Sunday, November 25, 2012

Keep Looking, Diogenes

We know Harriet Klausner is conversant with 1960s pop culture, Yiddish vocabulary, and unusual euphemisms for...uh, how to put this politely...reproductive organs.  But I'll bet you didn't know that Hattie is also familiar with ancient Greek philosophy.  A particular favorite seems to be Diogenes of Sinope.  Some examples:
  • "Yet readers know that Diogenes only need to meet him to find an honest person trying to adhere to his values in a system that prefers the lowest ethical denominator." (link)
  • "Suzanne believes she is the ideal modern day Diogenes because she has the proper morals and the fortitude to expose the cheaters." (link)
  • "The Ambition is an exhilarating political thriller that grips the audience who will wonder if government office denotes corruption as cynical Strider is like a modern day Diogenes only he finds dishonesty." (link)
  • "Murphy is an Indiana Jones type adventurer with strong beliefs in God that sustain him; he is flawed and prone to doubts when he makes difficult decisions as a modern day Diogenes hunting for the truth." (link)
  • "Diogenes would have found his honest man in Tom, but even the Greek mythical traveler would wonder whether honesty is the best policy." (link)
  • "Diogenes would have ended his search if he met Lydias who with a strong support cast serves as the center of the story line even as the real General Ptolemy begins a dynasty in Egypt." (link)
  • "Fans will enjoy the wacky duo and the fabulous support cast though the final reconciliation seems too simple for someone who like Diogenes seeks integrity above all else even love." (link)
  • "Though how the media failed to know that Adam stuttered seems off kilter and his deception seems wrong for someone as ethical as Diogenes was seeking, readers will enjoy this political romance that encourages everyone to seek his or her dreams." (link)
  • "Since then he has been the epitome of integrity, a man that Diogenes would believe is that honest fellow he sought." (link)
  • "Although black and white as the good guys are ethical Diogenes' candidates and the bad guys are Darth Vader protégé, readers will relish this powerful look at the impact of a multi-billion dollar medical insurance fraud industry." (link)
Oh Hattie, how ironic that your favorite philosopher was so concerned with the search for an honest man!

Or maybe she prefers the side of him that history remembers a little differently: "He [Diogenes] even rejected normal ideas about human decency. Diogenes is said to have eaten in the marketplace, urinated on some people who insulted him, defecated in the theatre, masturbated in public, and pointed at people with his middle finger." (Wikipedia)  Hattie certainly does defecate all over Amazon every Tuesday morning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Typical Day in the Life of Fraud Hattie Klausner

8:00 AM: Hattie's eyelids flutter open.

8:05 AM: Hattie astral projects to the kitchen and consumes an entire liter of relish.

8:10 AM: Hattie wakes up her gaggle of slaves, uhhh minions, by throwing a bucket of ice-cold water on them. She assigns them with the thankless job of plagiarizing the sentences from editorial reviews.

9:00 AM: Hattie's boatload of ARC arrives at her front door step.

9:30 AM: Hattie calls up her son in order to sell her massive load of ARC on Hattie grows increasingly petulant at not being mentioned as one of Forbes List of America's Richest People. Her Advanced Readers Copies sell more than J.K Rowling's latest book (which she hasn't fake reviewed yet)!

10:00 AM: Hattie hears the front door slam, signaling the hasty exit of her despondent hubby. She begins speculating that her hubby is having a fast-paced love affair with booze, barmaids, and mannequins.

10:30 AM: Hattie cracks open her ancient thesaurus to the same "engaging" adjective. She tries to memorize the other synonyms but her rusty mind fails her like a leaky faucet.

11:00 AM: Hattie receives a call from her co-conspirators (Amazon), informing her that her "reviews" are creating a cacophony of angry protesters. They are constantly besieged by a tidal wave of complaints about their #1 Illiterate Fraud.

11:30 AM: Hattie receives her generous paycheck from publishers. She pops open a bottle of homemade relish in celebration.

1200 PM: Hattie marches to the inner sanctum of her dungeon where her mindless minions are living (barely). She gives them a pop quiz comprised of relish and gibberish.

1:00 PM: Hattie begins to fantasize about lower-heads covered in relish. Her morbid fantasy segues into a fake reviewing policy where every adjective/verb is turned obsolete except for relish (and gibberish).

1:30 PM: Hattie begins to fantasize about shutting down the HKAS blog. They are making a mockery out of her! So what if she has the IQ of a gnat?! What she lacks in intelligence/proper grammar/syntax, she makes up for it in unscrupulous behavior. She wasn't named as the #1 Hall of Shame Reviewer for nothing!

2:00 PM: Hattie forgoes lunch. She marches to her pile of unread books, picks up a book, and inhales its scent deeply. The scent of unread books convert into boundless energy in her body and she/it instantly becomes energized.

3:00 PM: Hattie orders her Cavalry to down-vote on the snarky comments of the Anti-HK-Fraud Society. The Anti-HK-Fraud Society is a pain in her lower-head but she didn't fake review this long for nothing!

4:00 PM: Hattie holds a meeting with Amazon's Board of Directors in order to find a solution to the Anti-HK-Fraud problem. Their comments are a threat to her fraudulent career! Publishers are threatening to dock her paycheck! She particularly doesn't like Embee, Beachmama, Sneaky, Buck, Dona, Strong Coffe Lover, MJN76, L.Donner, The Truth. Those commentators are causing her an ulcer and she's an alien for crying out loud! Aliens don't get ulcers! She's becoming too human! At this rate, she might even bleed blood! Or even develop a smidgen of ethics! Yikes!!

5:00 PM: Hattie begins to skim the first and last page of her ARC books in preparation for her special TuesDump Day. Even though she doesn't understand a word, the sub-genre, and who wrote the fast-paced books, she gives them all a 5 star rating! Comprehension is so overrated!

12:00 AM: after typing 140 garbled, fake reviews, Hattie enters them into Amazon's reviewing system with the solemnity of an executioner. "This is all for the greater literary damnation of mankind," Hattie whispers to herself gleefully.

1:00 AM: Hattie hears the hinges of the front door open. She guesses it's her estranged hubby but she couldn't care less about him. Fake reviewing is her aphrodisiac and erogenous zones. (Well, that and writing about bulging lower-heads.)

2:00 AM: Hattie closes her eyes but she doesn't sleep. Machines like her don't need sleep. She was engineered for a single purpose and that purpose was to defraud Amazon customers and readers...with relish! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Little Thanksgiving Tsuris

tsuris: n., trouble or woe; aggravation (from the New Oxford American Dictionary)

Our friend Hattie really likes the word "tsuris."  She's used it in 63 of her reviews.  Some examples:

"Ruby wins the raffle for a free trip, but wonders if she will be sailing with endless tsuris from the aggravation she expects from her companions."  Since this one is about a rabbi's wife, one might argue the term is appropriate.  But later in this review, Hattie dumps just about every Yiddish word she knows: "The third Rabbi's wife mystery, DON'T CRY FOR ME, HOT PASTRAMI, is an amusing who-done-it due to the internal sufferings and asides of Ruby. The story line is fun though a reader might wonder why Ruby puts up with Essie Sue, a professional nudnick. Essie Sue is as aggressive a character one will find in a cozy while the Rabbi needs to borrow some of her chutzpah so he will not continue to look like a putz. Fans of an ethnic who-done-it will enjoy this tale that requires noshing a bagel while reading it."  (link)

"With a nod to Buffy, this whimsical chick-lit urban fantasy is an entertaining tale due to the heroine who wants to live life as an ordinary teen, but fate keeps forcing her to use her paranormal skills to perform good deeds. She shares the same problems as any teen supplemented by tsuris due to what she can see with her third eye and has a sixth sense that works overtime. A quirky support cast, a reluctant heroine and a spell caster who doesn't know the consequences of his actions makes this a character driven charmer."  Really?  "Tsuris" in a book for teens?  (link)

"With a pointed cover and filled with heart felt kvetching that hit home, readers will commiserate with the tsuris, laugh with the exposing of those who deserve hemorrhoids named for them, and kvetch with Ms. Frankel as this is an amusing stress releaser that affirms laugher is a great healer."  Now we have "kvetching" too.  Also, all typos (laugher) are Hattie's. (link)

Apparently "tsuris" is particularly appropriate in an urban fantasy setting:
"forbidden lovers whose bonding causes tsuris" (link)
"all the tsuris she and her friends suddenly face" (link)
"Still Eric in spite of his tumultuous tsuris" (link)

Bonus on that last one: a "still Eric" and also a "sh*tty."

"he refuses to meet with her as he does not need her tsuris" (link(Reviewing graphic novels...with TSURIS!)

"The protagonists seem real as they struggle with numbing tsurisOh, Hattie, the tsuris you give me is numbing, too.  (Also, "tsuris" in another book for teens.)  (link)

"refuses to allow his beloved the tsuris of dealing with someone with a potential death sentence."  TSURIS for the Amish! (link)

"his personal life seems ready to engulf him with tsuris" TSURIS for Texans! (link)

"That enchanting generalization also detracts slightly from the specificity of the tsuris like Brian's terror of going bankrupt, Victoria's fear of inadequacy and Amy's efforts to be a working single mom."  TSURIS for the British! (link)

Well, Hattie, thanks for the vocabulary lesson.  However, I'll leave you with the words of Hippocrates: "The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ammy deleting Sara's post for quoting Hattie

Here is the original post from Sara that Ammy keeps deleting:

A-hole? So an a-hole isn't a violation to Amazon's super strict guidelines than let's say a$$hole? Only Amazon's #1 Fraud can get away with such crass language. After all, Hattie and Amazon have a mutually understanding relation$hip: Hattie has her unwavering will and Amazon paves the way for her 28299 fake, offensive reviews. Oh, Harriet, you're as refined and polished as a wet potato.

"Still us geriatrics and DOPs (dirty old people to be politically correct)"

Harriet, your'e a DOP, IAH (Illiterate Amoral Hack), and VIF (Very Insistent Fraud), MED (Mentally and Ethically Deficient), PPP (Perpetually Perverted Perpetrator), ITL (Insult to Literature). When it comes to you, the acronyms are never-ending - much like your fake reviews.

This is Klassic Klausner: So many names, so little substance. Jared, Sandy, Nazgûl (as Beachmama said, I can copy paste,too), Eden, Hobbins, Larry. Sheesh, my head is spinning faster than the yo-yo Hattie's fake reviewing monkey plays with.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Harriet's Defenders, Part Two

In the first post in this series, we looked at publicity hounds, clueless readers, and "failed Socratic elenchi" who have, whether knowingly or inadvertently, aligned themselves with Harriet Klausner.  Perhaps they're authors who have linked to one of her reviews on their blogs, or people who have stated the (glaringly) obvious (e.g., that Hattie receives advance review copies).

A few years ago, Hattie got some attention in the mainstream media.  None of the pieces involved much in the way of investigation or in-depth analysis; rather, they were "puff pieces" or "human interest" stories.  The phenomenon of online reviewing was somewhat new at the time, and I suppose people were curious about who the most prolific reviewers were.  I thought it would be interesting to take a further look at the authors of these pieces.

Note: there are permanent links to these articles in the right sidebar of this page.

Lev Grossman is a fantasy author and a book reviewer for Time magazine.  By his own admission, he doesn't write negative reviews, and he admits to having written sock puppet reviews on Amazon for his own books.  His praise can be, well, effuse, although it IS much more literate than Hattie's.  Check out some of his reviews here and here.  In the end, though, I just can't trust his opinion.  Not every book deserves a thumbs up, or 4 or 5 stars.  A person who gives everything a high rating comes off as a shill, at worst, or as not being very discriminating, at best.  (Oh wait, was I talking about Hattie or Lev Grossman with that last sentence?)

Other random links discussing/connecting Hattie and Mr. Grossman:
  • Blurbs from both of them are quoted on the Amazon page for this book
  • Here, Hattie reviews Mr. Grossman's book, The Magicians
  • A blog post that analyzes some of the contradictions in Mr. Grossman's profile of HK
  • It's also been discussed that Mr. Grossman didn't ever meet Hattie, he just talked to someone on the phone who claimed to be Hattie; apparently he took a lot of flak for this, but it's been difficult to locate any original sources because the Time profile is several years old
Kendra Mayfield in Wired:  She seems not to be working there anymore.  A search of the site revealed a lot of articles 2000-2002, with another few from 2003 and 2004.  (And one from 1999 about the transition of the GRE to a computer-based test.  Which was old news seven years ago, in 2005, when I took the GRE.)  Then nothing.  It's actually kind of funny scrolling through the titles of her pieces, which are WOEFULLY out of date today, although they might've been cutting-edge a decade ago.  This puts her HK piece in some kind of perspective.

Joanne Kaufman in the Wall Street Journal.  She's got a couple of recent articles there, so presumably there's still an association, although she seems to be interviewing actors these days.  Unfortunately, web searches aren't terribly useful because Kaufman has a fairly common name.  If you're in the know about Hattie, some of her quotes in this piece are incredibly funny.  Like the one about keeping all the books she gets out in a shed.  (I guess it's impolitic to admit to selling them on

Next puff piece: Claire Armitstead from The Guardian.  She is now apparently literary editor there.  This piece is less celebratory than most, actually.  Ms. Armitstead seems a bit naïve in not doubting HK's integrity, but she comes to as reasonable a conclusion is possible, considering the whole "two books a day" thing:

"Hmmmm. Klausner might tell it like it is, but what exactly is "it": how does she choose which two books a day to review? Who sends them to her? Her recommendations embrace such a huge, shifting ocean of novels that I'm beginning to feel seasick.


I don't doubt Klausner's integrity, and I can even see how such whole-body immersion could create a sharp sense of relative quality within certain generic categories.

But it's not going to help me choose my girlfriend's birthday present. A trip to my local bookshop, to consult someone who only reads one or two books a week, is beginning to look like time well spent."
That being said, Armitstead seems to have done an about-face, as evidenced by the following essay: The future for criticism will be on websites.  No more trips to the bookstore to talk with actual readers, I guess...

What conclusions can we draw from this list?

Well, first of all, I can't get the following image out of my head (it's from Wikipedia and hence in the public domain):

Second, I get the feeling that not a lot of effort was put into any of these pieces.  Maybe a phone call, maybe a little poking around on Amazon.  A little time in front of the computer.  But nothing more.  No investigation, no number crunching, no real exercise of mental acuity.

Third, while there is a place for human interest stories (for example, this one in the New York Times about a dog delivering supplies to hurricane Sandy victims), in the case of Harriet Klausner, I think these sorts of articles actually do a disservice -- they give Hattie legitimacy.  If Time, the Wall Street Journal, and other mainstream publications treat Hattie lightly, and don't mention the other side of the story, it's ultimately the consumers who get duped.

Thankfully, things are beginning to turn around.  Recent coverage of Hattie has been much more critical.  (See examples here and here.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hattie's Dump Day Tuesdays

I know that all of the regular followers of this blog know that Fraud Hattie has a tendency to dump a lot of fake reviews on Tuesdays. Here are this years Tuesday Dumps for 2012:

14    Tuesday, November 13, 2012
25    Tuesday, November 06, 2012
47    Tuesday, October 30, 2012
12    Tuesday, October 23, 2012
30    Tuesday, October 16, 2012
11    Tuesday, October 09, 2012
80    Tuesday, October 02, 2012
37    Tuesday, September 25, 2012
26    Tuesday, September 18, 2012
6    Tuesday, September 11, 2012
59    Tuesday, September 04, 2012
46    Tuesday, August 28, 2012
27    Tuesday, August 21, 2012
16    Tuesday, August 14, 2012
84    Tuesday, August 07, 2012
58    Tuesday, July 31, 2012
12    Tuesday, July 24, 2012
19    Tuesday, July 17, 2012
24    Tuesday, July 10, 2012
64    Tuesday, July 03, 2012
38    Tuesday, June 26, 2012
27    Tuesday, June 19, 2012
14    Tuesday, June 12, 2012
65    Tuesday, June 05, 2012
39    Tuesday, May 29, 2012
40    Tuesday, May 22, 2012
20    Tuesday, May 15, 2012
13    Tuesday, May 08, 2012
72    Tuesday, May 01, 2012
54    Tuesday, April 24, 2012
20    Tuesday, April 17, 2012
22    Tuesday, April 10, 2012
64    Tuesday, April 03, 2012
66    Tuesday, March 27, 2012
22    Tuesday, March 20, 2012
28    Tuesday, March 13, 2012
63    Tuesday, March 06, 2012
64    Tuesday, February 28, 2012
22    Tuesday, February 21, 2012
26    Tuesday, February 14, 2012
66    Tuesday, February 07, 2012
67    Tuesday, January 31, 2012
19    Tuesday, January 24, 2012
14    Tuesday, January 17, 2012
13    Tuesday, January 10, 2012
67    Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Mad Hattie's Favorite Band?

Characters in fantasies, in books for teens and tweens, in books about Amish people and Mennonites, in Westerns, in science fiction, and in erotica -- apparently all of them could benefit from the wisdom of  John Sebastian and company (according to Harriet Klausner, anyway):

"Although Nicole is the psychic, Rhodi makes the tale sing as the loving magic is in the music and the music is in him (paraphrasing the Lovin' Spoonful)."  (link)

"The Lovin' Spoonful's classic refrain: 'Did you ever have to make up your mind? Pick up on one and leave the other behind. It's not often easy and not often kind. Did you ever have to make up your mind' seems so apropos to this fabulous sci fi romance."  (link)

"She wonders if she can have her cake and eat it too, but soon will understand that Lovin' Spoonful means more than just a recipe entry, as she now knows what Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind truly means."  (link)

"If the Lovin' Spoonful had been in the Georgia village of Mossy Creek rather than Greenwich Village, they would know that hot time, summer in the mountains means plenty of fun, ole southern style."  (link)

"The question is not whether to freak or not to freak, but instead as the Lovin' Spoonful sang: 'Did you ever have to make up your mind; Pick up on one and leave the other (two) behind.'"  (link)

"This is a strange but enjoyable tale that feels like a fantasy, but is not; as Patricia McKillip provides a scholarly atmosphere in which the Lovin' Spoonful tune 'Do You Believe in Magic?' seems so apropos as there is no paranormal."  (link)  (Note: I've read this one.  Hattie's review gets some character names right but the Lovin' Spoonful reference makes no sense.  The whole "magic is in the music" thing might actually have been appropriate.  But Hattie wouldn't know that since she didn't read the book.)

"The ensemble as always in a Ms. Ray tale is on top of the charts, but the lead duet own the story line as each understands the Lovin' Spoonful's mantra 'the magic is in the music and the music is in me,' make that us." (link)

"She soon realizes she has the skill of playing with the emotions of her fans as the 'magic is in the music and the music is in' her (Lovin' Spoonful)." (link)

"Readers will enjoy Cool Like That as Gia's soundtrack in her head includes Chrisette Michele, Beyonce, Ledisi and Mraiah Carey, etc, but should also have her singing ancient history's Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? (Lovin' Spoonful)."  (link)

"Abby is terrific when she focuses on the magic issues; her overly melodramatic inability to 'make up (her) mind; pick up on one and leave the other behind' (Lovin' Spoonful) detracts from the storyline."  (link)

"Attracted to the nervous Luke as well as Ezra, Ella feels fickle but knows if given a choice she will 'have to finally decide and say yes to one and let the other one ride' (Lovin' Spoonful's Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?)."  (link)

"Fans will answer the Lovin' Spoonful question 'Do You Believe In Magic?' with a yes when reading the Cascone siblings' latest horror thriller."  (link)

"Filled with madcap scenarios fans of the series will enjoy the heroine's photographic memory (not) while also singing the Lovin' Spoonful's Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?"  (link)

"Still with a strong final twist, fans will enjoy Cealie's inquiry but also when it comes to Gil sing the Lovin' Spoonful's Did You Ever Have to make Up Your Mind?"  (link)

"Though that can also be frustrating to the reader demanding she make up her mind though not often easy pick one and leave the other behind (fractured Lovin Spoonful)."  (link)

"Candice Dow provides a Lovin' Spoonful 'Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind?' relationship drama."  (link)

"Her wacko but beloved Grandma Verda provides her beloved granddaughter with the perfect ever happy fairy tale wish. Having gypsy magic flow through her veins, Verda grants Elizabeth with whatever she wishes for by adding it to a cake she bakes for a special customer; what Grandma wants in return is for Elizabeth to once again 'believe in the magic of a young girl's heart' (thanks to Lovin' Spoonful)."  (link)

"Although the story line seems overly stretched and doubtful especially the late Cate factor as the reader after a while will hum Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? and You Didn't Have to be So Nice (Lovin' Spoonful)."  (link)

"Character driven, fans who relish something dramatically different will encourage Autumn while singing the Lovin' Spoonful's 'Did you ever have to make up your mind; Pick up on one and leave the other behind; It's not often easy and not often kind; Did you ever have to make up.'"  (link)

"Still, in spite of the toning down of the clash, fans will enjoy this stylish refrain as 'the magic is in the music and the music is in me' (Lovin' Spoonful) and you; just the preference differs."  (link)

"This engaging erotic triangle with a nod to the Lovin' Spoonful's 'Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind' is an entertaining contemporary romance."  (link)

"The latest Wanda E. Brunstetter's Amish family drama is an entertaining tale as Titus' response to the Lovin' Spoonful song 'Did You Ever have To Make Up Your Mind?' is to trust in the Lord to guide him."  (link)

I can just picture Hattie madly typing (or copy-pasting) away with "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?" playing on endless repeat.

Gack, now I can't get Lovin' Spoonful songs out of my head.

*All typos are Hattie's.  I copied this stuff directly from her Amazon reviews.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Harriet's Defenders, Part One

People from all walks of life have banded together to fight the juggernaut that is Harriet Klausner.  But there are a lot of people who, for lack of a better phrase, just don't get it.

Those of us who fight the good fight know that Hattie doesn't read the books she "reviews," has persistent problems with grammar and punctuation (including a lack of familiarity with the comma and a belief that "her 3 years old daughter" is a grammatical construction), plagiarizes publicity materials and/or other reviews, gets key details wrong, divulges spoilers, uses vulgar and offensive language in some reviews, has financial links to the publishing industry, doesn't disclose that she gets free advance copies from publishers (in violation of FTC guidelines), sells said free advance copies on in her son's name, and insults the intelligence of every member of the reading public with her claims to have read over 28,000 books in the last twelve years.

But Hattie has her defenders, and in this series of posts, we'll be taking a look at what makes them tick.

Publicity Hounds

New authors (and sometimes established authors, as well) have vested interests in promoting their books.  One way to do so is to seek online reviews.  Paid reviews have recently received negative attention, "friends and family" reviews are easy to spot, and newspaper book sections seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs, so authors and publishers often turn to bloggers, prolific Amazon reviewers, and other online presences for reviews.  When a rave review gets posted (and here, a "rave review" means 5 stars, regardless of the words that accompany said stars), the authors publicize it on Twitter, on their blogs, and elsewhere.

Quality doesn't matter for publicity hounds, it's all about quantity, about getting one more item in a list.  Hattie is fairly reliable about "reviewing" the books she receives, and of the 28,256 books she's reviewed as of this writing, only 0.3% have rated fewer than four stars, so she's a safe bet, if all you're doing is playing the numbers game.  Here are a few people who have played (or who recommend playing) the numbers game; my comments are in bold:
  • Tad Williams/Mrs. Tad (blogging and/or tweeting about HK's 5-star review for Tad's latest book)
  • Author Michele Shriver (suggests targeting HK with review copies
  • A publisher of romance novels: "As the publisher of this book, I know for a fact that she was not paid to do this review. When you have proof that she was paid, please post it. Until then, you are wrong for misleading people. She is sent galleys for review just like every other reviewer but has NEVER been paid for any review on any Strebor title."  FYI: Hattie violated FTC disclosure guidelines by failing to report that she received an advance copy of the book in exchange for a review.
  • Author Linda Lafferty: "Thank you for your review, Harriet--the first on the date of publication."  The problem is that Harriet Klausner's reviews are nearly always the first ones on the date of publication, if not before.  Sometimes they're even for sale on before the date of pubication.
Clueless Readers

If you don't spend a lot of time reading Amazon reviews,  maybe you haven't encountered too many of Hattie's.  At first, they don't seem to be much of an issue.  All the references to "over the top of" this or that mountain, "lower heads," "still fans," "relish," and "[age] years old [name]" seem inane, but innocuous.  I ignored Harriet Klausner at first, too.  But as I read more reviews, I kept seeing her name.  And I wasn't impressed with the quality of the reviews she was posting out there.  I Googled her, and learned I wasn't the only person who took note.  However, some people who are not aware, still feel the need to comment.  Some examples (again, my comments are in bold):
  • Amazon comment: "Yes! This review is unique in identifying the theme of this book as the myriad complications of all the characters' misunderstanding one another's actions and motivations. The complications brought about by such presumptions--and by their further failure to understand themselves--lead to incredible chaos and plot development. Wonderful, but flawed, people throughout contribute to a delightful portrayal of social, cultural and personal differences. Klausner has it right. The author has produced a modern-day shakespearean comedy. (I write this with still 100 pages to go. Those who complain that it is not a " fast read" are right--but looking for the wrong values. I wanted to make sure I was on the right track before I finished.)"  Note: Check out the publisher's book description, Publishers Weekly review, and Booklist review for the title (click the link).  Many of the key points from Hattie's review can be found in those.  There's nothing new or original in what HK wrote.
  • Amazon comment: "I actually read the book and loved it - and reviewed it. Despite what some may say, there are real people who post real reviews and this happens to be one of them. You won't be disappointed in this book, especially if you like the older, first person style - I had a hard time putting this one down. Don't let comments by some who may not know the whole story ruin things for you."  This comment is a little confusing but appears to be a reaction to a comment someone posted on one of Harriet's reviews.  Those of us here at HKAS are well aware that there ARE real people who post real reviews -- including many of us, for books we paid for out of our own pockets.  We just know that Hattie is not one such person.
  • Amazon comment: "I do not understand all you people!!! Maybe this person actually liked the book! To each their own. Just becuase you guys did not like the book... doesn't mean that nobody does! I love this series... and I look forward to reading this new addition! Thanks Harriet!"  One commenter in this thread mentioned not caring for the book.  Most of the rest commented on the fact that there was yet another fake review by Harriet.  Listen, Hattie didn't really like the book because she didn't read it.  The person quoted here is clearly not acquainted with Hattie's work.
  • Amazon comment: "I've read all of Stuart Woods' Stone Barrington's books except the last one, DC Dead, solely based upon the reviews of Amazon (and my rather lackluster reading of Son of Stone). It's very nice to read such a through and knowledgeable review. Thank you, Harriet. And kudos for referencing Luther, an excellent but little known series."  Hattie is actually known for making random pop culture references.  She's quoted the Lovin' Spoonful no fewer than 22 times.  Including in a review of a book for middle schoolers who would totally not get the reference.
  • Amazon comment: "Simon Davis: What did you mean by your post? I am not sure I understand why Harriet is a fraud or why you take offense to "fast paced fans of the Malory brood"? What am I missing here???"  This was, sadly, in response to a comment that later got deleted.  However, I am proud to say this user stuck around to read further comments and learned the truth.
  • Amazon comment: "I don't get it...are there people out there who leave reviews just to be a "hall of fame reviewer"? So she didn't really read this? This is sincerely the first I've ever heard of anything like this."  Well, I'm sure Hattie likes the attention.  But she also likes the money she gets from selling books on (books that publishers sent her for free).  
  • Amazon comment: "Hello Harriet! I always look for your reviews first! Thank you!"  Well, you will never be disappointed because Harriet's reviews always appear first.  
Failed Socratic Elenchi

I learned a new word today.  I love you, MacBook Dictionary App!
  • Amazon comment: "To Embee: If she gets all these review copies as you say, why accept them if she will never read them?"  Answer: She sells them.
  • Amazon comment: "Why do they continue employing her knowing everyone knows she does this for a job and doesn't actually read the books she doesn't actually review? So therefore, people won't believe her and will not buy the book based on her supposed recommendation."  I wish you were right.  I do.  But there are clearly a lot of people who have no idea.  (See the "Clueless Readers" section above.)
  • Amazon comment: "I think the argument here misses the point. Ms Klausner reviews HUGE numbers of books.....maybe she's a fast reader? She is also known to have a mailing list of "friends" who "yes" vote her reviews, giving her a very high "rating" as an Amazon reviewer. (NOTE: in her profile, note that she is the #1 rated reviewer on Amazon, a "Hall of Fame" reviewer".)
    Also, some of her reviews are SAID to be taken directly from the blurbs on the back covers of the books being reviewed...or from the editorial review of the book....maybe she thought they just "said it best" ? There is probably no single more contraversial reviewer on Amazon due to these reasons, and the people who've watched her career as a reviewer (whom I paraphrase) feel she is entirely bogus, and reads maybe a small portion of what she reviews......Not MY opinion, I'm neutral, just repeating what is widely said on Amazon among circles who discuss reviews and reviewing in a serious manner."  First of all, we know Hattie takes reviews from the cover blurbs and/or publicity material.  Second of all, she's averaged something like seven books a day in the last twelve years.  Some days, she posts 20, 30, 40, or more reviews -- many for books on the day of their release.  She's not a fast reader.  And if another review (PW, book jacket copy, etc.) said it best?  Well, there's a way to handle that without plagiarizing.
  • Amazon comment: "You people realize there are such things called ARCs, right? And people read them, and post reviews on the release day? Just an FYI!"  Oh, we know.  We also know she sells them, which is a no-no.  We also know she doesn't disclose that she received them, which is also a no-no.   
  • Amazon comment: "Is somebody forcing you to read Ms Klausner's reviews?"  Well, it's a little bit like rubbernecking at a car accident, truthfully.  That being said, sometimes Hattie's reviews are the only reviews available.  And they're EVERYWHERE.
A Few That Defy Categorization
  • Amazon comment: "I think you should leave her alone. Many people have disabilities. She has done nothing wrong. I believe this is harassment."  Later, from the same person: "Thanks, Harriet. I always enjoy your reviews. You seem like a very nice person."  So yeah, it wouldn't be very nice to make fun of someone with disabilities.  But, um, no one mentioned anything about disabilities.  You're the one who threw that term into the discussion. 
  • Amazon comment: "I understand people's annoyance with phony reviews and other forms of shilling. But I'm not sure about the obsession with them -- the blogs and counter-blogs. It's really a bit out of control. Then again, as a reader I've never bought a book based only on a stranger/customer review (or even a lot of them). As a writer, I move on quickly from negative reviews -- especially the ones that seem the most baseless. (It's the kind that seem really legit that sting.)"  Well, I could write an entire manifesto on this.  But here are a few thoughts, stated as succinctly as possible: Lots of honest reviewers exist.  But they actually read the books they review.  If you actually read the books, you just can't produce anywhere near the volume Hattie does.  Her reviews saturate the market, they take attention away from legitimate reviews that might actually help someone make a purchasing decision.  Hattie's reviews are often the only ones there for new books.  The presence of an HK review has been known to deter people from buying books.  This hurts the authors, who miss out on sales, but it also hurts the readers, who might actually enjoy the books.   Look, I could go on.  But take a look around at HKAS, check out the links in my second paragraph.  See what exactly it is that she's done, that we find so reprehensible.  (I suppose that wasn't too succinct.  But thinking about Hattie just makes me want to rant.)
I want to end by saying thanks to everyone affiliated with the HKAS; although my screen name appears at the bottom of this post, it was truly a collective effort.  All the links and e-mail texts and research and suggestions you provided are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fraud Hattie Stats for October 2012

Fraud Hattie October Stats:
On Jan 31st, Hattie's ranking was 873, today, it's 1375. She dropped in rank 502 places. Here's a month by month breakdown for 2012:

Date . Fake Reviews . Avg . YTD . Votes . Helpful . % . Not Helpful . % . Relish . Fans . Rank
Jan 2012 . 214 . 6.90 . 6.90 . 1044 . 506 . 48% . 538 . 52% . 25 . 2555 . 873
Feb 2012 . 203 . 7.25 . 7.08 . 599 . 423 . 71% . 176 . 29% . 16 . 2555 . 1053
Mar 2012 . 219 . 7.06 . 7.07 . 730 . 509 . 70% . 221 . 30% . 17 . 2555 . 1069
Apr 2012 . 195 . 6.50 . 6.93 . 730 . 514 . 70% . 216 . 30% . 15 . 2555 . 1077
May 2012 . 214 . 6.90 . 6.92 . 733 . 485 . 66% . 248 . 34% . 17 . 2555 . 1075
Jun 2012 . 189 . 6.30 . 6.82 . 646 . 374 . 58% . 272 . 42% . 20 . 2555 . 1069
Jul 2012 . 215 . 6.94 . 6.84 . 617 . 358 . 58% . 259 . 42% . 22 . 2555 . 1106
Aug 2012 . 213 . 6.87 . 6.84 . 583 . 310 . 53% . 273 . 47% . 12 . 2555 . 1200
Sep 2012 . 200 . 6.67 . 6.82 . 431 . 231 . 54% . 200 . 46% .. 9 . 2592 . 1266
Oct 2012 . 229 . 7.39 . 6.88 . 504 . 243 . 48% . 261 . 52% . 23 . 2606 . 1375

She went down 94 places 2 months ago, 66 places last month and 109 places in October. Are recent votes having an effect on Frau Hattie's ranking? Here are some voting stats: Hattie's overall votes still remain at helpful 74% and 26% unhelpful and have stayed there for quite some time. In October, Hattie received 979 votes, 586 (60%) helpful and 393 (40%) unhelpful. Votes for all the fake reviews she posted just in October (229 fake reviews), she received 243 helpful (48%) and 261 unhelpful (52%).

All the recent comments on Fraud Hattie's fake reviews are making a difference!