Friday, August 26, 2011

Ferreting Out Fake Reviews (NY Times)

This article is from The New York Times online August 19, 2011. The author is David Streitfeld. It includes quotes from a freelance writer, Sandra Parker, who was hired this spring at a review factory for Amazon to pump out fake reviews at $10 a pop. The reviews were supposed to be five star and gushing...that sounds so familiar.

Which leads me to wonder what Harriet Klausner's net worth is. Think of her thousands upon thousands of fraudulent reviews. I guess the wages of sin were quite rewarding for old Harriet.

But she's still a liar, a fraud and a cheat. But a very wealthy liar, fraud and cheat, so in Klausner's world that makes it A-OK.

Editorial Note: here's the link to the NYT article In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5 .

The I only thing I feel I can add is, how touching! It has only been going on for twelve-to-fifteen years (with Amazon, that is), and now they're waking up to the phenomenon.

Another irony (I'll quote from the article):
Determining the number of fake reviews on the Web is difficult. But it is enough of a problem to attract a team of Cornell researchers [...] They were instantly approached by a dozen companies, including Amazon, Hilton, TripAdvisor and several specialist travel sites, all of which have a strong interest in limiting the spread of bogus reviews. [...]
Amazon is interested! :-) The only reason they are intersted, I suspect, is to learn how this algorithm works so as to work around it — so as not to let this rogue research disrupt their shills, aw, sorry, I meant to say "Top Reviewers". (I think it's safe to say that the only thing they've proved they're interested in as related to fake reviews is to blow off their site everyone who raises the issue. Manny has been the latest).