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.