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Summary Post of Reba’s Amazon Fight

I tried to re-open the Dear Author forum, but am having technical difficulties. Instead, I’ll sticky this post for a week. I got the forum working but I had to start anew. I’ve had some inquiries about what people can do to in response to Amazon’s treatment of Reba Belle. The following is just a timeline followed by a list of contacts.

August 11, 2007: Reba Belle writes a three star review of In Her Bed by Deborah Anne MacGillivray in which she says “There it is, the voice of dissent. Sorry. I really wanted to like this book. I read book #1–twice.”

August 13, 2007, Deborah MacGillivray (hereinafter “DAM”) lectures Reba Bella about Reba’s opinion. DAM subsequently deletes the review, but it is viewable via Google Cache and saved by blogger, Karen Scott.

August 12-24, 2007, Reba Belle is subjected to abusive comments by DAM’s friends and fellow authors.

August 21, 2007, DAM writes to her Highland Press author group to “vote down this bitch please” and that

Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband’s
name, her chidrens’ names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her
address phone number and email
lol – quite interesting.

August 21, 2007, Leanne Grant posts to the thread Read any BAD books lately on Amazon. This comment was deleted by I have it in hard copy.

I see you didn’t go ride your horse and chill. Stop attack authors,
especially the one you cannot recall or Amazon is going to shut you
down. You are dearly attacking someone whith Is against the forum N~S.
You clearly have a “problem”.
Whoa –Reba, you took down on your ‘horsa for sale ads” that have
your phone and address showing. Too late tot What next the family
tree page? You forgot the xxxx family he…XXX [Initials of Reba Belle removed]

August 2007- ? Reba Belle contacts Amazon over 50 times to report negative behavior of DAM and the constant removal of her three star review.

April 7, 2008 – Jane posts warnings about Highland Press from email tips she received. Evidence emerges that a group of authors manipulating Amazon reviews of books both by organizing campaigns of “clickies” to boost the rating of certain five-star reviews and reporting lower-star reviews as abusive. Another Highland Press author provides a copy of the previously mentioned email in which DAM allegedly brags about obtaining personal information of Reba Belle.

April __, 2008 Reba Belle responds by posting several copies of her posts on the Amazon board.

April 14, 2008 – Amazon deletes all of Reba Belle’s comments from the Amazon boards. It places her account in “bad standing.” She cannot post at Amazon nor can she upload reviews. She can, however, order products.

April 17, 2008 – Reba Belle finally receives an update from Amazon customer service indicating that her account will remain in bad standing and that maybe sometime in the future, she might be granted the privilege of posting again so long as she never brings this topic up.

April 17, 2008 – Dear Author sponsors an iPetition to have Reba’s rights restored and to ban DAM. (Please note that if you do digitally sign the petition that you do not have to donate any money. When that screen comes up, click away).

***

Other readers want to know what more they can do. I have compiled a list of email addresses provided by different commenters. Please add your own thoughts in the comments section.

You can write an email to [email protected] This is the email address for Amazon’s Executive Customer Service Department.

The president of Deborah Anne MacGillivray’s publishing house is Steven Zacharius [email protected]

Another reader posted a list “of mainstream media contacts if anyone wants to forward this story on to any of them. Lots of email addresses in there. There might not be tons of interest in little old nobody MacGillivray, but the whole Amazon voting/ratings fraud angle, with this as just one instance, might spark some interest.”

ABC News
77 W. 66 St., New York, NY 10023
Phone: 212-456-7777
General e-mail: [email protected]

CBS News
524 W. 57 St., New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-975-4321
Fax: 212-975-1893

email for CBS news programs:

CBS Evening News: [email protected]
The Early Show: [email protected]
David Letterman: [email protected]

CNN
One CNN Center, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1906
e-mail: [email protected];

Fox News Channel
1211 Ave. of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 301-3000
Fax: (212) 301-4229
[email protected]

NBC
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Phone: 212-664-4444
Fax: 212-664-4426
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: nig[email protected]
NBC News Today: [email protected]
Dateline NBC: [email protected]

MSNBC
One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Phone: (201) 583-5000
Fax: (201) 583-5453

PBS
1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-739-5000
Fax: 703-739-8458
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: [email protected]

National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Web site: http://www.npr.org

Associated Press (AP),
50 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, New York 10020
Feedback, [email protected]

Newsweek
251 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
e-mail: [email protected]

Time
Time & Life Building
Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10020
e-mail: [email protected]

Newsday
235 Pinelawn Rd.
Melville, NY 11747
e-mail: [email protected]

The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036
e-mail: [email protected]

The New York Post
[email protected]

USA Today
1000 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22229
e-mail: [email protected]

The Washington Post
1150 15th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20071
e-mail: [email protected]

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia, PA 19101
e-mail: [email protected]

The Boston Globe
P.O. Box 2378
Boston, MA 02107
e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

The Boston Herald
One Herald Square
Boston, MA 02106
e-mail: [email protected]

Chicago Sun-Times
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
e-mail: [email protected]

Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Cleveland Plain Dealer
1801 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
e-mail: [email protected]

Dallas Morning News
P.O. Box 655237
Dallas, TX 75265
e-mail: [email protected]

Detroit News
615 Lafayette Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226
e-mail: [email protected]

Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square
Los Angeles, CA 90053
e-mail: [email protected]

San Francisco Chronicle
901 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
e-mail: [email protected]

San Francisco Examiner
110 Fifth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
e-mail: [email protected]

***

DAM also held a fundraising charity for deceased author Dawn Thompson. Some people are inquiring about the legitimacy of the fundraiser. DS provided some details as to how to go about finding out more information regarding this fundraiser:

Something quick about the charitable lottery.

DAM was in Kentucky- Here is the url to the Kentucky Office that oversees charitable gaming:

http://www.ocg.ky.gov/complaints.htm

Leeann Burroughs and presumably Highland Press is in Florida. Here is the url to Florida laws.

http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=raffle&URL=CH0849/Sec0935.HTM

This will get you to the complaint form for Florida:

http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/4492d797dc0bd92f85256cb80055fb97/030e31f06ef0184d85256cc600706904!OpenDocument

Note that the statute finds that failure to comply with all of Florida statues regarding charitable gaming is a deceptive trade practice.

Dawn Thompson was in New York.

Here is New York’s Rules:

http://www.racing.state.ny.us/charitable/faqs_raffle.htm

and here is an address of the overseeing authority:

New York Charitable Gaming
New York State Racing and Wagering Board
1 Watervliet Avenue Extension, Suite 2
Albany, NY 12206
Phone: (518) 453-8460

Here is where you can file a complaint.

http://www.consumer.state.ny.us/

The thing to remember is that the only people actually defrauded are the ones who sent money or the ones to whom the money was supposed to go. They are the ones with the standing to complain.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

83 Comments

  1. Kayleigh Jamison
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 22:57:31

    Thanks for this, Jane.

    In light of this situation, as well as the Amazon/Booksurge anti-trust nightmare, I’m thinking about updating my website to remove all links to my books for sale on Amazon, and asking my readers not to purchase my work there.

    I feel that strongly about this whole thing.

  2. Reba Belle
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 03:31:36

    Thank you for this, Jane!

    I think Borders.com looks very promising! And good ‘ole Barnes and Noble is a great place to shop.

  3. Danielle
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 03:58:17

    Jane, thank you for the everything….looks like I will be boycotting Amazon for awhile — Hello Books A Million.com!!!

  4. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 04:41:59

    Borders.com is teamed with Amazon.com, so it’s not the place to go if you want to boycott Amazon.

    Personally, I’ve got too much invested in Amazon as a hobby to boycott them, but I can well understand those who take their business elsewhere.

  5. Gina
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 07:00:27

    August 21, 2007, DAM writes to her Highland Press author group to “vote down this bitch please” and that

    Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband's
    name, her chidrens' names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her
    address phone number and email
    lol – quite interesting.

    August 21, 2007, Leanne Grant posts to the thread Read any BAD books lately on Amazon. This comment was deleted by I have it in hard copy.

    I see you didn't go ride your horse and chill. Stop attack authors,
    especially the one you cannot recall or Amazon is going to shut you
    down. You are dearly attacking someone whith Is against the forum N~S.
    You clearly have a “problem”.
    Whoa -Reba, you took down on your ‘horsa for sale ads” that have
    your phone and address showing. Too late tot What next the family
    tree page? You forgot the xxxx family he…XXX [Initials of Reba Belle removed]

    Aren’t there legal consequences for this? I know Internet law has a lot of grey areas but Cyber-bullying is being taken more seriously since that poor teen killed herself last year, and for this woman (and her friends) to go so far as to search Reba’s family…all my red flags would be waving and I’d be calling every agency (and lawyer) until someone took me seriously.

  6. Reba Belle
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:08:58

    Good Morning,

    I had to laugh at this new post now under my comments for the book review “In Her Bed.” In my opinion, this character is the person in question. But my point to posting it is this post implies:

    1. If “I” did write those e-mails that surfaced about hiring a PI and voting “this bitch down” then they are copyright protected and people should not be re-posting them.

    2. If “I” didn’t write it, we are all liars.

    And here it is, just in case it gets deleted by the author:

    n reply to an earlier post on April 19, 2008 12:19 AM PDT
    Caitrina Hunter says:
    Very cheeky, arent’ we? Your venom for this writer is showing in your flagrant abusive conduct. Amazon banned Reba Belle for a reason but you know oh so much more than Amazon, the owner of the site. I offer an observation. Of course if the emails you post are accurate then you are stealing copyrighted material that belongs to someone else. If they aren’t accurate then you’re a liar. Thief or liar. Which is it? DW

    I thought folks could use a good chuckle first thing this morning. Sure made me laugh!

    Reba

  7. Reba Belle
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:19:51

    I contacted http://beta.bordersstores.com/online/store/Home to ask if they were connected with Amazon. Here is what they said:

    We have made some exciting improvements to bordersstores.com. Once the new website is out of the beta phase, we will no longer be affiliated with Amazon. But at this time the only way to order online is http://www.borders.com, which is Borders teamed with Amazon.

  8. Nora Roberts
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:25:24

    I think somebody needs a lesson on copyright protection. Then again, some types never seem able to learn anything. Funny, too, she doesn’t seem at all bothered by the content of the e-mails.

    I smell a sock.

  9. Bernita
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:27:39

    Hmmm.
    With Signet’s resolution of the Cassies Edwards case, I wonder if certain parties are expecting a train somewhere to start blowing a whistle.

  10. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:29:31

    DW may well end up being banned for spamming. I really think these posts ought to be deleted before that happens. We don’t want any more bans.

  11. Diana Castilleja
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:36:57

    I fell out of the loop after the initial DAM uproar, not out of disinterest but it was putting me in a bad place that the people I trust (publishing on a whole) couldn’t be trusted. Had to think it through.

    In light of this post and the collective information, I’ve reposted this with a link on my blog.

    I can’t begin to tell Reba how bad I feel for her and her family. There has been and is no excuse for this kind of treatment.

    I’m not going to express my ire of Amazon at the moment. That would lead to some really vulgar ranting.

    Thanks for keeping us to speed on all the DAM information, Jane.

  12. Mel-O-Drama
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 08:42:34

    I’m still in shock that Reba was banned for a 3 star review when she’s the one being cyber-stalked. How does that make any sense? Or did I miss something?

  13. K. Z. Snow
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 09:09:48

    April 14, 2008 – Amazon deletes all of Reba Belle's comments from the Amazon boards. It places her account in “bad standing.” She cannot post at Amazon nor can she upload reviews. She can, however, order products.

    April 17, 2008 – Reba Belle finally receives an update from Amazon customer service indicating that her account will remain in bad standing and that maybe sometime in the future, she might be granted the privilege of posting again so long as she never brings this topic up.

    WHAT? That’s appalling!

  14. Rose Marie Wolf
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 09:50:06

    I personally think this whole thing is ridiculous.

    And about the whole Amazon.com thing, I will still continue to shop there, as well as other places. I’m no discriminator (sp?). I’m an equal opportunity shopper. LOL

  15. Stephanie Z.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 09:52:49

    This is appalling. I understand that Amazon has bots doing most of its work, but you’d think with this much invested in it, a real human being might look at something and think, “Wow, that’s weird, and we could get sued for it.” (I am not a lawyer and I don’t know if they could get sued for it or not, but it seems to me that someone somewhere should consider the possibility.)

    If a human HAS looked at it and decided that what they’ve done is RIGHT, then there’s obviously a moral black hole going on somewhere.

    Anyway, no more Amazon.com for me.

  16. Charlene Teglia
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 10:03:29

    I’m speechless.

  17. Jackie Barbosa
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 10:11:10

    The manipulation of Amazon reviews appears to go well beyond DAM, FWIW. You might find these sites interesting, for example:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-upside-of-amazon-manipulation/

    http://www.pinkgodzillagames.com/pink_godzilla_news/amazoncom_masters_of_illusion.php

  18. Kayleigh Jamison
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 12:19:57

    Well, no, I don’t expect my statement to have much, if any, impact on Amazon, even if all five of my loyal readers follow my request. But my conscience demanded I do something beyond sign the petition. My books are actually cheaper at B&N than Amazon if you’re a club member, and they are the same price at Target.

  19. Bookseller
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 12:48:41

    Just a thought for all of you who no longer want to shop at Amazon because of this incident. Instead of switching to other national chains like Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million, try your local independent bookstore. Many independents have websites (not as flashy as Amazon but still informative) and can ship anywhere around the country. Most independents have access to all the same books as Amazon, B&N, and BAM. To find an independent bookstore, go to http://www.booksense.com. Yes, I do work for an independent bookstore, and have been a bookseller for 15 years. I’m remaining anonymous only to not give preferential treatment to the store where I work. If you really want to stop ordering from Amazon, it’s hard to go wrong with your local independent bookstore.

    PS – I know this is off topic, and I apologize if anyone is offended.

  20. Bev Stephans
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 13:20:08

    I think what Amazon has done concerning Reba is appalling. I bought mostly used books through Amazon. I have found a better website for used books. Abebooks. No more Amazon for anything!

    I have bought most of my new books through Books-A-Million and will definitely continue doing so.

    Maybe if Amazon’s pocketbook is hurt, they will reconsider their egregious actions.

  21. Allie
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 14:50:03

    I’m going to boycott. I was already pissed off at Amazon due to another problem I had with their shipping system (and which they never apologized for), and this just seals it. I used to order quite a lot of stuff from them, too. It boggles my mind that in this day in age, when there are so many online retailers, that they aren’t more responsive to their customers and reviewers.

  22. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 15:57:25

    Just spotted this among the reviews for “In her bed”

    Loved It, April 19, 2008
    By Caitrina Hunter (Hell on Earth) – See all my reviews

    Juding by the comments about this book, I’m about to get massacred but it’s my review and the mindless posse from dearauthor won’t scare me off. BTW I’m not a twit, I have advanced degrees that would put you shame. Besides a ton of money.

    This book held me spellbound from the first page till the last page.

    …… and so on …….

    Well, I’m not going to rise to the bait by voting against the review. I hope you’re not either, but I found it amusing that the woman was so defensive. Whether she truly loved the book or whether she was just a troll, we’ll never know. If she’s including me in “the mindless posse from dearauthor” then maybe she should take a look at my reviews to decide whether I really am mindless.

  23. Kayleigh Jamison
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 16:05:06

    I also like the assumption that anyone posting here is an uneducated twit.

    Should I be including my educational and professional qualifications with each comment I make?

    Also, perhaps I haven’t been paying close enough attention, but I haven’t seen reams of comments about the quality of the book itself. I have no opinion on it; haven’t read it, never will. What I find distasteful isn’t the writing, it’s the actions of the author.

  24. Bernita
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 16:08:14

    “Besides a ton of money.”
    Irrelevant and vulgar.

  25. Alexandra
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 16:49:51

    “BTW I'm not a twit, I have advanced degrees that would put you shame.”

    Every time I’ve had the “I have the advanced degrees and you don’t” argument thrown at me, it’s always been by those who are incompetent and have no other defense to fall back on. No, the “advanced degree” argument doesn’t make you a twit: it makes you pompous.

  26. Jessica Barksdale Inclan
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 17:27:46

    Call me naive, but I’d really thought–aside from some folk who cheat and write under assumed names–that amazon reviews were a place to put down your thoughts about books. On another amazon site (Canada) a reader gave me a 1 star review and just went after one of my novels, but I never thought to hunt down her family. I didn’t even reply.

    In any case, I have too much amazon html on my web site to consider a change. There is so much wrong with shopping on amazon (yet I am a prime member)and the reviews, clearly. But we are all kind of tied into their system. Our editors and agents pay attention.

    So what I will do is write to proclaim my dismay and concern. If enough people do that, will it make a difference? Who knows. But what a statement about how weird the book biz has gotten–with angry authors desperate for sales and threats and accusations. Weirdness.

    Jessica Inclan

  27. Arwen
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 17:44:57

    I’m glad to see that Borders Books is dropping their association with Amazon. I love Borders and it was driving me nuts to think I would have to buy my books elsewhere. I did remove my Amazon affiliate links and have signed up with Barnes and Noble and BAM’s affiliate programs. Still waiting for approval from both.

    I cannot believe that Amazon would treat a customer this way especially since their company mantra is supposedly all about the customer. What bull that is. I signed the petition. Keep up the good fight.

  28. Kristie(J)
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 17:46:15

    Ironically, I just received one of those email notices from Amazon – “We’ve seen you purchased such and such a book. Perhaps you would be interested in such and such a book”
    I hit reply button and said there was no sense in sending any more because until the situation with Deborah Anne MacGillivray and her cyber stalkers is dealt with I won’t be purchasing anything from Amazon.

    Rats! It was undeliverable.

  29. DevonM
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 18:55:57

    I’ve been following this story with avid interest since it broke. Even before that, I noticed the DAM mentions from readers on the Amazon forum regarding the deletion of reviews. I signed the petition and have to go with the majority here in that this whole situation sucks and something needs to be done about it.

    Okay, having said that, I do have a concern, for myself and other small press published authors. Back when the BookSurge strong arm issues came up, I learned that many readers not associated with the industry think POD books are self-published. These same readers opined that Amazon’s BookSurge stance would make no difference to them because they have never, nor will they ever, buy a POD book because they’re self-published and therefore crap. I got this from the Amazon forums. So, there’s strike one.

    Now, with everyone (me included) boycotting Amazon, I’m wondering what’s going to happen to us small press romance authors. Our books aren’t in brick and mortar stores. I have links to both B&N and Borders on my web site. But guess where nearly all my sales have come from. Yep. Amazon.

    It’s true that my book is listed elsewhere for sale, but sites such as B&N don’t make it easy to find us little guys. They just don’t have all the bells and whistles, the “maybe you’d like this” recommendation features, etc. I’m sure there are a lot of small press authors out there who’ve been thinking the same thing so I thought I’d voice it. It’s just a fact that for most of us small press authors, our print sales go through Amazon, so I feel it’s kinda sorta related since everyone has decided to boycott. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed (holding my breath is more like it) they’ll do the right thing. And if this is too far OT, I apologize.

  30. Lynne
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 18:59:53

    Bev, I’m an ABEBooks addict, too. :-) I’ve bought more impossible-to-find books there than I can remember. Last year, I found a TON of historical fiction research books in ABE-linked indie bookstores in England — so many, in fact, that my credit card company called me to ask if I my card had been stolen or if I had relocated across the pond!

    (Totally OT: What historical romance reader or writer could pass up a series of history books called Lives of the Rakes? Not this one!)

    As for Amazon, who needs ‘em? We do have choices, and I plan to vote with my dollars.

  31. Mark Baker
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:01:38

    I'm still in shock that Reba was banned for a 3 star review when she's the one being cyber-stalked. How does that make any sense? Or did I miss something?

    Reba started taking the e-mail where DAM threatened her and crowed about getting her personal information and posting it all over Amazon. Amazon then deleted her comments as spam and banned her as a spammer.

    No, that doesn’t make DAM’s actions right at all. But there is a little more to the story then was in the original post.

  32. delta
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:13:02

    Reba started taking the e-mail where DAM threatened her and crowed about getting her personal information and posting it all over Amazon. Amazon then deleted her comments as spam and banned her as a spammer.

    No, that doesn't make DAM's actions right at all. But there is a little more to the story then was in the original post.

    Um…like what?

  33. Ann Somerville
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:16:37

    Delta: Reba was banned, officially, because she posted the same post over and over in comments on the Amazon forums. This violated Amazon’s rules and in their books, made her a spammer. That’s the official reason she was banned.

    Unofficially, I’m sure there was a lot of agitation behind scenes by a nasty little clique to ensure this happened. But on paper, Amazon haven’t banned Reba because of her reviews, which still stand.

    Amazon sucks huge hairy donkey bollocks for this though. Even a half-way intelligent reviewer of the information would realise Reba was fighting a battle to expose some very dangerous behaviour. Clearly, Amazon don’t use half-way intelligent people in their customer service team.

  34. delta
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:20:39

    Unofficially, I'm sure there was a lot of agitation behind scenes by a nasty little clique to ensure this happened. But on paper, Amazon haven't banned Reba because of her reviews, which still stand.

    Ah, okay. I’ve read all that. Mr. Baker made it sound like there was more to the story than what you’ve just passed on.

  35. Ann Somerville
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:26:53

    Delta: I think Mark was just stating that is true – that to say Reba was banned for her review is untrue. Maybe the original post could make that clear.

    I’m not getting any sense that Mark agree with our cowardly anons, that Reba is the sekrit villain of the piece.

  36. delta
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:41:46

    I'm not getting any sense that Mark agree with our cowardly anons, that Reba is the sekrit villain of the piece.

    I read Mark’s post too quickly (too many posts on too many sites by too many people makes my eyes blind :) ). Thanks, Ann.

  37. Corrine
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 21:57:12

    I absolutely cringe in empathic mortification for people who have to hold up pieces of paper as proof of their “intelligence”. That’s one of my hot buttons.

  38. Carita
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 22:46:26

    I’m a long time lurker but I wrote my very displeased email to Amazon.com. This whole situation just pisses me off. I’m not so mad about the “clickies” thing as much as the cyber bullying that MacGillivray did. To have Amazon.com let her get away with harassing a fellow reviewer is just unacceptable.

  39. Mark Baker
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 23:19:22

    Ann, thanks for coming on here and saying accurately what I was trying to say for me. You can speak for me any time. :)

    Delta, sorry for the confusion. Ann stired you right.

    I have a lot invest in Amazon, but these events really bother me. If they don’t reach the right conclusion in a timely manner, I just might be stepping away from the site.

  40. delta
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 23:32:41

    Delta, sorry for the confusion. Ann stired you right.

    Not your fault at all, Mark. Mine, for mis-reading and not absorbing.

  41. kirsten saell
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 23:56:48

    It's true that my book is listed elsewhere for sale, but sites such as B&N don't make it easy to find us little guys. They just don't have all the bells and whistles, the “maybe you'd like this” recommendation features, etc. I'm sure there are a lot of small press authors out there who've been thinking the same thing so I thought I'd voice it. It's just a fact that for most of us small press authors, our print sales go through Amazon, so I feel it's kinda sorta related since everyone has decided to boycott.

    Perhaps it’s time to start contacting Borders and B&N and asking them to begin providing those same bells and whistles. Improving their level of service can only benefit both retailer and customer, right? It would be nice if there was a real alternative to the big bad monopoly.

  42. DevonM
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 00:09:49

    Perhaps it's time to start contacting Borders and B&N and asking them to begin providing those same bells and whistles. Improving their level of service can only benefit both retailer and customer, right? It would be nice if there was a real alternative to the big bad monopoly.

    kirsten, it would be nice. The problem I see is, B&N’s business is mainly in the brick and mortar stores so that’s where most of their efforts lie. Amazon is all online and, naturally, their presence there is going to have more pizazz and convenience. But it would be nice if B&N would at least try give them a run for the money.

  43. Lizbeth
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 00:52:56

    Just spotted this among the reviews for “In her bed”

    Loved It, April 19, 2008
    By Caitrina Hunter (Hell on Earth) – See all my reviews

    Juding by the comments about this book, I'm about to get massacred but it's my review and the mindless posse from dearauthor won't scare me off. BTW I'm not a twit, I have advanced degrees that would put you shame. Besides a ton of money.

    This book held me spellbound from the first page till the last page.

    …… and so on …….

    Well, I'm not going to rise to the bait by voting against the review. I hope you're not either, but I found it amusing that the woman was so defensive. Whether she truly loved the book or whether she was just a troll, we'll never know. If she's including me in “the mindless posse from dearauthor” then maybe she should take a look at my reviews to decide whether I really am mindless.

    Well, I read both of those DAM books back to back, and I just absolutely cannot believe that anyone could be spellbound from front to back with In Her Bed after reading A Restless Knight. It was a freaking struggle to get through since you’re basically rereading conversations, scenes, etc. I thought my 3-star review was quite generous. That’s why I was so pissed off after I finished them. I knew, knowing the reviews as I have come to, that there was no way this was a 5-star book. I knew I had been duped then, and that’s why I was livid when I realized my review had been removed. It confirmed my suspicions that there was something fishy going on. I had not heard anything about review manipulation. This was my first experience with it. Dang, it irritates the hell out of me. Perhaps I didn’t like In Her Bed because I only have 1 advanced degree, and not many….lol. I guess an extra advanced degree would have given me an appreciation for rereading the same scenes and conversations in two different books and an ability to do it without being bored to death. Yes, I’ve yet to learn to do that. Give me a break!

  44. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 03:49:42

    Perhaps it's time to start contacting Borders and B&N and asking them to begin providing those same bells and whistles.

    Be careful what you ask for. It’s those bells and whistles that DAM and her clique have manipulated for their own ends. The more that Amazon’s rivals follow that path, the more Amazon-esque problems they will encounter.

  45. Jaimie
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 11:13:28

    This situation is appalling. In effect, an author has the right to squash information and Amazon upholds it. Will we be seeing only five star reviews in the future? Dislike and disagreement quelled?

  46. Cara North
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 12:56:21

    This is wild. I feel bad for the reviewer who is being hounded, and for the author becasue there is obviously a disconnect there.
    I’ve recieved bad reviews, I mean I got one that was painfully, but I wrote her and thanked her for taking the time to read my book anyways and that I would take her comments into consideration in the future.
    I love getting great or even good reviews, who doesn’t. But if someone doesn;t like a book, you can;t make them. It is their right not to like it. And if the book is good, it will get more positve reviews to overshadow that one.
    This sounds more like “no press is bad press” Look at how much attention they are getting for it.
    I am surprised AMAZON made them take that review down. I mean not all AMazon reviews are good. It doesn’t say review this book if you like it.
    Frightning.
    Cara

  47. DW
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 18:23:52

    DW may well end up being banned for spamming. I really think these posts ought to be deleted before that happens. We don't want any more bans.

    I reposted the email with my eyes wide open, in regards to Amazon deleting them or having me banned. So, no worries.

  48. Reba Belle
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:56:33

    DW–I don’t know who you are, but I sure do thank you!

    You, and many others, are sticking your necks out for me and this issue and we don’t even know each other!

    I am very humbled…

    You all need to be careful with any personal information you have posted about yourselves. Don’t post where you live!!!! Make sure you don’t have any personal information in any of your reviews or in any of your comments on Amazon that could be used to track you down.

    Be very careful!! God Bless you all.

    Jane,

    I am 99.9 percent certain that Caitrina Hunter is DAM. She started posting in the Deletion of Reviews to Raise Star Ratings Amazon discussion board. I have all her posts. She kept harping to me and “what I was doing to myself.”

    I never acknowledged her, but others in the forum eventually ran her off. Then she went to “The Review” and posted her message(s) there to me.

    Reba

  49. DW
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 22:20:27

    Thanks Reba,

    I thought Caitrina may be DAM as well or at least a very scary ‘fan’ that wouldn’t mind doing a little stalking herself. She has you (and only you) as a person of interest on her Profile.

  50. RfP
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:15:22

    Be careful what you ask for. It's those bells and whistles that DAM and her clique have manipulated for their own ends. The more that Amazon's rivals follow that path, the more Amazon-esque problems they will encounter.

    Good point. Amazon has always done well with those “community” features–starting with “Others who bought X also bought Y”, and building up to the full-fledged forums and comments-on-comments scheme they have today. I’m sure when Amazon beefed up the “community” aspects of the site, among their goals were:
    1. Increased loyalty

    2. More content + more eyeballs = Higher search rankings

    3. Competition to write more reviews–as that Yale study showed, more reviews = more sales.

    It’s inevitable that competition will motivate some people to game the system. Some will be indignant, some will shrug and say it’s all just a game. Amazon isn’t stupid–they must have seen that coming, and they probably thought (correctly, so far) that the occasional controversy was worth the increased reviews.

    4. Self-policing.

    There’s a major school of thought that says that the more cohesive a community is, the more it will self-police and prevent abuses. I’m sure that’s proven true in many corners of Amazon, but it’s too large a system to be that integrated a community across the entire site. And of course the competition aspect mitigates both for and against the self-policing. That has to make it difficult for Amazon to creates a system that differentiates the people gaming the system for reviewer status from the real abusers (who don’t respond to the same policies and motivations as the vote-seekers).

  51. Sue
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:42:34

    I found this mess last night while I was on Amazon looking for a new book to read. Another author was defending deleted reviews by saying that they gave away too many spoilers or were just not helpful, but said she was in no way as crazy as DAM and included a link to this. The thought of an author deleting reviews for any reason seemed awful to me so I curiously popped over here.
    WOW!!!
    I am extremely disturbed that any author would delete negative reviews. It shows how little they trust the intelligence of the readers. I’m smart enough to see if a review contains spoilers that I don’t want to know or if someone reviewed a book without understanding it at all. But this is WAY beyond that. The fact that Amazon is ignoring the real problem is what bothers me most of all. I would love to boycott Amazon, but with where I live that would be mean a 20 minute drive to a small used book store or over an hour drive to the next one.
    I have forwarded this page to all of my close friends who, like me, are avid readers and posted something on my Live Journal.
    I would suggest you also hit some of the book trading sites and post links there on their discussion boards like Paperback Swap (which I am not a member) or Bookmooch (if they have discussion boards). I don’t think most of those members would be happy about this.
    I wish you all luck.

  52. L
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:05:34

    Sue,
    There is already 2 paperbackswap threads about this issue. There’s also a few of us regular posters at Amazon that created our own romance forum too if you’re interested. We have a thread about this there too:

    http://z9.invisionfree.com/RomanceReaders

  53. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:02:13

    You all need to be careful with any personal information you have posted about yourselves. Don't post where you live!!!! Make sure you don't have any personal information in any of your reviews or in any of your comments on Amazon that could be used to track you down.

    No point in my worrying about this. I decided some time ago to use my full name on the internet because that makes me unique in the world and in some instances, that may be an advantage. The downside is that anybody who wants to do nasty things can easily find me.

    I live in Leicester, England (easy to find out). Elsewhere, there are two different pictures of me taken in November last year, available on newspaper websites, as well as another picture taken six years ago, the latter being associated with a radio interview where people can hear my voice. None of those articles include my middle name, but they’re all Amazon-related so a determined person will find them.

    If somebody has malicious intent, I’m completely exposed. Yes, there are a lot of people in the world called Peter Harris, but even though some of them are famous, I’ve made sure that I’m easily traceable through the internet.

    I just have to hope that nothing nasty happens to me. But at least nobody is dependant on me; I live on my own. Security is much more important for people living in families.

  54. Robin L Rotham
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 19:26:58

    I sent an email to the Amazon exec address posted here and just got a lovely programmed response, apologizing for “any inconvenience caused due to this matter” and explaining Amazon’s review policy.

    Do any REAL people work at Amazon?

  55. DS
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 19:47:11

    Be persistent. Reply and tell them why it doesn’t help your problem. Eventually a human will look at it.

  56. Lynne
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 19:54:02

    For those looking for an alternative to Amazon, I recommend Powells.com for new books and ABEBooks.com for used. I’m not spending another cent at Amazon until they resolve these issues.

  57. M Porter's Deja Vu
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 22:45:20

    Do any REAL people work at Amazon?

    Not with quarterly revenues of $4,000,000,000. They can afford robots.
    My contribution was about 0.0000000001% or less

  58. Steve Hedge
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 12:32:23

    DS is right. We all get that computer generated response to our inquiries. At the end of those messages is a link to “if this hasn’t resolved your problem” and by reposting your complaint there, you will typically get a human response.

    In addition, [email protected] and [email protected] are addresses to executives of customer service and I’ve always received good responses there. I’m batting nearly 1,000 with ECR solving issues I bring to their attention. I’ve only had one or two times in which they hadn’t acted on a complaint to my satisfaction. I’m hoping my complaint in Reba’s favor will get the success I’m accustomed to getting from Amazon: my fingers are crossed.

    ****Also, I see a number of people writing about that “twit” C. Hunter who is more than likely DAM herself. I very carefully outlined her many inconsistencies and absurdities in her posts and the best she can come back with was “do you speak with a British accent.” I didn’t get the joke or even the “Gone with the Wind” metaphor, but I understand she, DAM, had issues with PD Harris in the past and somehow suspects that I am he with an extra profile.

    I don’t know about PD, but I take it as a high compliment if she thought I sounded like him. Peter writes very well both grammatically and in reference to style, and even though I’m an English teacher in the states, I suffer from dyslexia and another private issue that makes me struggle with my own writing. It’s caused me to miss several deadlines with my own publisher of my first book –thankfully they are patient and see the promise of what I’m writing.

    Of course, this accusation that I’m PD Harris from Hunter, who claims to “know nothing about MacGillivray” suggests that Hunter IS DAM or how would she be aware of this at all? Naturally, people with multiple identities on these kinds of sites think everyone else is as low as they are in deceptive practices and accuse others of what they do.

    Every time DAM, one of her multiple identities, or fans add to the conversation it only adds credibility to what we believe we know about them.

  59. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 16:17:02

    Steve

    I'm batting nearly 1,000 with ECR solving issues

    A very busy man

    the success I'm accustomed to getting from Amazon

    Tell us more, without breaking any confidentiality agreement. At least give us some clues.

    do you speak with a British accent?

    I tend to think it’s about me, but we’ll never know for sure

    I take it as a high compliment if she thought I sounded like him

    Thanks, but I think you exaggerate my ability as a writer.

    DAM had issues with PD Harris in the past

    OK everybody’ll want the story now, here goes, as I told Reba ….

    I was particularly interested in Reba’s case as it involved MacGillivray, who I knew was cheating with votes as far back as 2002. I found her reviews when Amazon introduced reviewer rankings for the first time. Soon afterwards, she climbed quickly to #2 and I soon realized that her vote-collecting capacity was suspicious. I tried to prove my case to Amazon in 2003 but failed. After that, MacGillivray managed to get me banned from Amazon’s customer reviews discussion board (the DB – we’ll come back to the DB later), but this ban was overturned after I sent a grovelling apology to Amazon. After that, I had to avoid saying anything publicly about her, but I never doubted that she was not only cheating, but that she was a particularly nasty character, partly because of what happened on a couple of my reviews for products that we both reviewed.

    It is rare to find anything that MacGillivray and I both review, because I mostly review music and the books I review are all (so far) non-fiction. She occasionally reviews music (especially sixties pop music) and it happens that we both reviewed the same Searchers compilation. Let’s just say that she mobilized her gang to vote against my UK review while voting for hers. In response to this, I know a lot of people did the reverse although I felt uncomfortable about it. Incidentally, I assume that MacGillivray didn’t realize at the time that I post reviews in America as well as Britain, since ony my UK review was attacked. Later, she did start attacking my American reviews, but never on the same scale.

    Not long after that Searchers episode, I reviewed Joseph Wambaugh’s book “The blooding”. It’s about a crime committed in the village (Narborough) where I’d worked for four and half years before being made redundant. The crime was committed many years before I even knew of the village, but during my time there, I’d occasionally heard people allude to it but never discuss it. When I found that a whole book had been written about it, I had to buy and read it. So when I wrote my review, I had some local knowledge to support what the book actually said. I was very pleased with that particular review. Soon after that, MacGillivray posted her own review of the same book and launched another campaign although nothing like on the scale of the Searchers review. She got some facts wrong so I was more upset that normal customers might go for her misleading review instead of my good review than I was about the voting patterns.

    Those voting exchanges happened in 2002, since when I’m sure she’s voted against plenty of my reviews although I’m not sure if she’s mobilized her gang against me. There was a massive voting campaign against my UK reviews between February and May of 2005, but I’m still not sure whether it was organized by MacGillivray or Jason Parkes, who was the UK #1 reviewer when that campaign started. That’s a whole other story, but I think Parkes was most likely the guilty person on that occasion.

    So I knew that MacGillivray was nasty, but I didn’t realize just how nasty until I started looking into Reba’s case.

  60. Concerned Reader
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 17:12:10

    Wow, Peter. The world of amazon reviews is much more cutthroat than I’d ever imagined! You seem nice, and your posts have been informative. I’m glad you’re sharing with us.

  61. concerned lurker
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 18:06:29

    Hi, everyone! I’ve been following this from the beginning, but this is my first post. So, Mr. Harris, from what you just told us, Amazon has been well aware of, and has enabled DAM’s psycho behavior for at least six years. What on Earth is it that she holds over them that lets her get away with this repeatedly and bans anyone who speaks up? There must be some kind of story to explain this. Is she Jeff Bezos’ mother-in-law or something?

  62. Hanne
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 20:15:10

    I don’t use Amazon much and have never delved into the reviews, so forgive the newbie question. But I don’t understand why Amazon would give authors the power to delete messages and reviews? Why don’t they have independent monitors to whom complaints (by either readers or authors) can be made?

  63. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 02:54:10

    Hanne – Amazon didn’t intentionally give powers to authors to delete reviews. But they found themselves dealing with a lot of complaints about reviews, so they thought up a nice simple system whereby if enough people clicked an option saying they objected to a review being on Amazon, it would disappear. It didn’t take long for people to start abusing this option.

    So it was a simple cost-cutting exercise. Amazon hoped that people wouldn’t abuse it, but they did. Anything that people can abuse will be abused by however small a minority. Amazon merely reflects the world in which we live.

  64. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 02:55:50

    <>

    Not really, because they didn’t believe me. Anyway, what DAM did to me was trivial compared to what Reba Belle has suffered.

  65. Steve Hedge
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 07:43:23

    PD,

    That batting 1,000 comment is a baseball term here in the states meaning that nearly all my complaints get resolved, not that I reported 1,000 problems. I think, guessing here, that I may send about about half dozen complaints a month to Amazon and it’s usually some obscene comment I came across, or someone harassing someone else. Ironically, it’s almost never about me or any of my reviews or comments posted on them. If someone leaves something stupid, obnoxious, or arrogant on my reviews, I leave them up as it says more about them than me, but I will have abusive or obscene comments or excessively personal attacks deleted, but that rarely ever happens.

    Peter, I wish I knew why I’m so successful with my complaints with Amazon. I guess I choose very carefully what I report to them, that I don’t abuse the privilege of reporting issues by being excessive, and that I don’t sound petty or whiny. I’m also very persistent.

    One thing that does bother me at CS/Amazon is that I may first get the computer generated response that tells me they are looking into my issue (and never get back to me) or I’ll get the standard computer generated response that says, “We’ve reviewed the comment/review in question and it does not fall outside of our guidelines.” When I get that for a review or comment that uses foul or obscene language it is clear to me that no one really looked at. Sometimes it takes several tries to get a human at Amazon (you will at the special addresses I noted), but I always do and then they eventually say, “Yes, this comment was outside of our guidelines and it will be removed shortly.” My thinking is if it was on my fourth try, then it was on my first, second, and third tries. Again, I don’t report petty stuff, only major things, so it easily annoys me when they don’t react appropriately. In the end, I get the result I want, so I’m doing something right, I guess.

    It is important to not to contact the [email protected] and [email protected] addresses unless the concern is really major or you’ve been ignored or dismissed by their normal customer service department.

    As far as your writing, PD, I never give a compliment that I don’t mean. Trust me, as an English teacher you write and express yourself very well and it doesn’t matter if we always agree either on the issue at hand.

    All the best,
    Steve

  66. Sue
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 08:49:43

    Uh, strange question.
    Out of curiousity I went to DAM’s website. When I clicked on the link that said ‘On Writing’, I got a pop up that asked if I wanted to allow the web site access to my clip board. It said they could read anything I cut or copied recently. Since I had just been here and copied this address to send to my friends, I said no. Is this a common practice on web sites? I’ve never seen it before, but it kind of freaked me out.

  67. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 09:08:00

    baseball term

    We Brits don’t do baseball – well, I think you might find it here somewhere, but you’d have to do some research. We have a different bat and ball game called cricket and it also uses incomprehensible terminology.

    usually some obscene comment I came across, or someone harassing someone else

    Yes, Amazon are quite content to sort those out.

    I guess I choose very carefully what I report to them, that I don't abuse the privilege of reporting issues

    Always the best way. I got the impression from some of your posts that you tend to muddy the waters somewhat by grouping issues together. I’m glad you don’t do that with Amazon. If somebody wrote to them about DAM and decided to mention problems with other reviewers as well (HK and GH, perhaps), they’d get nowhere.

    important to not to contact the [email protected] and [email protected] addresses unless the concern is really major

    I’ve never used those addresses. I think I may have been contacted by ECR before after sending an e-mail to Jeff Bezos’ office. I don’t do that very often and it never goes directly to him anyway, but it’s easy to remember “jeff at amazon dot com” if I feel the need to go there.

  68. Steve Hedge
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 11:05:07

    Yes, PD, whenever I write to Amazon I keep it about ONE thing and ONE thing only. They have a short attention span and no patience to deal with multiple issues at once. That’s when they think someone is just a big crybaby ranting against the whole system and ignores them.

    As far as me “muddying the waters somewhat” at times, I just believe that some abuses are interconnected. In conversation, blogs, etc., one can look at the bigger picture. It isn’t always about being focused on ONE thing or one person. I don’t consider it a diversion to bring up into a discussion similar abuses if it shows a pattern of some kind.

    I mentioned before and maybe it bares repeating that Amazon operates under a two tier system regarding their rules and guidelines. There is one for top reviewers and/or authors like the MacGillivray’s and the Taylor X’s who clearly violate the guidelines but end up with a slap on the wrist because of their popularity which may enhance Amazon’s bottom line. They, Amazon, benefit from their books sales and/or items that they bring to the public’s attention, especially as top reviewers. These two individuals I mentioned here have threatened people, used abusive language, stalked customers they feel slighted them, and gamed the system. Both only got a “readjustment” to their rankings and, in Taylor’s case, comments deleted. Taylor X even pursued one dissenter of his reviews by spamming several of his reviews with that exact same insult: “Don’t read this d*ck’s reviews.” He only got his comment deleted.

    The average Amazon customer/reviewer who commits far less infractions than these extreme ones get banned and you experienced that for yourself and was only allowed back on with a “gag order” to never discuss DAM again on Amazon –a ludicrous and outrageous limitation (talk about thin-skinned!). Reba certainly didn’t spam DAM in the same disgusting and vile manner as Taylor X did to one of his enemies, but look at what happened to her. It is clear to me that Amazon punishes abusers based upon two different set of standards. To me, it isn’t muddying the waters to connect profiles and abuses, especially to demonstrate a clear pattern.

    You and I may disagree here, and that’s okay. I respect your opinion, but it is also just that, your opinion. I do agree with you that whenever presenting concerns to Amazon to keep it simple and direct, but we need not limit our conversations to that standard.

  69. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 12:12:42

    I think there’s a skill in complaining. Since complaints tend to be in writing and since top reviewers are generally more likely to have good writing skills as well as being more likely to know their way around Amazon, it may appear that top reviewers are treated differently. I’ve seen plenty of top 100 reviewers removed from the rankings because of infringing the rules. At least two of them had all their reviews deleted because of plagiarism. That’s why I’d love somebody to pass me – or Amazon – any evidence if a current top 100 reviewer is guilty of such a crime. Somebody thinks they found evidence but didn’t present their case to Amazon correctly. Top reviewers are no good for Amazon if they end up costing Amazon vast sums of money in an expensive lawsuit.

    As in a criminal case in real life, if the evidence isn’t presented correctly, the case will fail. And if people go after who they think the criminal is instead of reporting their thoughts to the police, they sometimes end up being charged for taking the law into their owm hands. It’s the same with Amazon. Posting accusatory comments on somebody else’s reviews is NOT the correct way to do things. That’s why I was so disappointed when I learned what Reba did. And it was easier for Amazon to prove their case against Reba than it was to prove the more serious case against DAM. Nevertheless, I decided to continue supporting Reba because of the clear provocation involved. But do not doubt that some people who would have supported her decided that she no longer deserved their support because of her spam comments.

    Amazon has staff turnover like every other business. It may be higher for Amazon because of the pressure they put on their staff and this pressure may compound the glitchiness of their software. But the staff turnover means that the people who banned me aren’t in Amazon any more. I believe one of them left Amazon for Google. And as to the specific ban, well, I quit the DB as a regular poster more than 3 years ago and I’ve made about 7 posts since then, all in response to comments where I was mentioned and chose to respond. Mostly, I don’t respond even when I’m mentioned, whether it’s good or bad. So I’m not unduly worried.

  70. Reba Belle
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 13:20:40

    Amazon has removed comments by Jersery Girl under my review for “In Her Bed.”

    I didn’t get a chance to see what she wrote before the deletions. Does anyone know?

  71. Steve Hedge
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 13:53:29

    Reba,

    I did read them and, quite honestly, I had no issue with them. They were quick little back handed comments to the queen of mean Ms. Hunter. Notice how Amazon has no problem with her constant berating of you whom she knows can’t respond to her. Well, that’s brave of Ms. Hunter, isn’t. And is this not yet another case of the double standard that Amazon operates under. Then they wonder what all the outcry is about.

    I commented back to that little wench on her asinine review of “In Her Bed” along with a few others taken aback by her approach.

    Has anyone noticed that she wasn’t able to answer a single one of my questions/concerns about her profile and comments? I think that says quite a lot by itself.

  72. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 15:50:41

    One of Jersey Girl’s posts survives. Here it is before it vanishes.

    Hi, Caitrina! Shouldn’t you be doing your homework or shopping for prom gowns instead of making up a new identity & hounding folks your parents’ age? Really, life’s too short (well, you’ve got many more years ahead of you than 90 percent of the reviewers here), to chase people around Amazon because they didn’t like your (Oops! I meant DeborahAnne MacGillivray’s – now, how could I have made a mistake like that?) book. That is, unless someone comandeered your name – and it is a very nice one.

  73. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 16:23:30

    This issue eventually made it to the DB. They’ve got a few things wrong but I’m not going to respond to them.

  74. Reba Belle
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 18:17:00

    I found this on the Amazon Discussion Board (DB) that Peter posted (#73):

    Martin A Hogan Apr-23 4:16 pm
    To: C. Gilbert unread (54 of 58)
    29051.54 in reply to 29051.1

    OMG! This is hilariously sad. I remember about seven years ago, Ms. Mac sent me a nasty Email and I cannot remember what it said. Another poster brought to my attention that she is a “rank hog”, meaning she will do anything to get high in the TOP lists. You will see a review posted on any given day with well over 10-12 votes immediately with more each day! This guy mentioned she is even in the TOP 10 of French Amazon by using BABELFISH to double post her reviews. I think its funny, but beware – she has a flare for writing cruel and egregiously vicous notes. :)

    From: AIIR8E34EDKCQ 12:20 am
    To: C. Gilbert unread (56 of 58)
    29051.56 in reply to 29051.1

    Omg that is so freaky, I remember in 2006 my friend Ravenova wrote a 3 star review of some crappy romance novel ( Blonde Geisha) and Deborah McG and her cronies kept getting it deleted, it turned into an ugly battle and I was shocked to see “romance” writers acting like friggin werewolves!! Debra didn’t even write the book and she still pushed herself into the whole thing.

    I had no clue she was this nasty, yikes!

  75. The Clash of Cultures « Internationale Krimis
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 23:56:00

    [...] die Autorin über Leser/Fans die Rezensentin in Misskredit zu bringen … wer will, kann es bei Dear Author oder bei GalleyCat [...]

  76. Throwmearope
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 09:33:33

    Charlie Stross has a post about owning your one-star reviews. Apparently this strategy is espoused by John Scalzi as well. Charlie shared some of his one-star Ammie reviews here. What a refreshingly adult way to cope with critical readers.

    Hope I didn’t mess up the link. No techno peeps here.

  77. Steve Hedge
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 10:09:37

    Amazon does not, to my limited knowledge, delete comments all on their own, but usually due to customers complaints or ungodly numbers of people clicking away at the “abuse” button. I thought JerseyGirl’s comments were harmless and playful, especially when compared to Ms. Hunter’s vile comments.

    I do recall the one posted above which, unfortunately, suggested that Ms. Hunter is Ms. MacGillivray. Amazon is NORMALLY rather flexible about this and wouldn’t give this a second look (especially if it only suggests and doesn’t outright accuse someone), but as we’ve become accustomed to here, anything connected to DAM and her cronies gets immediate and favorable attention. Yes, I know I’m exaggerating here a bit to make my point.

    Apparently our thin-skinned Ms. Hunter or the even more thin-skinned MacG asked to have the playful comments removed or had their cronies in massive numbers click the “abuse” button. Boy, talk about dishing it out, but not being able to take it.

    Ironically, we have Ms. Hunter come on accusing JerseyGirl of being Reba Belle AFTER JG’s comments were deleted. Hhhhhhmmmmm . . . Obviously, vicious comments, threatening posts, and obsession with being #1 aren’t the only childish behaviors for DAM and company. Now, let’s add “I have to have the last word” to that list of immature characteristics of these individuals.

    I’m also surprised that (not really) that Amazon continues to even allow Ms. Hunter to keep posting her vile crap on Reba’s review with the knowledge that Reba cannot respond back. I would think someone at Amazon would consider that against their written guidelines to NOT post comments that are spiteful or harassing in nature. I am the only one seeing this as spiteful and harassing on Ms. Hunter’s part? Does this situation not continue to add credibility to the argument that Amazon operates under a two tier or double standard system on how they handle high profile people and the general population?

  78. Steve Hedge
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 11:18:39

    Hey, Before Amazon either deletes Caitrina Hunter’s profile altogether or at least the comments, you all need to check out her “interests.” I nearly died laughing at her often contrary statements. For someone who claims not to know anything about the big fuss with DAM, she sure does read every word being posted here and on the discussion boards. Seems like a rather big obsession for someone who keeps claiming she doesn’t care what others think or say and, in her words, “doesn’t know anything about DAM”.

    She also addresses several of us on here specifically which is also against Amazon’s rules for one’s profile page. It’s so nice to be known.

    All I can say is for someone who has supposedly experienced a great tragedy in losing family members, she has no trouble supporting an individual who publicly threaten another’s family, has no trouble harassing someone who can’t defend herself, and has no trouble constantly bring up her loss in an effort to avoid any criticism (even though she feels entitled to give others vile and harassing criticisms herself).

    Ms. Hunter, You should be utterly ashamed of your actions and the manner in which you attempt to use the loss of your family to insulate yourself from criticisms of any kind. I don’t think I have ever met a lower individual in my life. Stop telling everyone that your life and background is no one’s business, and then keep throwing it in everyone’s face as a defense. You are becoming an insult to anyone who has suffered a loss in their family. I lost my own father recently to a long slow painful death and I don’t post it all over the place and use it as a shield from criticism. That is revolting and cowardly conduct. Sign off online and get yourself some serious help.

  79. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 13:01:42

    JerseyGirl's comments

    Did she at any stage mock the deceased as Caitrina alleged?

    thin-skinned Ms. Hunter or the even more thin-skinned MacG

    If one is more thin-skinned than the other, they can’t be the same person :-)

    Amazon continues to even allow Ms. Hunter to keep posting

    Amazon only respond when asked. Maybe you’ve asked that her posts be removed, but I haven’t and I don’t know how many have. I suspect that in this case, it’s those who shout loudest that get their way. No, I’m not going to ask for posts to be removed.

    against Amazon's rules for one's profile page

    Tell Amazon if you wish. I’m happy to leave it be. I’m only mentioned as “Peter what’s his name” but I’d still leave it if she’d got my name right.

  80. Steve Hedge
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 14:06:00

    Hey, PD, I have no intention of telling Amazon a thing about her comments or her profile. They speak for themselves. Her viciousness is apparent in every word and I want it to stay up, but I think with so many disliking her blind allegiance to DAM, someone will bring it to Amazon’s attention.

    Again, her own callousness toward someone else who is a victim of an injustice screams volumes about what kind of person she is. I do think it’s wrong that she is allowed to post endlessly and antagonistically on a Reba’s review with the knowledge she can’t defend herself there. Could we get any more cowardly?

    Nope, I’m certainly not going to complain. Besides, I like the beach I’m playing on. The company is infinitely better here then there.

  81. Steve Hedge
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 15:06:31

    Folks,

    Please excuse the typo in reference to Ms. Hunter I made earlier. My typo indicated a REAL author that I was unaware of and the typo was just that, an honest error; I had mentioned to PD earlier that I admire his skill at writing as I, although an English teacher, have dyslexia and it makes writing a real struggle.

    Anyhow, I can’t fix it up there now as the time expired for that, but I was talking about Caitrina Hunter with the bizarre profile and NOT the respected author Caitlyn Hunter who very graciously understood my typo, but wanted to clarify that she wasn’t connected to “our” Ms. Hunter or DAM in any way.

    My sincerest apologies for the error and I hope it causes no problem for the author. I did NOT intend to link her in any way to the individuals we have issues with on Amazon. When a teacher commits a crime, it’s a black eye on the whole profession and with this scandal, I would never want any other respected author to suffer a needless black eye; therefore, I again apologize for my dyslexic boo-boo.

    Respectfully,
    Steve Hedge

  82. DS
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 15:16:41

    Steve, click the contact button at the top and tell the owners the problem. They will fix the name for you.

  83. Steve Hedge
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 15:26:51

    Thanks, DS, I sent in a request for change on that comment. I’ll leave up my apology though. I think the author deserves that from me.

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