I don't know how many people are familiar with author Anne Rice's petition that will require Amazon to have reviewers use their real names, see http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/04/anne-rice-protests-bullying-amazon-petition.
Ms. Rice claims that bully reviewers are forcing authors off of the forum, harassing them with comments, and also leaving one star reviews as a way to get back at authors.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
The only reason why I am even commenting on this is because this article references a thread where Ms. Rice initially showed up and was "bullied" and told she should go to Amazon's Meet our Authors (MOA) forum since authors were not allowed to post on the forums, on page three Ms. Rice shows up here http://www.amazon.com/forum/top%20reviewers/ref=cm_cd_pg_next?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2Z5LRXMSUDQH2&cdPage=3&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2EHT6DB4PFZKP
For those who looked at this they can see that I was the original poster (OP) who started the thread and I was actually interested in ideas about some of the commenting going on with reviews on Amazon. The majority of posters did not want the ability to comment on reviews to be disabled or done away with by Amazon. Several people even said that people need to be tough if they post reviews since some people are just not going to like what you post. Either they won't like it because you post a review for an author that they love/hate or they decided to just be a troll that day and follow people around and try to antagonize them. We all thought that Amazon needed to beef up their response times since it takes several days before we start to see any type of response by Amazon.
Ms. Rice popped up with her claim that many reviewers were careerist reviewers and were out to get some authors by using their ability to post reviews to attack authors. Many top reviewers disagreed with her definition of reviewers since we review on Amazon as a hobby and because we like it. We don't get paid to do so and we have no urge to be held up by some professional standards that she thinks that all reviewers should adhere to and we were definitely not getting any sort of power from posting reviews.
Ms. Rice was also quite emphatic that authors should be allowed to comment on reviews. We all flat out told her that authors could comment on reviews, anyone could and Amazon does not have a terms of service (TOS) stating that authors could not comment on reviews. We emphasized that while authors could comment on reviews that probably should not comment on reviews since it will always cause a blow-back that would harm the author's reputation and not the reviewers. Even if the reviewer was in the wrong it will always be the author people will look at sideways wondering why they are getting hung up on a review on Amazon.
Ms. Rice also told me in a comment back to what I replied to earlier that I was a reviewer that authors had fear of she hoped that authors would eventually stand up to me since I dared to say that I was fine if an author commented on my reviews but I would turn right around and never buy a book from them again. According to Ms. Rice that attitude made me a bully.
Yes, me saying well I just won't buy a book by an author again in the future equaled you are a bully.
Ms. Rice was told about the Meet our Authors (MOA) forum because we all said that she may find some authors who agreed with her attitude who could come up with a solution to what she called the careerist reviewers. We didn't think she had the right audience for her ideas by commenting in the Top Reviewers forum. It's pretty much like going up to a cow and asking it how would it like to be eaten later.
I of course after the run-in with Ms. Rice got curious about her and realized that she has had run-ins on the Amazon forum before and also has posted links to reviews where a reviewer has one starred her books (but hey that is not bullying behavior at all).
If you ask most reviewers on Amazon they will tell you that yes Amazon needs to do something about reviews that do not review the book. Amazon has a report abuse button but it appears that it takes about 10 clicks of that before someone from Customer Service responds to the report abuse button. I have seen books that talk about how long it took to get to their home, the cost of the item, and the author. In all of those instances yes I do think that Amazon should take those reviews down. I do not agree with the idea that reviewers should be forced to use their real names.
Some people buy books, products, etc. that they have no problems reviewing as long as they are not attaching their real name to it. I am friendly with several people who work in Human Resources who have told me that the first thing they do when they get a candidate is google the person's name. They check out their Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. Heck they check out what friends' that post on your pages too.
The biggest reason besides not wanting a real name associated with books or products you don't want your family knowing you own is that some people out there are crazy. They are unhinged and see no problem with tracking you down and physically attacking you..over a book review.
With the rise (and then fall) of the Stop the Goodreads Bullies (STGRB) website many reviewers changed their names and ensured that they did not daisy chain their accounts together. Reviewers real name, addresses, what their hobbies were, etc. were being posted online. Seriously people, these were over book reviews. I know of several Amazon reviewers who were harassed through email, phone calls, one person had her job contacted. This was all in the name of outing bully reviewers/trolls. We also have a self published author who decided the best way to combat reviewers was to hire hackers to gain their personal information (even STGRB backed away from him after that act).
I will say that there are badly behaving authors and badly behaving reviewers out there. Fortunately they are a small minority. They tend to get press because these are also the same people that have no problems with airing their business on the internet and think all publicity is good publicity.
I think most authors and reviewers out there respect each other and respect boundaries. I would never go and post on Stephen King's personal blog or homepage that I didn't like his latest book. I would post along with thousands of others on Amazon what I thought of his latest book though. To me one is you just being a jerk and the other is you using a service to let other customers know if a book or product is going to be worth your time.
Hopefully this petition by Ms. Rice dies out and Amazon does not start requiring those that post their to use their real names. Frankly if Ms. Rice and others wanted to see change on Amazon they would urge Amazon to hire more Customer Service representatives to respond to report abuses, to take away the ability to downvote those who comment in the forums, to hire moderators for threads or at least require each thread that is started to be checked by Amazon employees to ensure that it does not violate TOS before allowing it to be created.
Just my two cents.