David Frum

01.23.13

Not Even the King of Pop Can Survive the Amazon Trolls

A team of Michael Jackson fanatics used Amazon to kill a book about the life and death of Jackson. Every positive review of the book was reported to Amazon as “inappropriate” and was erased by Amazon, leaving only the 1-star ratings and very negative commentary. A vast majority of the negative reviewers had never read the book to begin with, and were attacking the book just for its topic, rather than its substance. They claimed it was filled with “lies.”

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, as authors Orlando Figes and R. J. Ellory were found to be giving their work a good review, while attacking their competitors with negative reviews.

[Trevor Pinch, a sociologist at Cornell] said he got the sense that “Amazon is hoping that all these problems with positive and negative reviews will go away.” He added: “But as more and more abuses come to light, the overall effect will be a slow undermining of the process. There are so many ways to game the system.”