Saturday, February 14, 2004

Amazon Glitch Unmasks War of Reviewers

New York Times

"Close observers of Amazon.com noticed something peculiar this week: the company's Canadian site had suddenly revealed the identities of thousands of people who had anonymously posted book reviews on the United States site under signatures like 'a reader from New York.'

The weeklong glitch, which Amazon fixed after outed reviewers complained, provided a rare glimpse at how writers and readers are wielding the online reviews as a tool to promote or pan a book — when they think no one is watching.

John Rechy, author of the best-selling 1963 novel 'City of Night' and winner of the PEN-USA West lifetime achievement award, is one of several prominent authors who have apparently pseudonymously written themselves five-star reviews, Amazon's highest rating. Mr. Rechy, who laughed about it when approached, sees it as a means to survival when online stars mean sales."

You can trust me when I say that this site's authors will never succumb to such self-flattery, even if we're certain we can totally get away with it.

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