Amazon reviewers and Web 2.0
I had imagined Amazon's customer reviews as a refuge from the machinations of the publishing industry: "an intelligent and articulate conversation ... conducted by a group of disinterested, disembodied spirits," as James Marcus, a former editor at the company, wrote in his memoir, Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut.
Given Amazon's lack of greater transparency, it's hard to judge the merits of the vote-swapping claims. What is clear is the corruptibility of democracy, Web 2.0-style.
. . .
This is not to say that a Top 10 ranking doesn't come with some sub rosa incentives for the reviewer. Free books, first and foremost; in an e-mail, Grady Harp told me he was "inundated with books from new writers and from publishers who know I love to read first works." This fall, when it invited select Top Reviewers to join its Vine program--an initiative, still in beta-testing, to generate content about new and prerelease products--Amazon extended the range of perks. "Vine Voices" like Mitchell and Harp can elect to receive items ranging from electronics to appliances to laundry soap. As long as they keep reviewing the products, Amazon's suppliers will keep sending them.
"Who Is Grady Harp? Amazon's Top Reviewers and the fate of the literary amateur." By Garth Risk Hallberg, Slate, January 22, 2008
- "Frequently Asked Questions about Reviewers" - from Amazon
- Top Reviewers on Amazon
- Top Reviewers on Amazon UK
- "The Fakery Behind Amazon's 'Top 10 Reviewers'," The Consumerist
- "The Write Stuff: Interview with Freelancer, Powerseller and Amazon Reviewer Jane Corn," by John Brougher, FreelanceSwitch, October 19, 2007
- Amazon Vine Voices Begins 8/15 - free books or movies for reviews - Bargain$hare.com
- "The following are excerpts from actual one-star Amazon.com reviews of books from Time’s list of the 100 best novels from 1923 to the present. - from The Morning News, October 21, 2005
- "Customer Reviews Get Hijacked," Varien, August 31, 2006
- "Writing Amazon reviews," Pete the music and horse racing fan, June 28, 2007
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