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Is There Or Isn't There An Amazon Review Mafia?


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Initial post: Aug 12, 2012 5:12:32 PM PDT
I go with isn't, since from the day D. Brimson started his thread I have seen no evidence. Not one shred of proof. His reasoning:

I'll do it when I'm ready.

I have a life. (After which he proceeds to tell us all the exciting things he's doing. I'm so thrilled.)

You'll see. (This one terrifies me. Okay, maybe not terrifies. More like makes me break out into peals of laughter.)

Here is the thread that started it all:

http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle%20book/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx3RFWX8IMGF85E&cdThread=TxAO3OZEOA1NEU

The only thing you will find out when reading that thread is that Dougie is a sensitive lad, and that I am the mastermind behind every poster on the thread who disagrees with him. (Maybe I'll start a Laughing at the Ridiculous Mafia.)

Now let me be frank. (No, I'm not changing my name. The other kind of frank.)

1 ~ I am only me. I have no sock puppets, though I do have a drawer full of socks and multiple puppets. But I wear the socks and let my students play with the puppets.

I did open a second account when I got my Kindle, because I had the bright idea that I would keep my Kindle purchases separate from my regular purchases. I posted about three times, but being the naive sock puppet that I am, I told the people in the thread who I was. We call outing oneself: Sock Puppet Fail! I gave up on that account and cannot remember the user name nor password. Poor sock puppet, so lonely.

2 ~ Dougie accused me of writing nasty, vindictive reviews. The only problem with that accusation (aside from its being false) is that I have never written an Amazon review. I have never written a Goodreads review. I have never written a review, per se.

I have talked about a few books on my blog, books that I really liked. For instance, I read Eiffel's Tower and blogged about different aspects of the World's Fair and the Eiffel Tower, because it was that fascinating. But regular reviews? Nope. Never done it.

3 ~ I do not use my real name for various and sundry reasons, mostly concerning safety. I think it's wise to do this. Dougie thinks people should only be allowed to review under their real name. Why? I don't know. He doesn't really say. The only reason I can think of is so that the person can be harassed by the author.

Now I don't believe there is such a thing as a review mafia. But if someone has evidence, please present it so we can see what we think. And please know, a negative review is not evidence of a review mafia. It is evidence that someone didn't like your book for some reason(s). Not liking a review does not a mafia make.

In my next post I will discuss another thing I see happening that could cause more friction between authors and readers.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 5:13:10 PM PDT
There is an author, Rosetta Mowery, who responded to her 1-star reviews. Others responded to her, mostly telling her that it wasn't wise for her to respond to negative reviews. I explained to her why it wasn't a good idea and she deleted her comments. I thought that would be it. But no. She is now on the review mafia bandwagon in a big way.

Here's the book she has:

http://www.amazon.com/Tragedy-Tin-Holler-Rozetta-mowery/product-reviews/0982122349/ref=cm_rdphist_1?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0

Here's where she invites people to contact Dougie with their horror stories.

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Amazon-Review-Mafia-84480.S.144695264?qid=03d4adc8-bc45-42ce-b464-1b95f95e2746&trk=group_most_popular_guest-0-b-ttl&goback=.gde_84480_member_137999820.gmp_84480

Notice what she calls posters that she doesn't like? Not just bullies.

>>Those raving psychopaths attacked me for commenting on some of my negative reviews that were clearly done by trolls.<<

>>You are absolutely correct Danny! I love it when a bully is brought to justice and they have to face the public for what they have done! Are you familiar with restorative justice?<<

And she advocates for voting "good" reviews up and "bad" reviews down.

>>And if you have time, click "no" on those negative reviews and "yes" on all the others. I want those psychopaths to know that we can and do outnumber them and we won't tolerate their bullying anymore. Thanks everybody....you're all GREAT! And if any of you need my help to do the same for you, just let me know, because I'm an advocate against abuse of all kinds, including internet bullying.<<

>>My friends are clicking away and my best reviews are going to the top where they should be! That's a good tip for all of you to know.<<

So much for ethical behavior where reviews are concerned. And Rosetta is by no means the only author to do or ask others to do this.

Rosetta's comment almost made me go to her book and down vote all her 5-star reviews and up vote her 1-star reviews. What stopped me? I think it's morally wrong to do this. And I'm not going to sink to the level of authors who get their families, friends and fans to do it.

So I've had my say. What do y'all think?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 5:18:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 12, 2012 5:21:05 PM PDT
Splinker says:
And i get accused of pot stirring.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 5:23:32 PM PDT
G. says:
I think these particular authors are profoundly DESPERATE for attention. Not one of them is a best-selling author; if they were, their publicist would tell them to stop attacking readers. Sadly, these "authors" have no professional back-up, and will continue to show their collective backsides. I say to them: continue posting anti-reader rants, and continue to disparage your possible customer base. Meh, I have no investment, and find it almost amusing that in their rush to put off readers, they don't get the basic fact that said readers, are their bread and butter. I say keep on keeping on. These are not authors I would buy; now many people will not even take a chance at their unknown/unproven name, because they have shown themselves to be anti-reader.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 5:29:41 PM PDT
If there is a mafia, it must be a stealth mafia...as in hiding out with the Loch Ness Monster and space aliens stealthy, because I haven't seen it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 5:36:27 PM PDT
There's a difference between pot stirring and exposing what people are doing.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 5:38:56 PM PDT
It's so stealthy that I don't even know it, and I'm supposedly the mastermind behind it!

I have seen negative reviews. I have never seen a group of the same people posting negative reviews for the same book or books.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 5:52:08 PM PDT
What there do seem to be rather a lot of are "authors" who feel that *any* criticism of their work must be spiteful because their prose is so sublime.

Or, as I refer to them, untalented, uneducated, unappetizing, unbright, uncivil, uncontrollable, unprincipled, underwhelming, undesirable, ungrateful crybabies.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 6:41:40 PM PDT
Scamp says:
It has reached the point where these so-called authors are running afoul of Amazon when they publicly state they are going to out people in the manner of STGRB. By targeting and attempting to intimidate reviewers, they are hitting at the very heart of Amazon's review system, which the company obviously greatly values because it is a big feather in its virtual hat.

And I wonder how Amazon would respond to organized voting on reviews. The company shut down threads that were tagging circles because these circles, by their very design, were organized to enhance rankings. Ditto the review trading, which has also seen Amazon's censure. Organized efforts to interfere with review placement on the product page cannot be a desirable activity for this company.

I'm thinking of writing to CS about this, providing links that prove authors are trying to *organize* against Amazon customers.

Speaking of organized...

There is no "mafia" without organization. What I see is authors organizing, and being upfront about it publicly, to:

- Gather data on Amazon's customers & reviewers and circumvent the anonymity that Amazon guarantees its customers
- Downvote the reviews of Amazon customers who dare to say they do not LOVE a book, thereby messing with not only the placement of reviews on a product page but with reviewers' rankings also
- Upvote positive reviews on a book to shift their placement to the front of the review queue.

I also wonder what the Federal Trade Commission would think of these activities. I suspect this all runs afoul of the law as well as Amazon and its customers.

*******
So is there an Amazon Review Mafia? Well, there have been customer discussions about Badly Behaving Authors. There is nothing organized of which I have ever been aware. Certainly I have been permitted to post on these threads despite any non-affiliation with a *group*.

No, there is no ARM. There are customers who gravitate towards those threads because they are tired of sock puppetry, author meltdowns, and generally anti-customer practices.

"Mafia" by definition IS organized. The only organizing I see going on is by these BBAs.

This all makes me want to participate *more* in the BBA threads than just the handful of posts I have made. I am grateful to these readers, especially those active in the Romance Forum who have worked very hard to keep BBAs from spamming. It is the cleanest forum on Amazon, aside from the Kindle Forum.

Between the spammers, the mindless ones who shut down Lendle, the bloggers who are actively trying to hurt customers, and these vitriolic self-appointed "mafia" hunters, a lot of damage is being done to self-publishing.

I feel so bad for the authors who are watching this and wincing at every turn. They don't deserve it, but they are likely to be hurt by it.

:(

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:06:29 PM PDT
I'm beginning to think we need a thread where we do nothing but list authors who are organizing to harm reviewers and link/post what they are doing.

>>I feel so bad for the authors who are watching this and wincing at every turn. They don't deserve it, but they are likely to be hurt by it.<<

This if one of the things that makes me so upset. There are too many wonderful authors who don't do anything shady and interact wonderfully with readers. They don't deserve to be lumped in with the rest of these clueless authors.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 7:11:08 PM PDT
Splinker says:
Priceless.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:12:51 PM PDT
Thanks, Splinker.

I knew you were starting to like me better, but I had no idea how high I had risen in your esteem! :)

(You really need to use "Reply to" and clarify a bit.)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:14:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 12, 2012 7:15:08 PM PDT
Splinker says:
It was a general priceless, encompassing authors and posters alike.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:16:27 PM PDT
Could you expand a bit on your thoughts on both authors and posters?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:19:52 PM PDT
Splinker says:
It's the same ole same ole. Author does something bad. You discuss it, Scamp hops over and knowingly or unknowingly spews a few barbs and insults at writers in general with some throw away disclaimer and the sit storm begins.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:21:19 PM PDT
Scamp says:
Well, I want to add Danny Culpepper to the list of those organizing to harm reviewers. He was listed as Danny C. at first (over on that Linked In discussion), but now his full name is showing.

I would appreciate such a thread myself.

As for the nice authors, they are also likely to become targets, simply for being cordial with readers the *conspiracy theorists* don't like. Some posters have expressed that they believe authors should speak out against the BBA practices. I'm not so sure. These people are malicious, they are accustomed to shady practices, and would have no qualms about targeting other authors and their books ... or perhaps spreading malicious gossip about them.

It's hard to believe that things have come to this. **sad**

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:30:43 PM PDT
I don't think she's insulting authors in general. It's the ones who start screaming about a review mafia, with no proof, and mess with reviews by asking people to up vote 5-star reviews and down vote 1-star reviews that we're talking about.

And what D. Brimson has done is unconscionable. He's attacked my credibility without offering any proof at all. Just as Rosetta is calling posters psychopaths. These two go way beyond self promotion or self reviewing.

These are libelous accusations and I don't think people should just let them go on their merry way strewing this kind of viciousness around without holding them accountable.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:33:53 PM PDT
I don't see Danny C.'s full name showing. Do you have to be a LinkedIn member to see it?

I think we have to make people aware of what's going on. Dougie is certainly trying on his end.

>>PLEASE SPREAD THIS MESSAGE AS WIDE AS YOU CAN. WITH YOUR HELP WE CAN HELP THE VICTIMS AND BEGIN THE FIGHT BACK.<<

If we don't do anything, reviewers might become more and more unwilling to write reviews.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 7:36:08 PM PDT
It's American Idol. (and most likely all the other talent shows out there)

Every year you see the same thing. There is at least one singer in the opening rounds who is completely tone deaf. They screech or moan their way through something that is supposed to be a song. Then when the judges tell them that they were terrible they act shocked. Some of them immediately attack the criticism of the judges and question their qualifications to judge. Then afterwords they continue ranting and any friends or family who are their also back them up.

If a person is completely delusional about their abilities but that delusion is reinforced by their family praising them then it's not surprising that they consider the criticism to be some sort of conspiracy. In their own minds they are truly talented so how could criticism be anything except some bizarre sort of plot against them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUyKpfbB9M8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLCJtZcak3Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrGgK5xC-GY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axZLLAGFXRM

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 7:39:56 PM PDT
Karen Walker says:
Thanks for the information, Anna.
I've heard about the so called Review Mafia, but since I'm not here often enough I didn't quite understand what everyone was talking about. I have a few authors to add to my Never Read list... or maybe I'll read just so I can review. Maybe it would be better to get a sample first ... can a person write a decent review based on a sample??
Humm ... I just hate the idea of my money going to these types of people. I think I'll read the reviews then sample then decide.
Again, thanks for the heads up!
.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:41:37 PM PDT
Splinker says:
I don't have a horse in this race. Just saying how it looks to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:41:53 PM PDT
Scamp says:
Ah, that's the difference. I did sign in at one point. It didn't occur to me that seeing/not seeing the name had anything to with being a member. but yeah, I am noticing that all their names are showing now.

(Duh me. ;))

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:46:18 PM PDT
Scamp says:
>>...spews a few barbs and insults at writers in general...<<

At no time did I speak of "writers in general." My entire post kept referring to this crowd being organized by DB. Provide a quote from my post that proves anything you just said.

I don't care if you like me or don't like me, Splinker. Just stop the BS.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 7:54:23 PM PDT
Splinker says:
Please. You have cultivated an aura of aggressivness here and elsewhere. You come off nasty and petty to people who aren't friendly with you. It isn't a matter of liking you or not liking you. You post with an eye to arguing and belittling. It makes it hard, for me at least, to take seriously arguments about dougie's behavior and other things you post about. At the very least, it's easy to see why people may overreact to what you post here.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2012 8:10:33 PM PDT
Scamp says:
Don't waste your time posting these venomous diatribes, apparently designed to portray me as some kind of villain. Your attention-getting attempts have failed, so it looks like you want someone to blame.

And you're hurting yourself, but you do not see it. You have books to sell, yes? Getting in spitting contests with customers is not the way to go about it, but I can see that this has not penetrated yet. Your problem, not mine.

And I'm not continuing this. It's childish and I don't have the time nor the inclination to have any more conversations with you.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  101
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Initial post:  Aug 12, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 7, 2013

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