Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reading Amazon Book Reviews

It has come to my attention (by way of talk radio) that certain factions are working in a concerted effort to poison the reviewer remarks for some books on Amazon. Specifically, there appears to be coordinated efforts by Atheists and Socialists to leave disparaging comments and mark other comments as "not helpful." And specifically these remarks are being made towards books by Christians and conservatives writing about America. I don't know how much of this is going on (and honestly, I see only sporatic evidence of it), but I thought I would share my method of avoiding such nonsense. My technique was originally designed to avoid concieted reviews by the friends and relatives of the author, and general nay-sayers who just don't like what they are reading.

This is primarily useful for books (or products) with lots and lots of reviews. On those with only a couple of reviews, I just read all of them. On products with enough reviews to make reading all of them impractical, I just read the 4-star reviews. Or just the three star reviews. Whichever seems to be a reasonable number to read. This avoids those who wrote a review but forgot to mark how many stars. Avoids the ones that are just glowing reviews with no substance. And avoids the vandals that are just there to run the product down.

The real purpose of reading reviews is to find out if the book or product is a good match for the customer, not really to find out if it is a good match for the world. Sometimes, if I am particularly taken by a reviewer, I might even click on their name and see what else they reviewed. This isn't useful for hunting donw the Atheists or other vandals, however, as they are likely to be cowards that will create mulitple personalities to tear down Christian writings.

There are also comments left on the reviews, but I don't find them useful for book reviews, as they just tend to be argumentative. For product reviews, however, they can sometimes clear up misconceptions about the product or company.

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