used to post reviews and comments. I'm not sure what this was supposed to ensure, since one could still set up any number of such accounts; the only difference was that it would cost you something because every time you'd need to buy something. But, since there's always been a lot of very cheap items there, this requirement would hardly deter an author/publisher flunkey intent on promoting own wares. Amazon could definitely see which such accounts belong to the same person (they shared credit-card personal info), but they have never done anything to prevent the operation (as far as I could see, at least). Anyway, now you need to buy something in order to start posting reviews and — and this answers your question, I believe — vote on reviews.

At the same time, and for the reasons I can't even begin to guess, voting on comments still does not require a purchase, so just like in the good old days of the Amazonian free-for-all, an easy-to-create no-purchase account is enough: when on the "create account" page, all you need is to type in something looking like an email address (blahblah@jibberjabber.net would do) and a password into the entry fields, et voila: you can vote on comments now. Why the difference? Hell knows. Since Amazon proved time and again that they're exceptionally friendly towards the shill — all their software glitches just happen to somehow enable reviewing shenangians and disable anyone trying to talk about it — maybe they wanted to leave one more non-obvious avenue for the shills to manipulate the site: we the veterans is one thing, but I'm sure that a casual visitor would be discouraged if his comment were hit by a large number of negs; this is entirely normal (shills used to do that with enemy reviews themselves: if you ever said something about their crap (in any context), next day you would find your own reviews massively negged).

So, getting back to your over-negged comments, it's quite likely that some member of the Klausner Protection Squad tasked with discouraging of the detractors set up a large number of no-purchase accounts that he then used to neg your and others' comments. The reason he doesn't vote for Harriet's reviews is that he can't: his no-purchase accounts do not allow him to vote on reviews — to overcome that he needs to buy something at least once from every account, and he's probably too cheap for that. Could it be Harriet herself? Why not? Of course it could.

Note: I haven't recently re-tried all these things I'm talking about above; so all this info is at least a year old. But it seems that things still work the way they did back then.

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