Monday, October 02, 2006

More Vote-Rigging at

By Nicholas Stix

See also: Banned at Amazon.

Had been in charge of the 2000 election, Al Gore would not only have emerged victorious, but with the sort of margins you typically see in communist dictatorships.

I just checked my reviewer vote totals for the first time in at least six months, and found that an Amazon apparatchik had once again – this wasn’t the first time – radically reduced them. If you go to Gilbert Highet’s The Art of Teaching, you’ll see only one positive vote tabulated for my June 27, 2003 review. But that’s not true.

I just dug up the file I saved of that set of my Amazon reviews on July 1, 2004. My June 27, 2003 review of The Art of Teaching had NINE positive votes (a perfect nine-for-nine).

How can I have eight fewer now than I had two years ago? That’s because Amazon staffers and/or supervisors have been rigging the vote totals since at least 2000, the first time they did it to me. Although some staffers were enamored of my reviews back then, and gave me a $50 gift certificate for a
book review, others apparently hated my politics and the fact that I was streaking up in the rankings.

While immediately posting the reviews of their favorites, such as Harriet Klausner, they would not post mine at all. And so I would keep resubmitting the same review – up to six times! When I would write to complain, some drone (I’d often hear from the same one) would lie to me, and say Amazon deals with every review as it comes in, without any favoritism. One time, I got a nice lady who admitted something wasn’t right with the suppression of a rave review I’d written of Sandra Stosky’s Losing Our Language. I never heard from her again. I hope her decency and honesty didn’t cost her her job.

Oh, yeah. Amazon’s apparatchiki would suppress glowing reviews of works whose politics they didn’t like, and at the same time, permit people whose politics they supported to post reviews that consisted of nothing but lies, attacking books they’d obviously never read.

Eventually, I started sending reviews directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ( think his e-mail was In 2000, after I don’t know how many resubmissions, someone finally posted my Stotsky review.

Ultimately, in October 2000, somebody exercised a veto, and the next thing you know, a supervisor ostracized a bunch of my reviews, placing them in a private section viewable only by Amazon staffers and myself. One month later, an Amazon supervisor purged all of the “private” reviews and their votes, pushing me down thousands of rankings.

When I complained, the supe lied, and said that I had quoted too much “outside” material in a review of Paul Johnson’s The Quest for God.

First of all, I didn’t quote ANY outside material; I quoted from the book at hand. And oddly enough, the (150-word) rule seemed to only apply to me. Other people quoted longer passages from books they were reviewing. And thirdly, even if the rule were true, it would have had no bearing on all of the other purged reviews of mine that didn’t quote at length (or at all, in most cases) from the books under consideration. Another review among the many purged, was my rave of Losing Our Language.

I stopped posting reviews at for a couple of years. Then I tried it again, from scratch, hoping I might not be noticed. Some of the reviews I posted were ones, like my “2003” review of Losing Our Language, that had been purged in November 2000.

But apparently, Amazon keeps some kind of watch list. And so, once I started climbing in the rankings, someone shut me down. My June 28, 2004 review of Lost Souls was posted under my name, but on a new reviewer page, so that I was back at zero votes, having lost the 400 or so votes I’d gotten on my previous reviewer pages, and having to start at scratch all over again. (As its censors well know, had Amazon never messed with me, I’d have continuously posted reviews since 2000, and would by now be a top 100 reviewer.)

When I wrote to amazon to complain, the apparatchik who responded lied through his teeth, insisting that I had submitted the new review from a different computer. I should be so lucky, as to have a new computer!

And so, I presently have three different Amazon reviewer pages with three different rankings.

So, if you’re ever at, and decide to check out a reviewer’s ranking, remember that the rankings are fictional, or what the law calls an exercise in “consumer fraud.”

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