Remember how I discussed the contentious issue of one-star reviews on Amazon and other sites a few months back? I just ran across a demonstration of how Amazon deals with those now.
Quartz reports that Amazon just deleted over 900 one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened. That’s over half the total number of reviews for the book. As noted in Quartz, and in a roundup on Guacamoley!, the deletion didn’t happen strictly because they were one-star, but because Amazon’s algorithms observed an unusually high number of reviews from unverified purchasers flooding in.
It’s only to be expected that Amazon would take some action, even if the Amazon-owned IMDB was hesitant to in that story from a few months back. On Amazon, reviews are an important part of the decision-making process that customers use when they buy a book. When actual money is directly at stake, of course Amazon is going to step in.
Mashable contacted Amazon for a response to its piece on the matter, and had this to say in an update:
An Amazon spokesperson got back to us and said, “We never suppress reviews based on star rating or sentiment.” Instead, triggers to detect a large amount of activity in a short amount of time were activated. Then Amazon goes in and suppresses all non-verified purchase reviews.
Without naming Hillary Clinton or politics, the spokesperson said, “Reviews are meant to help customers by providing real feedback on a product from other customers who have tried it. There are many other forums available across the Internet to discuss topics of interest outside of the products on Amazon.“
Presumably, Amazon would do exactly the same thing if Donald Trump published another book and those same people who one-starred Clinton’s book came and tried to five-star Trump’s.
In any event, let that be a lesson to would-be Internet trolls: if you’re going to post a one-star review to a book and want to make it stick, you need to put some money in the author’s pocket first, via Amazon.
Quote: “Presumably, Amazon would do exactly the same thing if Donald Trump published another book and those same people who one-starred Clinton’s book came and tried to five-star Trump’s.”
Hey, Chris, I’ve got a bridge to sell you, one located in a big city with lots of traffic across it. Before making a silly remark like that, you should check out Amazon.
For Hillary’s What Happened:
5 star: 92%
4 star: 2%
3 star: 1%
2 star: 1%
1 star: 1% (that was when I copied this down. Now it is up to 4%, which makes the total a proper 100%)
For Trump’s Great Again:
5 star: 75%
4 star: 8%
3 star: 3%
2 star: 1%
1 star: 13%
Conclusion: Trump’s ranking seem untampered with. The 75% five star ratings make sense. Most readers read someone they like. The 8% for 4 stars also seems normal. Quite a few people only give 5 stars to really special books. And the final 13% 1 star ratings also makes sense. Trump is controversial.
But look at Hillary’s bizarre, published ratings. Five stars at 92%—that in itself is suspicious. But what is really odd is that every other ranking is 2% or less and three of those four are a mere 1%. It really does look like Amazon is cooking the books quite a bit to give this book a 5 star average. It really does look like Amazon is dumping even many 4 star ratings.
And we should be seeing a lot of 3 star and 4 star ratings from those who voted for Hillary. There’s no lack of liberals who’ve gone public with deploring how Hillary’s book finds fault with everyone but Hillary. By driving a wedge between Bernie Democrats and Hillary supporters it hurts the party.
Bogus scientific research is often discovered because those who set out to fake data typically overdo it. Wanting to generate a particular outcome, their results are too good to be true. That’s what Amazon’s star rankings for Hillary’s book suspiciously look like. Only 2% give it 4 stars and only 1% give it 3 stars. Get real. No one considers this book a political masterpiece.
And notice another oddity. For Trump, the rounding off occurred evenly, resulting in a total of 100%. For Hillary if falls short at 97%. That suggests tweaking. It suggests that just enough 1 star and 2 star rankings were deliberately excluded to round those ranking down to 1%.
My hunch? Two factors are at play here.
1. Amazon bought lots of copies, perhaps getting a larger than normal discount by promising not to return them. They gotta sell them.
2. Amazon knows the key difference between Hillary and Trump. One is a well-know crook, selling out our foreign policy for donations to a fake foundation. The other is a successful real estate developer. Put Bezos money in the right pockets, and Hillary would crush any federal investigation into abusive behavior by Amazon. Trump, on the other hand, would be quite happy to appeal to his base by Amazon bashing much like he’s bashed Apple for not building iPhones here.
One final comment—something that Amazon apparently hasn’t altered, perhaps because it is auto generated. Some 92% of the ratings may be 5 star according to Amazon, but based on the assessments of those who view the reviews, the book has a lot of negatives. Every single one of the “Top customer reviews” on the first page are of 1 star or 2 star reviews.
Even more bizarre, I looked at the most top-rated reviews from verified purchasers. Page after page of 1 star and 2 star reviews. I was to review #42, before there was as much as a 3 star review. Note too this 3 star review just below that one.
“I purchased this book four days ago in the Kindle format. My review was of the book specifically and not the author. And like the review of a number of other folks, mine has been deleted four times. I simply do not understand what happened–absolutely no pun intended!”
Remember that I suggested about even 4 star and 3 star reviews from purchasers were being cut? This confirms that earlier remark. It also suggests that, given the outcries, Amazon is backing off from that tactic.
Now let’s discuss that bridge I’ve got to sell. I have surveys show that 92% of those who use the bridge give it a 5 star rating and only 5% rate it 4 stars or less. I’m sure you’ll accept those numbers as honest. You didn’t question Amazon’s similar ones.
Amazon often has 70-90% 5 star reviews for books that stink. Amazon’s short-term profits are obviously helped by more 5 star reviews, until customers realize they are being duped. My current solution is I only read the 1 and 2 star reviews and I ignore reviews that don’t explain why they didn’t like the book. A good test for a truthful review is one that says both positive and negative things about a book. Does anyone know of a website with more trustworthy book reviews than Amazon?
Your headline SHOULD have read “Amazon deletes fake reviews and vituperative comments from those who have not actually read this book.
The reviews section is for those who’ve actually *read* — or at least purchased — the item being reviewed … that’s kinda why they call it a “review” and not a”comment”. It’s surprising that Amazon accepts reviews from *any* unverified purchaser and they should change that practice.
What’s NOT surprising is that the Tr*mp (that word is so filthy it should never be printed without an asterisk) ilk speak from ignorance on this; this is how they roll and ignorance is the reason we have this man as our so-called president.