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View Full Version : Have You Seen the Harriet Stalkers?



AnneMarble
03-14-2007, 05:03 AM
I'm not a fan of Harriet Klausner's reviews. They're vague, too positive, and often inaccurate. But I don't get the point of the peple who have started "stalking" her through the comments features on Amazon's reviews.

As an example, look at the comments on thie review here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/discussionboard/discussion.html/ref=cm_rdp_st_rd/104-5896701-5874336?ie=UTF8&ASIN=082177929X&store=yourstore&cdThread=Tx1736KAT3LNSW4&reviewID=R1GEWC4JYNS1B5&displayType=ReviewDetail). 21 comments last time I checked, many speculating about whether or not she's real and even speculating that the money-grubbing pulp publishers (you know, the ones who publish books people actually read ;)) are paying people in Indian and Hong Kong to write the reviews. The reviews were cute at first, but these are just getting obnoxious. Especially when they go from criticizing Harriet Klausner's reviews to carping on about how only mindless people read the drivel she reviews. Riiight. You know the people who write stuff like that are watching American Idol right now and pretending to read Dickens. ;)

There's a blog entry about it here (http://meljeanbrook.com/blog/archives/313). And a reader blog entry about it here (http://romancereadingmom.blogspot.com/2007/03/feeling-bad-for-harriet.html).

CheshireCat
03-16-2007, 05:46 AM
What I find fascinating is that this "stalking" is getting underway only now. Harriet has been a thorn in the sides of many writers for donkey's years, long before anybody was talking about outsourcing anything.

Most writers I know just wince when they see she has (inevitably) posted the first "review" of their book, usually a slight and inaccurate re-working of the cover copy with a few buzz words or phrases thrown in.

My thought was always that she was a speed-reader, missing a lot, and in recent years has been speed-reading cover copy or publisher info rather than the books. And since her ambition now seems to be to "review" more books than anybody else on earth, I figure she's got a few boilerplate "reviews" she just plugs a few individualized words and phrases into.

Still, I'm surprised, as I say, that she's being stalked and/or attacked now. I don't know what the ultimate aim would be, unless it's the hope that they can discredit "Harriet Klausner" as a reviewer and get Amazon and others to stop posting her stuff.

And good luck with that. :ROFL:

AnneMarble
03-16-2007, 06:02 AM
What I find fascinating is that this "stalking" is getting underway only now. Harriet has been a thorn in the sides of many writers for donkey's years, long before anybody was talking about outsourcing anything.

At the very least, I'd have expected it to start when Amazon first allowed comments on reviews, or even when they started those forums on each page.


Most writers I know just wince when they see she has (inevitably) posted the first "review" of their book, usually a slight and inaccurate re-working of the cover copy with a few buzz words or phrases thrown in.
I know of one author who kept trying to get the HK review of her book removed because of an inaccuracy that gave people the wrong impression. No dice. She complained that people who bought her book because of this review bought it thinking it was a paranormal romance rather than an historical romance, then often ended up posting negative reviews because they were disappointed. But still, the review stayed.

One thing that annoys me is that some readers will say that if Harriet likes it, it must suck. Well that's silly of course. She "reviews" a huge number of books and gets a lot of the hottest new books. Refusing to read a book because Harriet liked it is like refusing to eat at a nice Italian restaurant because your obnoxious nephew likes both pasta and Warheads candy.


Still, I'm surprised, as I say, that she's being stalked and/or attacked now. I don't know what the ultimate aim would be, unless it's the hope that they can discredit "Harriet Klausner" as a reviewer and get Amazon and others to stop posting her stuff.

And good luck with that. :ROFL:
Yeah, that'll be the day. :tongue

aruna
03-16-2007, 11:18 AM
I used to be a member of the Amazon Reviewers discussion forum, and she's a real thorn in their side.
These are poeple who write reviews as a hobby and try to get as many "Helpful" votes as possible, so as to advance in the reviewer ranking. Harriet has been number 1 reviewer for years and she is always a subject of discussion on that forum.

2 years ago amazon invited several of their main reviewers to a meeting in Seattle. They met the amazon staff, jeff bezos, and all. Harriet was not among the invitees.

BTW, there was even a Time article about her in this year's Person of the Year edition.
I would HATE to have Harriet review my books!!!!

AnneMarble
03-16-2007, 04:48 PM
BTW, there was even a Time article about her in this year's Person of the Year edition.
Yeah, what was up with that Time article? Did they even know her reputation?


I would HATE to have Harriet review my books!!!!
So would I. However, I know of some authors who love her reviews because they belonged to the "Say anything in a review as long as it's positive" camp. And some like her because they can get cover blurbs from her reviews.

What I really hate is seeing a new book that has cover blurbs from an Harriet Klausner review, yet no cover blurbs from some of the tougher on-line reviewers, even though they gave her great reviews. I'd trust a positive review from All About Romance, The Romance Reader, Mrs. Giggles, DearAuthor, SmartBitches, etc. more than a glowing one from HK. But some publishers seem to be reluctant to quote those sites because they're not considered important enough or something. And Harriet is?! :tongue

victoriastrauss
03-16-2007, 06:20 PM
I've been noticing for a long time that people go out of their way to give her reviews "not helpful" votes. The comments are a continuation of that, IMO. People have been stalking Harriet for years.

Getting Klausnered is like getting author blurbs on your cover. It's not that anyone pays attention to the blurbs; it's that they notice if there aren't any. (On the other hand, if the only review quote on a book is a Klausner, it's a pretty reliable signal that the book probably sucked.)

My last Klausner review was not any (well, not much) dumber than the review from Booklist, whose reviewer, I am absolutely positive, didn't bother to do more than skim.

- Victoria

Pagey's_Girl
03-17-2007, 01:50 AM
I clicked over to see if she'd found my very, very, very small press book, but nope. Guess Lovecraftian tales aren't her style. ;)

(Of course, while I was there, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a new Jimmy Page bio, but that's another story.)

Akuma
03-17-2007, 02:12 AM
I've seen Harriet the Spy. . .

aruna
03-17-2007, 09:39 AM
Over on the Reviewers board they all obsess a lot about helpful and not helpful votes. The votes are more important than the reviews, it seems, and the reviews more important than the books! They also complain about stalkers who give negative votes even to good reviews, out of spite - they ALL get such votes, not just Harriet, and then they complain to Amazon, and amazon removes the neg votes, etc etc etc. It's a real mini-world of intrigue and politics in that community.
Since leaving it I get the impression that nobody outside that world is even aware that there is a ranking system, and who is high on it, or even cares.

BiggerBoat
03-17-2007, 09:59 AM
This stuff is all news to me, and I've done most of my book purchases through Amazon nearly since the company started.

I occasionally skim reviews, but never really find them that helpful. Most are 5 stars are 1 star. I didn't realize there was this entire sub-community of Amazon reviewers, much less ones who are famous for being prolific.

weird.

aruna
03-17-2007, 10:21 AM
This stuff is all news to me, and I've done most of my book purchases through Amazon nearly since the company started.

I occasionally skim reviews, but never really find them that helpful. Most are 5 stars are 1 star. I didn't realize there was this entire sub-community of Amazon reviewers, much less ones who are famous for being prolific.

weird.

It's not about being prolific - it's about helpful votes. IE, if your review gets lots of helpful votes from readers, you go up in the ranking, if you get lots of negatives, you go down. Amazon has a secret formula by which it works out the ranking, eg more than 3 votes in a row don't count as that might be a friend voting for you. The reviewers have tried to work out amazon's system but never quite got it right,. They keep accurate count of positive and negative votes and freak out when they get, say, 10 negatives over a weekend, because it means someone evil is stalking them. All of this is dicussed with some passion on their board.

I just went over to Amazon and I see that the both the reviewer ranking and the reviewer forum are very hard to find. Both used to be easily visisble on the front page - now you actually have to go to a reviewer's review page to see both. I guess they were getting too much traffic on the forum, with lots of spammers. (Needless to say, lots of book authors looking for reviews!)

If you look for the badges beside a reviewer's name you might see Top 500 Reviewer or Top 10 reviewer. If you click through a few times you get to the reviewers page and there you get the links to the ranking and the forum.

Here's the reviewer ranking page (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/top-reviewers.html/ref=cm_aya_bb_tr/104-0446835-7936726)
And here's the forum. (http://forums.prosperotechnologies.com/am-custreview/start/)

At any given time, there is a discussion on Harret Klausner in that discussion board. At the moment there are THREE.

aruna
03-17-2007, 10:54 AM
Ah, I just read the "comments" feature for the first time. This is fairly new at amazon. I see what you mean! The Reviewer Board is a little more balanced than this. They are critical of her reviews, but not spiteful.

AnneMarble
03-17-2007, 06:31 PM
Over on the Reviewers board they all obsess a lot about helpful and not helpful votes. The votes are more important than the reviews, it seems, and the reviews more important than the books! They also complain about stalkers who give negative votes even to good reviews, out of spite - they ALL get such votes, not just Harriet, and then they complain to Amazon, and amazon removes the neg votes, etc etc etc. It's a real mini-world of intrigue and politics in that community.
I can understand getting frustrated about a not helpful vote. I once knew a small press author who openly admitted (on a large mailing list) to giving negative reviews a "not helpful" vote just because she thought negative reviews were mean. I've had lengthy reviews that clearly expressed my views get "not helpful" votes because it was three stars instead of four or five. Oh gasp. At the same time, I've had people give "not helpful" votes to my reviews of Glenn Gould CDs and videos, and I know it was probably because they didn't like the pianist. Then what do you care about the review? You've already made up your mind. Aargh.
:wag:


Since leaving it I get the impression that nobody outside that world is even aware that there is a ranking system, and who is high on it, or even cares.
That reminds me of the Late Night with Conan O'Brian show segment called Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage (http://www.nbc.com/Late_Night_with_Conan_O'Brien/videos/nbc_conan_032305_recliner_20060421_2255.shtml). :D