Gerard Jones reports that Amazon.com has been playing silly buggers with the reviews of Ginny Good, and he is not pleased.
At the beginning of February there were 61 reviews of Gerard's book on Amazon. Now there are 36 and some of the ones that are left are, shall we say, a bit weird. Gerard believes that Amazon have kept some reviews and deleted others according to their own criteria, a process which he describes as censorship and, as you would expect, complains about.
Miss Snark says that she had a client to whom the same thing happened, and believes that the problem results from a computer glitch. She says that you can get it fixed if you say pretty please and keep at it, writing in and writing in for months on end. Good luck, Gerard.
Meanwhile, Wall-Street analysts are finding that getting detailed information out of Amazon is the traditional blood and stone situation. And the last company that I remember behaving like that was Enron. (Link from booktrade.info.)
Another incident, which may or may not shed some light on Amazon practices, is one involving 2005 Blogged, edited by Tim Worstall. This book is a collection of essays from the blogosphere, chosen to feature 'the very best writing from the rising stars of online journalism'. The GOB, coughs modestly, was one of the bloggers included.
Most of the contributors will have reviewed the book on their blog -- I certainly did -- and Tim asked us all to post the reviews on Amazon. I did that too, and I imagine others did the same. But so far no review from a contributor has appeared. Why not? Any contributor will have occupied only a page or two out of 224 pages, and we will have had plenty of perfectly valid things to say about the rest. So what's the problem? If someone thinks we have a financial axe to grind, quite wrong: no royalties to come whatever.
Actually I'm surprised that Amazon has enough staff to deal with such matters on an individual basis. There are an awful lot of books in their catalogue. And I suspect that, as is usual in business these days, if there are any human hands involved they probably belong to people who are young, based overseas, and seriously underpaid. I'm not sure that I have any faith in their judgement.
Gerard's view is that all reviews should be allowed to stand, regardless. From the mud, he says, grows the lotus.