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Customer Discussions > Kindle Book forum

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

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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 3:56:42 PM PDT
I agree. There should have been some sort of damage control.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 4:08:22 PM PDT
Absolutely! It's a badge of honour being on the sidebar of shame.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 4:39:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 4:42:12 PM PDT
cathyr says:
I've been thinking about this - and there is no way I'm telling people how to write a review or in any way criticising Corey's actions. But my thoughts. (And yes, I've said some of this before).

A review has two parts.

The star rating.
A purely personal subjective statement on your response to the book. I loved it, I hated it. We love and hate for all sorts of reasons. Including the author's response to a book.

The review itself.
This is where we get to explain ourselves. We get to say *why* the book did/didn't work. We get to tell the next reader what we would have wanted to know (as encouraged by Amazon). We review the book, but we also review our experience of the book. We get to say "I was adopted too and this is my experience" or "The teacher made us over-analysise the book and now the mere thought of it turns my stomach" or even "I love this author, I love everything she ever wrote, and she nailed that Villain to the wall". It's still subjective, but we have to state *why*.

Now, how does this relate to the current dramas?

Your review is your expression of your experience with this book. And that experience can change over time. We all have books we loved as teens but when read as adults it's really just carp. Or that we now associate with a difficult/joyous time in our lives and get from it different things.

For Corey, this book is apparently one of them. No matter what she originally thought of the book it will be forever an "I hate it" because of the author/fans. Which means she's within her rights to 1-star it.

But what about reviewing the author rather than the book?

First up, it happens all the time, particularly on 5-star fan reviews. That doesn't make it right, just that it happens. It is not unusual to see "I haven't read this yet, but I love everything she writes!" reviews. And you don't see authors complaining about it.

In this particular case, I think it would have paid the reviewer to leave her review as it was, reviewing the BOOK, but adding a comment or ETA reviewing her subsequent experience. Changing the star to reflect this.

As a Vine reviewer, it would have been difficult for Corey to *remove* her review. All she could do was make changes to reflect her current opinion. And it takes a lot of integrity to do this. Because it would have been easier to leave it, and the changes would inevitably draw fire. However, she needed to make a decision as to whether she wanted *her* 5-star review to potentially financially support the author, and tacitly support the fan-angst. So she put her words where her mouth is and took the hits.

Now, we've seen many situations where this just doesn't work. A reviewer is supposed to review the book *only* and not address any of the outlying dramas. When you become embroiled in them, that's difficult. (And I've already stated it's pretty much impossible given the baggage we all bring with us).

But so many people just don't get what an amateur Amazon review is all about.

It's not a report card. There are no recordable, testable criteria from which the star rating is drawn.
There's no standard testing of reviewers to make sure they have appropriate education/writing skills/heart/understanding/economic status to review *this* book as desired by The Author.
There is no moderation by Amazon (bar meeting the guidelines) to make sure it's okay.

It's just one person's experience with *this* product - as biased as that may be.

To some people that makes Amazon reviews useless. The innate biases invalidate the whole process. So be it.

To others, the community of readers, who each bring their own opinions, *together* make a competent view. So the more, varied, reviews the better.

At least Corey did the author and future readers the credit of *explaining* why she was re-starring her review. She made the effort to spell out her experience subsequent to reviewing. There are plenty of very good reviews discussing the book. Her review as it stood would have been just one more 4-star critique - A Good Thing, but no longer properly expressing her personal opinion. And thus the change she made adds to the consumers knowledge.

ETA (as if this isn't long enough already) I've since gone to read Corey's page and she's pretty much said this was her thought process. So I'm not putting too many words in her mouth *phew*

"At this point I had had enough. I couldn't stand the thought of the fact that my review could even get one person to buy her book so I decided to change the review. I've done so in the past when my mind has changed on a product or book and never have had an issue with this in the least. I changed my review from 4 to 1 star and stated why I did. The novel was okay but I couldn't in good faith support an author whom supports the kind of behavior that was going on with the initial 1 star review. Since this item was a Vine product, I can't simply delete the review. I hit save and figured that while I was only one person, at least I'm not longer supporting an author whom encourages this kind of behavior from her husband and fans."

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 4:56:50 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Reading the post on STGRB now, I note Melissa Douthit is mentioned!

"What was disturbing to us? She says: "... leveling yourself to the level of Melissa Douthit, Jamie McGuire, and many others who couldn't take one single criticism of their `precious books.'" She immediately assumes the gossip she has heard about these authors to be true.
Now, Melissa Douthit has been pretty quiet these past couple months, staying out of all the chaos swirling around the book community, which is why we were surprised to see her finally break her silence and step in to set the record straight:"
[cut and paste of MD's post from: ]
"(Note: Merary removed Melissa's name from her original comment after Melissa posted this.)"

And subsequently discusses why MD *isn't* a bully author who attacks *her* reviewers.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:13:32 PM PDT
<<Mr. Green... You sir, are quite the bully. Heretofore, I had appreciated you mostly as a reviewer of dirty novelettes, a genre which I had no idea needed reviewing.>>

<<I was already aware of your blog, but I find it nowhere near as interesting as your excellent reviews of dirty novelettes, which made even me raise a jaded eyebrow.>>

<<Perhaps by `counter charges' you mean to my insistent repetition (here comes the third one!) of your being renowned far and wide as a dirty-book reviewer. That isn't a charge, so much as a statement of fact. I want to make sure everybody gets it, so they will go and look and maybe have a giggle.>>

Faso, that you?!? Been lookin' all over for ya!

I did a whole buncha my renowned dirty novelette reviews lately, further enhancing my far-reaching fame... even typed them up one-handed, just the way you'd have wanted me to! ;p

If you like, I'll even email you the unrated versions, the ones with all the juicy stuff Amazon won't let me post. You can 'critique' them for me. C'mon, whaddaya say?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:13:36 PM PDT
Because those simpering cowards refuse to answer emails or posts. I know--I've tried.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:14:16 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 23, 2012 5:36:29 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:20:46 PM PDT
Did you see Bookish Belle's tweet "I just love reading Melissa Douthit pretending not to be Melissa Douthit and talking about how awesome Melissa Douthit is".

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 5:22:32 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Not there yet, but give it time!

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 5:55:00 PM PDT
cathyr says:
FYI - and getting somewhat back on track, a poster on another thread directed readers to AW for their take on Giffins. There wasn't much there, until DB pops up to once again not provide any proof to allegations he makes, depite being asked for them repeatedly.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 5:56:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 6:32:33 PM PDT
cathyr says:
And the deleted post was mine - I reposted comments made about me by STGRB and included some defence of it by me I can't remember now.

ETA And since they keep quoting me out of context and responding over there... *waves*.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 7:16:20 PM PDT
There were a few posts by someone who seemed to be coming from an opposing point of view. She asked questions, but in a couple of posts she was in their camp. Not hard to see that one was a plant.

They never let anyone on who really is in opposition. There is no debate back and forth. It's a bunch of old women gossipy over the back fence. (And old women includes any males that may post on that site.)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 7:23:52 PM PDT
She sounded almost human, but not reasonable. Her definition of an attacking review was hers alone. She doesn't see things the way a reasonable person would, so she had to create a site and a bunch of sock puppet commenters (or gather a bunch of other disgruntled authors/people with no social skills) to make herself feel like she is right and everyone else is wrong. Except it didn't work, because she's not right.

No matter how much they tout the number of hits they get or claim there are so many authors on their side with horror stories, nobody believes her because there is no evidence. Nothing they've put on their site is really about bad reviews. It's all personal, because her little feelings were hurt.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 7:30:17 PM PDT
O B says:
Agree with everything you said.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 7:44:00 PM PDT
cathyr says:
*grin* That's very cool.

Of course, I might just be preaching to the choir here...

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 8:05:44 PM PDT
*waves* Hello. I was directed here from my infamous review (LOL). I had no idea until last night that such a STGRB existed.

Let's just say it's been a long freaking day. Her publicist just sent me an email and asked that I give him a call. Honestly at this point I'm afraid to talk with anyone that represents her without proof of what was said and by whom.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 8:24:09 PM PDT
cathyr says:
I'm sure that contacting the publicist would be fine. IF you are worried, you can ask her if it would be alright to either have someone else on the line with you, or if you could tape it (I'm sure there are apps for that).

If you are still uncomfortable, ask her if you can keep the dialogue in email.

I'd write yourself a list before you speak to her, specifically addressing questions you want answered and what you want to happen now. Be very clear with yourself about where you stand and what you want - is it just an apology, to let it go, or is there something more specific? Are you actually hurt by this mess, or just a bit ticked off? Why *did* you change the review? Would you be prepared to change it back and/or delete it? Why? When?

Talk it through with a good friend so you know you're clear.

And good luck. I hope you find a resolution you are comfortable with.

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 8:25:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2012 8:28:15 PM PDT
I'm a bit behind today....What happened to AvidReaders review of EG book?
Edit: NEvermind I found it...I'm dead tired. Had a long day at work....Goodnight Everyone...Goodluck Corey.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 8:28:07 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Nada. And no apology (although someone linked to the one on Corey's).

And the post from husband including the line "But I get sick of seeing these posts by jokers who have never reviewed a book and write a one line, one star review because they have some other issue." is still there.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 8:57:44 PM PDT
I had to laugh at his comment:

>>But as I have said, I will not get dragged into this debate here.<<

I was unaware that AW goes to people's houses and forces them to post on AW. Gotta love the initiative! ;)

Posted on Aug 23, 2012 9:01:24 PM PDT
I decided to stick to email, he did end up sending a second email stating how sorry he was for what has happened so there is finally an apology from the Giffin camp.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 9:04:25 PM PDT
I just read your blogpost and thought it was very well documented.

I hope you'll post about your conversation with her publicist, either on your blog or here, if you decide to go through with it. I'm really intrigued about how that will go.

I don't blame you for being afraid to talk to anyone that represents her. I think cathy's suggestions are good ones to give some thought to.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 9:05:35 PM PDT
But not an apology from her. Or an admission of wrong doing.

At this point I'd say the publicist is sorry for what happened because it's had a negative affect on her sales. Does that make me cynical?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 9:15:58 PM PDT
Iola says:
Well, that's nice, but it's an apology from someone who wasn't actually involved (i.e. not EG, not Mr G and not the rude assistant).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 9:16:56 PM PDT
Iola says:
Great minds think alike.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  101
Total posts:  3426
Initial post:  Aug 12, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 7, 2013

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