Uncategorized | July 30, 2004

A new report in the Guardian states that Amazon, the world’s largest online bookseller, is planning on stopping its practice of allowing anonymous book reviews. Due to the growing concern about abuse of its open door policy regarding book reviews, Amazon has introduced a new system, Real Names, which requires reviewers to provide their credit card details before posting a comment. The new rules say that reviewers will still be able to make comments using screen names but they will not be able to describe themselves as “a reader.” Ratings given by reviewers are posted along with ordering information about each product and are considered to be vital to sales. Award-winning authors such as Philip Pullman, Alain de Botton and James Delingpole have been some prominent critics of Amazon’s practice of posting anonymous reviews on the site. Amazon’s spokeswoman insisted that “the vast majority of people who come to our site to write reviews don’t have any particular axe to grind.” But she said the company believed reviews would be “stronger” if they had names attached. Amazon is hoping to stop tit-for-tat reviews by authors and publishers and also authors reviewing their own work, which happened with Jane Green’s Mr Maybe. The book was reviewed by “a reader from west London” who made glowing remarks. The reviewer was then uncovered to be Green herself.

“I doubted that Jane Green could pull it off once again, but thankfully my fears were unfounded. She manages to convey the dilemmas that so many of us go through at some point in our lives in terms far more honest and real than most other comparable authors.”