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Are you a victim of the Amazon review mafia?


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Initial post: Jul 14, 2012 1:18:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 2:35:22 AM PDT
Whilst researching a screenplay involving the subject of trolling, I've been contacted by numerous authors who have been targeted by what I've termed the Amazon Review Mafia.

These are the people who have set them up as some kind of amateur review police with the aim of monitoring self-published authors and even other reviewers for any evidence of anything from poor grammar to eliciting fake reviews which they then post up on BBR and BBA type forums. An admirable aim for sure but all too often, this results being that said author or reviewer receives anything from a mild rebuke to what some people might even term trolling. Indeed, I have experienced as much myself albeit in part because I didn't succumb to the abuse directed at me.

However, I'm also starting to uncover evidence that they are up to other less savoury activities and as such, I'm keen to hear from any self-published authors or indeed readers who have been targeted by them.

If you have and would like to discuss your experiences, please drop me a line either on this forum or if you would prefer, privately on dougieATdougiebrimson.com

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 5:24:09 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 14, 2012 1:10:01 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 5:34:11 AM PDT
And no doubt, be quite happy to criticise it having done so! :-D

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 5:38:00 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 14, 2012 6:54:29 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 5:55:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 6:01:24 AM PDT
Karen Mead says:
This event is difficult for me to talk about, but for the sake of your investigation I feel I must find the strength.
I have indeed met the Amazon Review Mafia, or at least one of it's shadowed numbers.

One day, soon after publishing my book to the Kindle store, a man in a trench coat snuck up behind me on the
way to my car. "Like semicolons, do you," he hissed, pulling me towards him. "Are short, clean sentences not good enough for you?"

"What? I-I just like punctuation!" I stuttered. "I was an English major; it happens."

His sneering laughter rang through my head.

"Did you even proofread that book? Character names inconsistent, careless typos galore. Entire sentences, ungrammatical.
It's an abomination."

I tried to scream, but he put a gloved hand over my mouth. He was enjoying this; making me remember all those times I thought
about editing my manuscript, but spent the time playing video games instead.

"Don't worry, I gave you one star," he hissed in a lover's whisper. "Though that's one more than the likes of you deserves."

At that, he pushed me down, turning away to melt into the night. Just as I was about to breathe a tremendous sigh
of relief, I heard his mocking voice emanating from the mists.

"Be careful what you publish to Amazon; we're watching. They sent me this time, but one more redundant adverb
and you'll have to deal with Anna. My mistress longs to critique your word choice." His cackling laughter still haunts
my nightmares to this day.

So, that's my tale of woe; it took a lot of courage to type that out, so I hope you can use it. Is this going to be in
The Economist? I'll tell my Mom if it's in The Economist.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 5:58:14 AM PDT
Splinker says:
Thank you for sharing. You ate very brave and i am sure others will find comfort in your words. It's nice to know that i am not alone.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 6:17:58 AM PDT
Alina says:
Did she eat Hormel Chili, because, like, you said she ate brave.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 6:23:31 AM PDT
Splinker says:
Hormel Chili, Taco Bell and Costco free samples are what keeps the indie writing industry alive.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 6:24:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 6:25:07 AM PDT
Really, in all seriousness why do you waste your time on here trying to entertain a rather sad collection of individuals when you could and clearly should be using your obvious talent doing something far more creative?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 6:26:41 AM PDT
Really Dougie?
I would think that someone with your range of accomplishments behind his belt wouldn/t need to go down the route of a 'Stephen Leather' image on Azon.
While you're researching the persecution of SP authors just remember to delve deeper into the actual books that have received neg. reviews and the subsequent behaviour of said persecuted authors.

You received the same kind of reception on a few of the UK forums. Why is that?
Perhaps you need to look a little closer at your marketing strategy instead of going after readers.
Stephen Leather might be well known on Azon threads, but he isn't known for great writing and superb books.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 6:46:38 AM PDT
Oh a new face...

But don't worry, I'm not naive enough to forget that some people will have been on the receiving end of things because it will have been deserved. However, please don't make the mistake of thinking that this is about me marketing my books, wanting my pound of flesh or anything like it. It really isn't. After all, my books aren't SP and have been on sale for some considerable time so I rarely bother to do any marketing relating to them these days even though they continue to sell in reasonable and steady numbers. And having been a professional writer for 16 years, mostly writing about a very violent underground culture, I've dealt with abuse and jealousy throughout my career so a few anonymous fools on internet forums are of little consequence. Especially when in truth, I actually set out to elicit the type of responses I got.

No, this is about a potential media story. Simple as that. If it pans out great, if it doesn't, well it won't be the first. But there are an awful lot of mails landing in my inbox and as far as I know, most of the US is still asleep.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:04:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 1:53:15 PM PDT
If it is about 'research' then I wonder why you aren't eliciting, as you so eloquently put it, the same kind of responses from the other side.
Seems fairly one sided at the moment.
Or are your gleaning that info from the mails that are being sent en masse.
Is it the worth the negative image you 'might' create?
A little more Louis Theroux charm would go a long way.

ETA to change gleaming to gleaning...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:09:08 AM PDT
Ellie May says:
The other side blatantly posts their feelings, thoughts, experiences, bowel movements and everything else under the sun. Research on them would be as hard as reading the Authors behaving badly section.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:14:30 AM PDT
The initial research was for a screenplay, not a book or an article and to be honest, I didn't get what I wanted from the UK because I approached it wrong and was unable to give it my full attention. However, it matters not because the US has proven to be far more fertile. I've certainly obtained some fabulous insight into the type of people who troll and that was the aim.

As for my negative image, perceived or otherwise, let me ask you a simple question; when was the last time you avoided a movie because of who wrote it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:21:48 AM PDT
Splinker says:
My secret identity is Captian Procrastination.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:22:26 AM PDT
Splinker says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:25:28 AM PDT
<As for my negative image, perceived or otherwise, let me ask you a simple question; when was the last time you avoided a movie because of who wrote it?>

I think I might be the wrong person to ask that question, because I do tend to abstain from certain books/music/films ect if the person behind them is someone I wouldn't want to support in any way. Or if that person has done something I do not condone.
I realise I am one of a small minority in that sense.

<I've certainly obtained some fabulous insight into the type of people who troll and that was the aim.>
So by trolling you are gaining insight into what you believe is trollish behaviour and/or trolls?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:29:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 7:33:53 AM PDT
Karen Mead says:
There seems to be some misunderstanding of what trolling is. If, as you say, you've been posting disingenuously for the last few days to try to get a reaction out of people (which I don't believe, by the way; I think you came up with that after the fact to lessen the embarrassment of how many posters called you out for your attitude), then you have been trolling. Posting not because you care about the topic, but just to get a reaction out of people, is textbook trolling. The people who responded to you are not trolls; they have, allegedly, BEEN TROLLED.

So the only way I could see your article making sense is if it's a "Confessions of a Troll" sort of thing.

Posted on Jul 14, 2012 7:33:02 AM PDT
Just wondering why this thread is in the Kindle Book forum and not MOA?
It's obviously asking for responses from authors, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:37:24 AM PDT
When they hide behind a keyboard and a fake name, how else can I work out what makes them tick other than by poking them with the odd stick?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:43:51 AM PDT
Then you would be wrong Karen. On about three different levels.

For the record, I'm happy to admit that I can be extremely stroppy and certainly don't take fools badly (it says so on my blog!). Nor do I have any problem walking away from either idiots or abuse because in case you hadn't noticed, I built my career writing about sport and idiots and abuse are an integral part of that game.

But when I need something or sniff a story (and there is certainly a story here, trust me) then I'll keep as it until either I get what I want or I decide that it's not worth pursuing any further.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:46:37 AM PDT
Sounds like you are meeting them in person. Carry on the good fight. I'm writing a blog about this issue myself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:47:36 AM PDT
Karen Mead says:
Please explain to me what is wrong with my explanation of trolling and your place in it. That is the definition as its known to the internet at large.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:50:34 AM PDT
No, Karen is correct. Whether or not you did indeed set out to collect your research, rather than turning a bad experience into a research opportunity, you have clearly identified yourself as a troll. If you are going to poke a stick at people, then it should be no surprise if they snap back at you. If you consider them to be trolls, then that is only because they reacted to your trollish behaviour.

My advice would be to give it up and delete this thread. You won't take my advice, but I give it in good faith.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 7:52:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 14, 2012 7:55:11 AM PDT
<When they hide behind a keyboard and a fake name, how else can I work out what makes them tick other than by poking them with the odd stick? >

I think there is a good reason many of us would rather not be at the mercy of virtual surfers with a more dangerous agenda, hence a lot of monnikers and/or fake names.
I don't really want any of the books/authors I review to end up becoming innocent victims just because I choose to voice my opinions.

Saying that a fair amount of people know the name I review under and if it gets posted then I will deal with the issues...if and when.

There is no real necessity to know who everyone 'really' is other than to quench your curiousity and that of others. It wouldn't change their opinions, however I will agree that it might change the way some posters express them.

Now let's get to the poking of sticks part. Karen has a point you have created the very setting you would like to 'research' (again Karen made a good point about real motives).
Begs the question...if you had never poked the stick, would you still have had the reaction?

ETA add the and e
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