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Daily Beast Spinning Again: Not Even the King of Pop Can Survive the Amazon Trolls

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Daily Beast Spinning Again: Not Even the King of Pop Can Survive the Amazon Trolls

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:09 pm

Daily Beast Spinning Again: Not Even the King of Pop Can Survive the Amazon Trolls
by Ilana Glazer

January 23, 2013

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.”

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So now MJ fans are trolls when we disagree with lies and innuendo and come together to do something about it. (Remember this rag Daily Beast is where Diane Dimond has slung her hate against MJ too, among other MSM & TT outlets).






Last edited by Admin on Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:17 am; edited 1 time in total

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How Amazon Should Fix Its Reviews Problem

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:17 pm

How Amazon Should Fix Its Reviews Problem

1/25/2013

Amazon has trust issues. It relies on its users to review its products, and those users rely on each other’s reviews in making their purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to books. Yet to say that user-generated reviews on Amazon (and around the Web in general) are an untrustworthy measure of quality is a massive understatement.

There are the ones that are aren’t really reviews at all but sneaky marketing copy, paid for by the product maker. Those will account for between 10% and 15% of all online reviews by 2014, estimates Gartner. Then there are the ones whose author has a different sort of vested interest — a friend, a family member, a fan. And of course there are the notorious “sock puppets” created by novelists skilled in the practice of inventing characters and putting dialogue in their mouths.

Add them all up and it turns out that as many as 30% of user-generated reviews are phony, by one tally.

Amazon takes this problem seriously enough that it recently started deleting positive book reviews posted by authors’ intimates. But that policy, whose merits are open to debate, does nothing to address sham reviews like the ones posted en masse by Michael Jackson fans pledging to sink a critical biography.

Amazon’s solution to the unreliability of user-generated reviews is essentially more user-generated reviews: asking users “Was this review helpful to you?” and emphasizing the ones deemed most helpful. To see how easily that approach can be defeated, check out the “Most Helpful” reviews on some of the products that attract large numbers of tongue-in-cheek comments, like the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer or the book “How to Avoid Huge Ships.”
You might think this is a problem that could be addressed with software, and you’d be right. Algorithms that search for fake reviews by analyzing linguistic patterns or the distribution of ratings have shown high success rates.

But trusting algorithms alone to vet reviews would undermine the sense of community that induces the reviewers in Amazon’s Hall of Fame to contribute hundreds or thousands — even tens of thousands, in the case of superstar reviewer Harriet Klausner — to the site. There needs to be a human element as well, but one that can’t be gamed by virtual mobs like Michael Jackson’s Rapid Response Team.

Here at FORBES, we have what I think is a pretty effective system for controlling the quality of comments. Comments from trusted sources like staff writers and contributors are automatically visible to everyone. Comments from others still appear, but in a minimized form that readers can click to expand. If a page’s owner (ie. me, on my blog) deems a untrusted comment worthy of attention, he can promote it. If it’s particularly noxious, the page owner can delete it or flag it as abusive. This multi-tiered system results in a curated comments section where free speech is permitted but intelligent speech is rewarded.

Amazon could do something like this easily enough, but someone would have to play the role of page owner. Letting authors or other product-sellers moderate their own comments would defeat the point, obviously, but it would be far too manpower-intensive to foist on Amazon’s employees.

What about some kind of Wikipedia-like system of trusted volunteer administrators, selected from the ranks of the most “helpful” reviewers? They could work hand-in-glove with a screening algorithm, reviewing comments deemed spammy, suspending serial offenders, etc.

Since Amazon’s a for-profit corporation, not a non-profit like Wikipedia, it would have to proceed carefully to avoid running afoul of labor laws as AOL did in the 1990s with its “Community Leaders” program.

But Amazon would be on familiar ground here. It already runs an invitation-only program for trusted product reviewers, Amazon Vine, whose members receive free products in exchange for a commitment to review 80% or more of them. Expanding Vine to include review reviewers would be relatively simple and might go a long way toward improving the quality of user-generated criticism on the site.

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Beware of Michael Jackson's online thought police

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:23 am

Beware of Michael Jackson's online thought police

Jacko's vigilante fans have attempted to preserve their idol's reputation by bombarding a new biography of him with one-star reviews

Cyberspace is home to a bewildering number of vigilante groups policing all sorts of perceived thought crimes. Among them is a bunch of enthusiastic Michael Jackson fans, who patrol the internet in search of words that sully the perfection of their idol's posthumous reputation. Their latest strike is against a biography by one Randall Sullivan, entitled: Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson, which has received 100 one-star reviews on Amazon. One thing is clear, though: it's not the idea that Jackson was or should remain "untouchable" that they object to. They toil to keep Jackson's image protected from prying eyes or minds, residing undisturbed in Neverland for ever.

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Wow, what is that? I mean ~ really! That last sentence is just absurd and insulting!




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