Monday, January 21, 2013

Moral to story: Don't mess with Michael Jackson

I guess the New York Times is still around for the time being and published an interesting story on people using reviews on Amazon to sink a book. Granted the book is about Michael Jackson, and I don't think the world would be worse off if it missed another book on MJ's plastic surgery:
In “Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson,” Randall Sullivan writes that Jackson’s overuse of plastic surgery reduced his nose to little more than a pair of nostrils and that he died a virgin despite being married twice. These points in particular seem to infuriate the fans.

But it does show how perhaps the world could be deprived a good book just because a small group of Facebookers or Twitterers decide to go all Jack Reacher on its author.
The issue of attack reviews, though, has received little attention. The historian Orlando Figes was revealed in 2010 to be using Amazon to anonymously vilify his rivals and secretly praise himself. The crime writer R. J. Ellory was exposed for doing the same thing last fall. 
Attack reviews are hard to police. It is difficult, if not impossible, to detect the difference between an authentic critical review and an author malevolently trying to bring down a colleague, or organized assaults by fans. Amazon’s extensive rules on reviewing offer little guidance on what is permissible in negative reviews and what is not.
Here's the story in full: A Casualty on the Battlefield of Amazon Partisan Reviews

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