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RIP: Prolific Amazon Customer Reviewer Harriet Klausner (1952-2015) ( 92

Robotech_Master writes: Prolific Amazon customer reviewer Harriet Klausner passed away last week at the age of 67. Klausner was a controversial figure: She never gave anything a negative review, her review blurbs cast doubt on how closely she actually read what she reviewed, and received dozens of free books per week (which ended up resold on via her son's account). Nonetheless, for a time she was one of the most recognizable names to any frequent customer; it was rare to come across any popular title that didn't have a Klausner review. Not many reviewers have ever inspired snarky sites tracking their contributions.
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RIP: Prolific Amazon Customer Reviewer Harriet Klausner (1952-2015)

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  • 2015-1952=63 (Score:4, Informative)

    by mache ( 210555 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @02:36AM (#50792313)

    I am confused, doesn't 2015-1952=63 and not 67? Am I missing something here?

  • She pretty much exemplifies today's online reviewer culture.
    • Don't know what you review, give either only good or only bad reviews and hope for free stuff?

    • She pretty much exemplifies today's online reviewer culture.

      RESTAURANT: communicate negative experience, get free meal.
      AMAZON: give positive reviews on line, get free stuff.

      Sometimes they fight back. This guy was essentially a walking Internet ad agency posing as an independent reviewer when it suited him []. The online world is full of people who tap into existing social traditions (eg, independent restaurant reviews) and try to give them a 'new modern edge' with no clue that there are established rules of conduct, such as paying for your meal (or) acknowledging in th

      • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Saturday October 24, 2015 @10:15AM (#50792985) Homepage

        AMAZON: give positive reviews on line, get free stuff.

        You don't necessary have to give positive reviews. I've been among the top 1000 reviewers for a decade or so. Just due to my ranking, companies started offering me stuff, but they didn't seem to care (or even notice) that my few thousand reviews ranged liberally from one to five stars, and that if something was crap I wasn't afraid to call it crap. Indeed, even after I accepted free products in exchange for an honest review, I have found the bulk of these to be Chinese crap, at best merely satisfactory for their purpose, and usually horrible, and I've said so in my review. And yet, those same companies continue to offer me the next product they are trying to develop hype for.

        I am aware that a lot of reviewers who accept free stuff give invariably positive reviews to keep the goods flowing, but I really don't think that is necessary if your reviewer ranking is squarely in the top 1000. You'll continue to receive free stuff even if you are brutally honest.

        • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @11:19AM (#50793175) Homepage Journal

          That's because it's really not necessarily the quality but the NUMBER of reviews that are important at Amazon. The more reviews something gets, positive OR negative, the more it tends to get featured near the top of its category. So by giving something a one-star review, you do it nearly as much good as by giving it five.

          So says Chuck Wendig [], noting that all the one-star protest reviews of his new Star Wars book helped it become a bestseller.

      • Those people who believe that the "Free Market" will solve all problems and that government intervention (in this case in the form of health inspectors) is not required need to study this case.

        It is well known that for free markets to function, they require good information, but what this shows is that it is very easy for the information to become corrupted. How then do "free markets" function in the face of corrupt information? They don't.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't read reviews thinking about the reviewers by name specifically. I guess if you are interested in reviews of the content of a book, things may be different, in order to know if the reviewer shares your interests you may have to follow them and get to know them. Book reviews are not a review of the book, they are a review of the content of the book. Broke in 3 days, did not fit, it was the wrong color etc do not apply.

  • Kind intentions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EthanDemurs ( 3556635 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @02:54AM (#50792325)
    She stated in an interview [] that she did it for lesser known authors who lacked a publicity machine behind them; so that machine she became. Quite a noble thing to do in your spare time, which she, apparently, had quite a bit of.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      I would agree with you if there was reason to believe she actually read those books. But pumping out canned reviews on books she got for free and then resold doesn't sound all that altruistic.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I believe you're missing the point, because her reviews are, however, slashdot-worthy: she hacked publishers for (tax-free?) profit using a recursive algorithm. She identified a systemic weakness and repeatedly exploited it in the light of day for a very long time. She mined the richest veins of Amazon.

      • Her not reading them is a distinction without a difference. If we only believe that her goal was to shine some light on unpopular authors then her canned reviews and reselling of the books can be seen as some sort of moral commission. That's only if we believe that statement.
  • by Mister Transistor ( 259842 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @03:47AM (#50792383) Journal

    Man, I didn't think they'd go that far!

  • Reductio (Score:5, Funny)

    by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @07:22AM (#50792643) Homepage Journal
    I would write a comment, but it would be a review of a review of a reviewer. If this confuses you, perhaps you should review.
  • What's the expression? Ah, yes:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • Spam the Amazon book reviews with tons of reviews -> receive lots of free books as a result of that spamming -> sell the free books -> $$$
  • Well, frankly, no matter how repugnant the person was, publicly slamming an obscure person after they're dead and have no chance of defending themselves seems reasonably petty. Given how vehement Robotech_Master is on the subject, one has to wonder how she personally offended him (note: this is rhetorical, no one but RM cares).
  • Don't Hate the Playa. Hate the Game.
  • In other news, the related stories shown for this article are

    Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

    10 Confirmed Dead In Shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College

    Nice algorithms you have here...

  • Looking forward to the many eulogies to be delivered by strangers who did not actually attend her funeral.

  • and it was rejected. I don't know why. It was honest, objective, non-inflammatory. Just a boring review of how something broke in he first 3 months of lighter than typical usage (stopped working, no warranty).
    The reason given for the rejection was that it did not talk about the product directly. I said it worked fine until it stopped working and questioned the build quality. I stopped writing bad reviews after that, not that I've had another bad or defective product.
    I noticed on other sites many people ha
    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      Hm. Amazon certainly has plenty of negative reviews out there. Pretty weird that yours was flagged. I think I wrote one that wasn't just negative, but even included the phrase "this atrocity of a game" and they still let it through. Of all my reviews, it's the one voted most helpful, even. Maybe it got pulled in exchange for the replacement?

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.