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Janitor On Duty

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February 14th, 2009

6:49 PM

The War Against Harriet Klausner

The Amazon reviews section has been a battle turf for the last few years between various factions. It's like the United Nations, only in reverse, because we have all kinds of faction duking it out with each other.

We have rival companies posting fake glowing reviews of the other company's products under fake accounts and then "exposing" the rival company's "wrongdoing" in a PR war. We have people signing up for the Vine program in return for thinly-disguised PR shill. We then have reviewers in the top 100 rankings accepting payments for glowing endorsements, companies advertising for people with Amazon accounts to write glowing reviews in exchange for money, and authors writing glowing reviews of their own books under fake accounts.

On the other side, we have top reviewer feuds, reviewer cliques and factions, and all the resulting drama. We then have people like the so-called Harriet Klausner Appreciation Society who wage a scorched earth tactic against "shills", as they call the likes of Harriet Klausner, by turning the comment sections of her reviews into a mocking ground. The author's books, their fans, and even fans of the genre are derided by these people because to them, they do not know where to draw the line, nor do they care to.

So where does Harriet Klausner stand in this? Who knows. She doesn't care. She just goes on her own happy way, reviewing and reviewing and reviewing. She doesn't complain about Amazon reviewer rankings. She doesn't even care if people turn the comment sections of her reviews into Fandom Wank II.


Only, as you can see from her Amazon profile, she seems to do nothing but review. On February 3, she put up 108 reviews, just a few days after the previous huge batch of reviews. I can't imagine how one can go through at least 300 books a week like she does. One of the theories I've come across is that "Harriet Klausner" is no longer a person as much as a name of a bunch of people who are paid to come up with glowing reviews, with these people being not of English-speaking types since Harriet's reviews often contain many wrong uses of words that a half-way fluent English speaker and writer shouldn't make. Assuming that this theory is true, I have to wonder why people would go through so much bother to play up the Harriet Klausner masquerade. Do people even pay attention to her reviews anymore?

Or perhaps the question should be: why would anyone expect the review system of an ecommerce site devoted to selling you things to be of an impartial nature? If Amazon allows shills to proliferate so that they will persuade people to buy more things from Amazon, they stand to gain more than they lose. For those talking about how Amazon has lost its "credibility" and has "betrayed" consumers - maybe I'm just cynical, but we are talking about an online store here, people, not some Truth Shall Set You Free online community. What do you expect from Amazon? That they will waste their resources building up a community platform so that people with ego can play at being reviewers without wanting back something in return?

6 comment(s).

Posted by Teddypig:

At least epinions used to pay you something for your review.
February 14th, 2009 @ 9:49 PM

Posted by RfP:

"why would anyone expect the review system of an ecommerce site devoted to selling you things to be of an impartial nature?"

Exactly. And the more comments there are on Amazon, the more Amazon sells, so they have no motivation to interfere. In fact, interfering would kill off these communities springing up. Even when they're dysfunctional communities formed to mock Harriet K, they do spur people to write more reviews; that means that controversy is a money-maker for Amazon.
February 15th, 2009 @ 12:27 AM

Posted by jml:

Amazon reviews are no longer in play when I purchase a book. They also don't upset me nearly as much as those on Barnes & Noble online site that contain 5 star reviews from people who "can't wait for this book to come out". WTF? So I take all the reviews I read with a grain (or 50) of salt and ignore completely the rant threads of the fanners and/or haters on sites that are there to sell me stuff.:)
February 15th, 2009 @ 2:48 AM

Posted by Nonny:

While I "somewhat" pay attention to Amazon reviews (I look for trends, but this is really only useful in books that have a reasonable amount of reviews)... I don't pay any attention to Hariett Klausner. I see one of hers, roll my eyes, and move on.

There are reviewers that can't say a good thing about a book. Then there's Harriet Klausner, that can't say a bad thing. Both suck.
February 15th, 2009 @ 5:57 AM

Posted by K. Z. Snow:

I've gotten the impression that nobody--and I mean nobody, anywhere--pays any attention to a word HK writes. But maybe she has a form of OCD and can't help upchucking these so-called reviews the way Nadya Suleman squirts out litters of babies.

Truly, it wouldn't surprise me.
February 15th, 2009 @ 11:51 AM

Posted by Louise van Hine:

more dish here, including a pic of the industrious Klausner:


I guess I'll just thank my lucky stars that Harriet hasn't reviewed my book!
February 17th, 2009 @ 1:06 PM