Tags: Amazon | tainted | book | reviews

Amazon Taking Down Thousands of Suspect Book Reviews

Sunday, 23 Dec 2012 11:23 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Amazon is taking down thousands of book reviews, apparently in response to well-publicized cases of writers buying or manipulating reviews.

The online retailer hasn’t officially said why it’s been deleting reviews or how many are gone, reports The New York Times, but many of the cuts are coming on reviews in which family members are giving rave reviews, when writers review other writers, or when reviews are solicited.

Many writers themselves say they see nothing wrong with fake reviews on their books, but readers are complaining. In one case, a single reviewer — Harriet Klausner — submitted more than 25,000 reviews, and customers complain they don’t see how she can read so quickly and praise so many books.

Klausner, a retired librarian, defends her reviews, saying her health keeps her home, and that she’s an insomniac who reads quickly.

Amazon depends on accurate reviews, though, to sell its books, which accounts for nearly one-third of every dollar customers spend on the site. But several writers have recently confessed to manipulating the reviews, including using online identities, or “sock puppets” to post reviews.

But Amazon has said it doesn’t allow reviews on behalf a person or company with a financial interest in the product. Writers say the rule isn’t applied consistently, and sometimes, reviews from relatives and top fans are deleted.

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