It has come to our attention that a group of authors have allegedly been 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.
Further, we believe that Amazon has tolerated, in direct contradiction to their stated guidelines and basic consumer protections (readers are not to post \"messages that abuse, denigrate or threaten others\"), harassment and threats leveled at readers who posted lower-star reviews and comments.
This practice has been ongoing for several years but recently became known to the online Romance community through the alleged actions of author DeborahAnne MacGillivray and her response to Amazon reviewer \"Reba Belle,\" who posted a three-star review of one of MacGillivray\'s books.
In response to Reba Belle\'s review, MacGillivray publicly lectured Reba Belle, privately acquired her address from another author, and, along with others in her group, proceeded to publicly threaten Reba Belle with knowledge of numerous personal details.
From Deborah Anne MacGillivray:
2c. Re: vote down this bitch please
Posted by: \"DeborahAnne MacGillivray\"
Date: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:17 pm ((PDT))
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.
Additionally, there have been numerous allegations that authors associated with MacGillivray have participated in similar behavior, as well as reports that they have used the \"not helpful\" and \"report abuse\" buttons on Amazon reviews and discussion forums to have objectionable reviews and comments automatically deleted upon receiving a certain number of votes indicating abuse. Numerous emails posted to author loops have been made available to support these allegations.
Although MacGillivray deleted her own comments on Amazon after this story broke, her comments have been saved by various individuals, in which she admits to acquiring Reba Belle\'s address for the purpose of investigating her private life details.
We will therefore ask that the Attorney General of the State of Washington perform due diligence in monitoring Amazon.com\'s business practices regarding reader reviews and customer safety by investigating this issue. We ask that at a minimum that the authors in question be banned from Amazon.
Reba Belle is now considered a member in bad standing, despite the fact that she was the one threatened and stalked. Every comment she has made on any book or forum has been summarily deleted by Amazon, with no explanation, and Deborah Anne MacGillivray\'s reviews and comments stand intact (except for those she has deleted herself).
This is not only grossly unfair but it is also a potential threat to every Amazon customer who purchases, reviews, or discusses books and products at Amazon. There have been other reports of \"gaming\" the Amazon system, and perhaps other cases of reader harassment. However, as Amazon is doing nothing to address this situation beyond censoring the person who has repeatedly complained to them of being harassed and having to have her reviews restored numerous times to the site, we appeal to you for justice for every Amazon customer. Who will be next
No customer should be subjected to this treatment, especially in an online environment that pays lip service to consumer protection and value.
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For further information, you can visit: http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2008/04/10/author-deborahanne-macgillivray-harasses-amazon-reader/ (more evidence emerges) http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2008/04/07/highland-press-warnings/ (where the practice as first outed) http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2008/04/13/amazons-review-system-needs-to-be-changed/ (an open letter to Amazon calling for change of its review system) http://karenknowsbest.com/p=1118 (where Deb MacGillivrey claims not to be a co publisher of Highland Press and evidence on the internet shows that this is not true)
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