Prize: A hardback copy of J. Scott Turner’s Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something Alive and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It
Recently, a friend linked us to the fact that Amazon had deleted 900 reviews of US 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened:
Books get reviewed badly, and people leave reviews for books they didn’t read or products they’ve never used. These things happen. But of the book’s 1,600 or so reviews as of this morning, only 338 were from users with verified purchases of the book—that is, those who actually bought the item on Amazon.com.
A person could conceivably buy a book in a store and then hate it so much she runs home to review it on Amazon, but that’s probably not what happened here. The split between verified and unverified purchases in the reviews for Clinton’s book don’t match the norm.
Yes, we know. Darwinists often flood the review section for ID books with 1-star reviews that are basically an angry brain dump, maybe before anyone outside the publisher’s office and the author’s coterie has even seen the book. Sometimes, authors have been able to get Amazon to remove such publicly useless material.
Years ago, one of our Uncommon Descent contestants came up with the term noviewer, to describe reviewers who refuse to read the books they are attacking.*
Now a friend has written to ask for a contest to come up with term to describe the reviewer who is the author’s public relations specialist. For example, the book is called Darwin was right and the reviewer is shouting Amen! fifty times. Or anyway, that is what it sounds like.
Sounds like fun. Judged October 15. Free shipping to postal address provided by winner.
*Note: We got the term “pimp” as well, from a contest to signify the pig-chimp hybrid claim re human evolution. But that usage may not have been original with the entrant. And anyway, promoting the term wasn’t really part of our mission.
See also: Let’s pause, of course, to recall Miss Shelver, who seeks to make the world a better place by misshelving books in bricks-and-mortar bookstores.
My view (O’Leary for News) about one-star review campaigns: Amazon is a retail business. The Enemy of retail is inventory, not competitors. Inventory is a net expense until someone buys it and it is worth only what they paid.
Over time, Amazon either provides a reasonable shopping experience for the goods customers want or else it creates a niche for competitors.
Getting rid of one-star reviews from noviewers* is good business sense.
The natural relationship is between a business and its customers, not between a business and anyone who wants to drive by, shouting in an opinion in which they have invested nothing, so far as the business is concerned.
Amazon will need to be reminded of this as big tech companies are more under pressure than ever to front the progressive revolution and stifle alternatives.
A key difference between Amazon and social media: Amazon’s services are not free to the user. So Amazon’s relationship with customers is more of an authentic business relationship. Therefore, it is more clearly subject to natural business rules.
If I can’t evaluate a book in which I am interested because 500 non-paying and non-reading trolls have overrun the reviewing pane, that is a loss of service to me as a would-be paying customer. I ought to let Jeff Bezos know that. – d.