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Rant about new Amazon reviewer ranking system

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:00 am

It's been quite a busy day over there in Amazon Land. All kinds of lively discussions and flame throwing :p :) :o

Forget the soaps, this is real entertainment :p

Although I must add I thought I was a year or more away from a top 1000 badge and it surprised the h*** out of me to see it there this morning. I'll enjoy it while it lasts, who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Ash
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Post by Ash » Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:38 am

[quote=""cw gortner""]Gosh,
I did get invited to be a Vine reviewer out of the blue last month. It was very unexpected; the invitation said something like: " . . . since you're one of our most trusted reviewers.".[/quote]

I'm not sure if I am among those trusted reviewers; the only reason I could think of for them inviting me was that I spend lots of money there. I write reviews when and if I want to, and I really don't care about my ranking. If it helps people find good books to read, great. Otherwise, eh. I do like the idea that this will keep the multiples down a bit.

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cw gortner
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Post by cw gortner » Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:40 am

[quote=""Misfit""]Although I must add I thought I was a year or more away from a top 1000 badge and it surprised the h*** out of me to see it there this morning. I'll enjoy it while it lasts, who knows what tomorrow will bring?[/quote]

CONGRATULATIONS, Misfit! No doubt, very well deserved! :D
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
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cw gortner
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Post by cw gortner » Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:43 am

[quote=""Ash""]I'm not sure if I am among those trusted reviewers;[/quote]

I don't think I am, either. Probably just standard invitation language; I've only reviewed 27 books so far. But I like the new idea for ranking, too; truth is, while some reviewers have legitimate fans who vote consistently once per review, I suspect quite a few do not.

And I must ask, is Harriet K. a real person or a conglomerate? I mean, how it is possible to read as many books as she seems to do per month?
Last edited by diamondlil on Sat October 25th, 2008, 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN


www.cwgortner.com

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eclecticreader10
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Post by eclecticreader10 » Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:46 am

I had no idea how competitive reviewing is. It could almost be an after-school sport.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat October 25th, 2008, 3:25 am

Well therea re some who dont play nicely and so I'm glad those people's reviews won't be held against us now.
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cw gortner
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Post by cw gortner » Sat October 25th, 2008, 4:23 am

[quote=""eclecticreader10""]I had no idea how competitive reviewing is. It could almost be an after-school sport.[/quote]

I know. It's actually quite scary. Such a cute dog in your avatar!
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN


www.cwgortner.com

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LCW
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Post by LCW » Sat October 25th, 2008, 4:32 am

I guess what irks me the most is that I know I have no chance in hell of ever being a top 100 or probably even 1000 reviewer but I did get a certain sense of satisfaction knowing how many people read and enjoyed my reviews. I don't read the uber popular Phillipa Gregory type novels and tend to stick iwth more obscure HF so naturally those who read my reviews are going to come from a certain smaller group of people on Amazon. Also if they're goona take down the good fan votes they should've taken down the bad ones too. For a few months I was getting a negative vote on every review I posted within a day. Those are still up!! Maybe I'll get used to it, I don't know! But my first reaction was that I didn't like it at all!
Books to the ceiling,
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat October 25th, 2008, 1:00 pm

[quote=""cw gortner""]CONGRATULATIONS, Misfit! No doubt, very well deserved! :D [/quote]

Yeah, I'm sure I'll be getting free book offers soon! The whole top reviewer thing is quite competive and at times dog eat dog. Once people started hitting the top 500 there was rarely any movement at all and negative campaigns were common. I'm happy to see this shake up and some of those abusing the system taking a nose dive.

I actually prefer reviewing over at Amazon UK and Canada. For one the competition isn't so fierce and and you don't have all those fan voters like you see here in the US so those helpful votes come few and far between. A much better way to gauge your reviewing skills.

I originally started writing reviews (horrors, those old ones are bad :eek :) just because Amazon kept sending emails reminding me to (you all get them on purchses), and then because I found that it improved my recommendations (especally over at UK, wow some books I would never have found). I find it a great way to put my thoughts down about a book, and to share a book I've loved (or hated in some cases - Ash you and I are sistahs there :o ) with other readers.
I had no idea how competitive reviewing is. It could almost be an after-school sport.
You all have no idea how nasty it is until you spend some time in the Harriet and Grady Harp trenches (to name two). There's cheating of all sorts going on to rise in the rankings (yes, there are voting groups). There was one former top ten who reviewed on average two books a day (no matter how technical or difficult) always with glowing five stars, and it was finally found out that he had an online book seller account and was selling them as brand new still in it's wrapping. But no, Amazon didn't derank him for that, it was only when he admitted that it was a group of reviewers posting to one reviewer account that got him deranked (multiple reviewers like Midwest Book review are not supposed to be ranked).

Take a close look at the profiles of the Top Reviewers, where they have "In My Own Words". You can tell they get offers from publishers all the time. Some are quite blatant in what they're asking for, some just say I don't want to read this genre, but I like this.

Fortunately with the genres I read very few of the higher ranked reviewers come across the same books as I do, but there is one who does quite a bit and knowing that she is most likely getting freebies I take those reviews with a grain of salt -- and surprisingly she's also one or two stars higher than I give the same book. While no one is going to see the same book with the same opinion all that time, to me its quite telling that this reviewer is always gushing more than others.
And I must ask, is Harriet K. a real person or a conglomerate? I mean, how it is possible to read as many books as she seems to do per month?
Now that's the biggest mystery of the Amazon world and the debates are quite heated. Personally, I think it's a conglomerate of off-sea reviewers, but that's just my opinion. Others just think she really is just a harmless old lady with nothing to do but post rehashes of the book jacket and PW blurb. Others think its a set up by the publishers to get reviews out on their latest books and get them sold. Who knows?

She claims to be a speed reader "from birth" and reads two books a day, yet depending on whose math you chose she averages out to between 5-7 books a day. Some days she'll dump multiple reviews (she's topped 100/per day on more than one occasion), and I've personally sat at my PC and just hit the refresh button and there's another and another and another. So, even if someone had reviews prewritten and was copying and pasting and one had "fingers of fire" in that regards and a PC with a lightening fast connection I just don't see how it's physically possible to get them posted that fast. Unless she's got a special place at Amazon that stores them until publishing day. And do try googling Harriet and see how many other places she drops her reviews. I believe she's got a blog and her own interview site, but they also show up all over the internet to such a high number that I can't conceive how one person can do it all and still have time to eat sleep and go to the loo. She posts on B&N as well - sometimes with a different star rating on one site than the other.

As for the off sea theory of mine, Harriet was supposedly an aquisitions librarian. I don't know what the educational requirements are (Divia you can help us there), but I've read enough of her reviews and have spotted too many weird mistakes that a person born and raised (let alone college educated) in the US would make. Peninsular instead of Peninsula? Really? Thirteen years old instead of Thirteen year old?

There's been more than one occasion when someone's spotted she's posted the wrong review for the book in question, and even more funny is you'll find five people have found the review helpful :p
Also if they're goona take down the good fan votes they should've taken down the bad ones too.
That's what's irking me. I don't have a problem with "fan votes" from my friends being taken from my vote totals, I don't have a problem with my friends votes not counting towards my ranking, what I do have a problem with is yesterday they removed a ton of helpful votes from my reviews themselves, but did they take away the negative votes from my persistant negative voter (instead five neg's on almost every review within days of posting no matter how obscure the book)? Nope, most of those negative votes are still sitting there (they removed some, but it's a very small percentage), and my approval rating tanked big time yesterday because of that.

OK, off the Amazon soap box and off to the gym :)

Ash
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Post by Ash » Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:34 pm

The whole top reviewer thing is quite competive and at times dog eat dog

Why? Forgive my nievity, but what is it about being on top of reviewing for Amazon that is so important? Do you get extra pay? Is there some status I don't know about? I dunno, it just doesn't make sense to me. Yes it feels like HS. I have my fav reviewers that I respect, but they aren't necessarily the top reviewers. Why is everyone so concerned about it?
Last edited by Ash on Sat October 25th, 2008, 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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