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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quality customer service

Making a list, checking it twice... and then we send in our report to Amazon requesting a formal investigation of the concerted, ongoing, three-year attempt to manipulate reviews of books published by Castalia House. You see, getting Mr. Kalsi's book back up repeatedly wasn't the only thing I discussed with Amazon, as they are now increasingly aware that there are serious shenanigans concerning policy-violating attacks on Castalia House and other publishers.

We understand that you may have manipulated product reviews.... Amazon tries to maintain customer trust and provide the best possible shopping experience. For this reason, Amazon investigates if it learns that sellers, vendors, or others have attempted to manipulate reviews. 

We've compiled a comprehensive list of well over 250 accounts dating back to 2014, many complete with names and addresses. For example, 23 of the 28 one-star reviews of SJWAL are fakes. 5 of the 5 one-star reviews of Cuckservative are fakes. 5 of the 9 one-star reviews of ATOB are fakes. 2 of the 5 one-star reviews of Somewhither are fakes. There are already 14 fake reviews of Corrosion.

And this doesn't even begin to get into the fake reviews on Goodreads, which Amazon owns. Anyhow, if you'd like to add your account to the list, please feel free to post a fake review on a Castalia House book today.

Interestingly enough, many of the recent fake reviewers are from Massachusetts. But we also have Urbana and Chicago, Arlington, and even London. And one from Ohio. Hmmmm.

This was amusing. From File 770:
rochrist on March 22, 2017 at 10:40 pm said:
I made the mistake of making a snarking comment in one of the fake reviews. The fellow immediately tracked me down in RL. He assures me though that it will be Vox himself I hear from. He is just a dutiful minion.
It's just good customer service to get in touch with unhappy customers. We would be severely derelict in our duties were we to fail to get in touch with unsatisfied customers. Castalia House is committed to customer service, and those who have had trouble downloading or reading our books can testify that we always attempt to resolve their problems in a timely manner. I certainly appreciate the efforts of the public to help Castalia continue to provide such excellent customer service.

UPDATE: Strange. One of our dedicated, albeit self-appointed, customer service representatives called a dissatisfied customer this morning. He seemed very upset to be receiving such excellent customer service, claimed he was not a customer, and insisted that he had neither purchased nor read the book despite having posted a Customer Review. Sadly, he hung up before the helpful service representative could ascertain the precise nature of his dissatisfaction with our product.

It seems he was not happy about being recorded for quality control, particularly when he was informed that he was living in a one-party consent state in which his permission was not required.

UPDATE: Despite the best efforts of SJWs to inhibit sales by frantically posting fake reviews, the Amazon rank continues to climb. It's like they've never heard of the Streisand Effect. Now it's up to 666. How very, indeed.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, the fake reviewers should probably pace themselves. Corrosion will be available on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and other platforms soon.

Labels: ,

150 Comments:

Blogger Yollo March 23, 2017 9:25 AM  

Why did you take Award Winning Cruelty Artist off your blog title thing? Although I assume it doesn't even need to be explicitly stated anymore.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 23, 2017 9:28 AM  

3D Bingo!

Anonymous Cleveland Screamer March 23, 2017 9:31 AM  

Short-sighted SJW's BTFO in the long run as usual.

Anonymous Looking Glass March 23, 2017 9:36 AM  

Smell that? Smells like Heresy.

/Purging Heretics Intensifies

Anonymous Stephen J. March 23, 2017 9:39 AM  

Out of curiosity, what exactly makes a fake review? And how can it be distinguished from a real one? Admittedly a rather spergilous question, but it might make for an interesting blog post on a slow day.

Blogger Silly But True March 23, 2017 9:39 AM  

"We've compiled a comprehensive list of well over 250 accounts dating back to 2014..."

The Toad's got to keep itself busy since it was fired from Tor.

Remember, sock-puppeted bloated internet troll was its career even before that.

Anonymous veryfunnyminion March 23, 2017 9:41 AM  

Sounds like Malwyn's dance card is booked for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous Nathan March 23, 2017 9:42 AM  

Looks like a bunch of new names suddenly want to play chicken with the Dark Lord.

Blogger Cato the Elder March 23, 2017 9:44 AM  

Hilarious news. I went over to Amazon to check out the one star reviews but ...... they've all gone.

Kek

(Cato down under)

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 9:44 AM  

Out of curiosity, what exactly makes a fake review?

I've addressed this before. It's simply a combination of different indicators. But the easiest one is when they haven't bought the book, it's not available elsewhere, and they talk about the author, not the book.

And about 10 percent of the time, they openly admit that they haven't read it.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 9:45 AM  

Out of curiosity, what exactly makes a fake review?

Amazon's Review Guidelines answer this question. https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730

"The Community is intended to provide helpful, relevant content to customers. Content you submit should be relevant and based on your own honest opinions and experience.
(...)
Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers should be about the product. Feedback about the seller, your shipment experience, or packaging can be shared at www.amazon.com/feedback or www.amazon.com/packaging. Comments about pricing, product availability or alternate ordering options are also not about the product and should not be shared in Customer Reviews or Questions and Answers."

A fake review is something that is not based on your honest opinions and experience with the content (exclusively the content, not cover or price) of the book. The most obvious case is when you in fact have NO experience with the content.

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable March 23, 2017 9:54 AM  

Why did you take Award Winning Cruelty Artist off your blog title thing?

A Supreme Dark Lord has no time for mere cruelty, skilled though he may be. When you drink your bedtime Ovaltine out of an SJW skull chalice, such pettiness is beneath your station.

To answer your question, though, the VFM have the cruelty more than covered these days. We learned from the best.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 23, 2017 9:57 AM  

While I applaud your efforts, I have very little reason to believe that Amazon will help you out in any manner. More than likely, they will sweep it under the rug.

Anonymous A Most Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents March 23, 2017 9:58 AM  

A fake review is something written by a fake reader, often about a fake book.

Blogger jaericho March 23, 2017 9:58 AM  

Filter reviews by Verified Purchase AND 1 Star: No results.

Filter reviews by All Reviewers AND 1 Star: reviews appear.

Hilarious.

Anonymous BBGKB March 23, 2017 10:00 AM  

But will there be any consequences with amazon being so converged?

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 10:02 AM  

But will there be any consequences with amazon being so converged?

Amazon is far less converged than the social media giants. They still actually try to make money, or at least increase market share.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 10:03 AM  

While I applaud your efforts, I have very little reason to believe that Amazon will help you out in any manner. More than likely, they will sweep it under the rug.

And that is why you lose. Someone like you would never have gotten the book restored the first time, let alone the fourth time.

By the time this is over, I'll probably be designing an anti-fraud system for them.

Anonymous Man of the Atom March 23, 2017 10:13 AM  

Most of the fake reviews from the Fake Reviewers seem to be very feminine in their snarking and belittling (women and gammas no doubt). It's like watching a goat repeatedly butt a steel post. Guaranteed that it will walk away thinking it's won a great victory, and the head pain is all worth it!

Anonymous DaveInjustice March 23, 2017 10:15 AM  

"Interestingly enough, many of the recent fake reviewers are from Massachusetts."


Marshfield, by chance?

Anonymous basementhomebrewer March 23, 2017 10:18 AM  

I think I can hear it coming, that silent gasp between mockery and laughter and screams of terror. The SJWs of SF-F know not what approaches.

Blogger Knight Of the Realm March 23, 2017 10:22 AM  

The update from file 770 is awesome!

Anonymous sundogge March 23, 2017 10:22 AM  

And yet, can you prove that many of positive reviews for Corrosion aren't fake, as many of reviewers don't own the book on Amazon.
This sword cuts both ways, and it might hurt you more than it might hurt Tor.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer March 23, 2017 10:24 AM  

sundogge wrote:And yet, can you prove that many of positive reviews for Corrosion aren't fake, as many of reviewers don't own the book on Amazon.

This sword cuts both ways, and it might hurt you more than it might hurt Tor.


Troll that you likely are I will point out a bit of logic to you. Vox has records of advance copies he sent out as well as who purchased directly from CH. He can support the positive reviews with evidence.

Blogger KSC March 23, 2017 10:25 AM  

The comments over at File 770 are something to behold. Law 3 in action.

Anonymous sundogge March 23, 2017 10:27 AM  

basementhomebrewer wrote:He can support the positive reviews with evidence.

I do hope that he can, as he is putting himself in the situation where he will have to.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 23, 2017 10:30 AM  

They take up collections.

We collect scalps.

The only problem I'm having is distinguishing between the whines of the enemy being driven before us and the lamentations of their women.

Damn gender fluids.

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky March 23, 2017 10:31 AM  

I applaud the outstanding commitment to customer service! You just don't see enough of this anymore. How nice of Vox to track down those who express such dissatisfaction. I'm quite sure those unfortunates are taken aback, too! A delightful surprise for all!

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 10:32 AM  

And yet, can you prove that many of positive reviews for Corrosion aren't fake, as many of reviewers don't own the book on Amazon.

Certainly. We have all the emails and contact details of the 449 customers who bought the book from the Castalia House bookstore, as well as the 15 reviewers to whom we sent the book.

This sword cuts both ways, and it might hurt you more than it might hurt Tor.

It really doesn't. Because SJWs are far more inclined to post fake reviews than normal people. And it won't hurt either us or Tor. The only people who will be affected are those who post fake reviews if/when Amazon gets serious about stopping them.

And we would fully support the banning of non-verified reviews even though we sell plenty of books from our own store. I expect Amazon will eventually move that way, beginning by only publishing the star average of all the verified reviews.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 23, 2017 10:33 AM  

VD wrote:While I applaud your efforts, I have very little reason to believe that Amazon will help you out in any manner. More than likely, they will sweep it under the rug.

And that is why you lose. Someone like you would never have gotten the book restored the first time, let alone the fourth time.

By the time this is over, I'll probably be designing an anti-fraud system for them.


Oh, make no mistake, I'm not saying you shouldn't do this. Hell, I'd want to go full Soros on these people and have protestors outside their homes and businesses.

But I am trying to say that I don't expect Amazon to be of much help. It's just cautious optimism really.

But even if they end up doing nothing or, worst case, banning all publications from Castalia House, I know you'll come out on top.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 10:33 AM  

I do hope that he can, as he is putting himself in the situation where he will have to.

No, you don't. You're lying. And no, I'm not. Other people's fake reviews are not my responsibility. I don't ever write fake reviews and I never have.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 10:36 AM  

I am trying to say that I don't expect Amazon to be of much help. It's just cautious optimism really.

Do you not understand that your attitude is negative and demoralizing to others? You, and many others on the Right, need to get out of the habit of preaching doom so that you can feel some degree of comfort when things don't go the way you hope. It is, quite literally, a loser's mentality.

Even SJWs understand to preach doom to the enemy, not to their own side.

Anonymous Satan's Hamster March 23, 2017 10:40 AM  

"But I am trying to say that I don't expect Amazon to be of much help. It's just cautious optimism really."

If Amazon wants to remain a viable company, they have to eliminate, or at least control, their SJW problem. They currently own most of the ebook market, and the last thing the people at the top want is to drive readers elsewhere by letting low-level SJWs prevent them from buying the books they want to buy.

And fake reviews, by SJWs and others, have been a problem for years that's only grown over time. Like Vox, I expect them to only allow reviews from verified purchasers before long.

The interesting part is that the Tor book has over 20% one-star reviews at the moment, and they mostly look real. I wonder whether the big bosses above Tor think that ten-year Scalzi contract was such a good deal today.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer March 23, 2017 10:41 AM  

I do hope that he can, as he is putting himself in the situation where he will have to.

So you are saying that you concerned for Vox? Do, tell us more.

Anonymous Faceless March 23, 2017 10:42 AM  

I remember Bob Parson's rules for entrepreneurs, and especially the rule, "Don't let anybody push you around."

It's easier to pillow your head at the end of the day knowing you stood up for yourself.

Blogger horsewithnonick March 23, 2017 10:43 AM  

Counter-convergence?

Blogger Jon D. March 23, 2017 10:47 AM  

Keep fightin'

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 23, 2017 10:51 AM  

Satan's Hamster wrote:"But I am trying to say that I don't expect Amazon to be of much help. It's just cautious optimism really."

If Amazon wants to remain a viable company, they have to eliminate, or at least control, their SJW problem. They currently own most of the ebook market, and the last thing the people at the top want is to drive readers elsewhere by letting low-level SJWs prevent them from buying the books they want to buy.


I agree. What Vox does here will let us know just how converged they really are in this department.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker March 23, 2017 10:53 AM  

This episode is guerilla marketing at its finest. Looking forward to reading more about it in SJWADD.

Blogger Ez March 23, 2017 10:56 AM  

Lol, I love the VFM more than I probably ought for a group of people whose identities I don't know.

Bought the book, reading it now. Review forthcoming.

Blogger Student in Blue March 23, 2017 10:58 AM  

I agree. What Vox does here will let us know just how converged they really are in this department.

...which is why it's important to fight it either way. Thus, ruminating publically over whether they'll be of help has zero benefit, as we'd benefit either way.

Instead, just fight.

Anonymous tulayev March 23, 2017 11:01 AM  

Uh, there is also this thing called book piracy... You cannot prove that unverified reviewers haven't read the book, when e-book releases are concerned.
As for th latest Castalia title, many reviewers don't even claim that they have read it. Their 1-star reviews are promoted by the allegations of plagiarism, and are a way to warn others like them from buying it. Jury is still out on the validity of those allegations, but in their mind they are not doing anything wrong.

Blogger Out of Nod March 23, 2017 11:07 AM  

Machine learning is all the rage in the software industry! This would be a useful application, especially for Amazon

Blogger Sean March 23, 2017 11:08 AM  

Every time I don't think I can't be any more awed by how Vox is 10 steps ahead of his enemies, he goes and posts something like this. Unbelievably awesome.

The Cucks and Dems should thank their lucky stars Vox chose music/game design/writing over politics. We would be discussing God Emperor Vox right about now would be my guess.

Blogger Student in Blue March 23, 2017 11:10 AM  

@42 tulayev
but in their mind they are not doing anything wrong.

So do most murderers.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 11:11 AM  

Uh, there is also this thing called book piracy... You cannot prove that unverified reviewers haven't read the book, when e-book releases are concerned.

Sure you can, when your representatives contact them and they inform you that they did not read the book. It takes a little more work, to be sure, but we have sufficient representatives and our commitment to customer satisfaction is complete.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 11:11 AM  

This episode is guerilla marketing at its finest.

Coincidence, I'm sure.

Anonymous Stickwick March 23, 2017 11:14 AM  

Strange. One of our customer service representatives called a dissatisfied customer this morning. I am informed that he seemed very upset to be receiving such excellent customer service, claimed that he was not a customer, and that he had neither purchased nor read the book beyond looking at the preview. Sadly, I am informed that he hung up before our service representative could ascertain the precise nature of his dissatisfaction with our product.

There's no pleasing some people.

I wonder if there will come a time when SJWs regret having taken their actions so far now that the Right is fighting back, or if they'll double down right until the bitter end.

Blogger slarrow March 23, 2017 11:19 AM  

UPDATE: Strange. One of our customer service representatives called a dissatisfied customer this morning. He seemed very upset to be receiving such excellent customer service, claimed that he was not a customer, and that he had neither purchased nor read the book beyond looking at the preview. Sadly, he hung up before our service representative could ascertain the precise nature of his dissatisfaction with our product.

So that's what it looks like when Tom Stranger goes trolling....

Blogger tuberman March 23, 2017 11:23 AM  

So I purchased "The Corroding Empire" this morning, and I am about 1/3 of the way through it. I will review soon.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 23, 2017 11:23 AM  

If only Amazon had contracted out the VFM years ago, customer service ratings would be all-world.

Anonymous Looking Glass March 23, 2017 11:23 AM  

I do love that Customer Service is run out of the Operations Department. It just streamlines the management so wonderfully.

Anonymous VFM #6306 March 23, 2017 11:25 AM  

Stickwick, xhe who cannot comprehend the error cannot very well regret it, now, can xhe?

Blogger Silly But True March 23, 2017 11:27 AM  

@VD:
Not any big problem by far. The purchase does not show up in my "Your Orders" initial page. No filter setting turns it up there.

I have to specifically do a search of my orders for it to turn up. And then it does for that search.

It's been available in my Kindle area after purchase no problem.

It just looks like some internal linkages were broken on the item and still remain broken.

Blogger Doug Cranmer March 23, 2017 11:34 AM  

The comments on io9 are ALL like this. One big echo chamber.

Blogger Gaiseric March 23, 2017 11:36 AM  

tulayev wrote:Uh, there is also this thing called book piracy... You cannot prove that unverified reviewers haven't read the book, when e-book releases are concerned.
On the contrary. They can't prove that they HAVE read it, since there is no record of their having purchased it. Book piracy is ILLEGAL. Are these Fake Reviewers openly and brazenly admitting that they have broken federal law, then? That would indeed be... interesting.

tulayev wrote:As for th latest Castalia title, many reviewers don't even claim that they have read it. Their 1-star reviews are promoted by the allegations of plagiarism, and are a way to warn others like them from buying it. Jury is still out on the validity of those allegations, but in their mind they are not doing anything wrong.
That's a stupid lie. There is no jury out on whether or not this is plagiarism. How could Johan Kalsi have plagiarized a work that wasn't available? Did he snatch it directly out of John Scalzi's brain with his mind powers?

The 1-star reviews are simply fake reviews. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anonymous Faceless March 23, 2017 11:42 AM  

@56

Corrosion doesn't start with a bizarre role-reversal rape scene or the feckless internal dialogue of a girl refusing to do her obligations because she'd rather stare at her navel about her imposter syndrome. Therefore, it can't be plagiarism.

As far as I can tell, Corrosion is not an allegory for going through the change of menopause, either, which appears to be the big backdrop of Scalzi's book.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 23, 2017 11:42 AM  

Such sad times we live in when a publisher who proudly, stands behind his work and tries to offer excellent customer service is a strange and worrying thing the likes of which his customers have never seen before.

Anonymous HHS March 23, 2017 11:43 AM  

VD wrote:Sure you can, when your representatives contact them and they inform you that they did not read the book. It takes a little more work, to be sure, but we have sufficient representatives and our commitment to customer satisfaction is complete.

And I. MEAN. COMPLETE.

Blogger Duke Norfolk March 23, 2017 11:45 AM  

Stickwick wrote:I wonder if there will come a time when SJWs regret having taken their actions so far now that the Right is fighting back, or if they'll double down right until the bitter end.

Indeed. I think they will live to regret their actions, just as the dog who finally catches the car does.

Anonymous johan March 23, 2017 11:46 AM  

But guise, zou apparently "admitted" that this was a scam and a rip-off on this blog.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3GTP2BGYVTIE2/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B06XFQ24QC
Nevermind if you can't find it. He says so, so some of SF world's TRU NAWS site must have written about it so it is obviously true.

Anonymous Honest Saul's Amazon Review March 23, 2017 11:47 AM  

1 star
Oy Vey it was just an aweful book. The only good character was Meerfin Shistgurble who worked his way up from being a frog hunter to the gay leader of goblins with a yellow eyed goblover. I don't know why the body beautiful +sized orcess with blue hair got stuck with a puny male orc when so meny big strong alpha orcs are described.

Anonymous johan March 23, 2017 11:48 AM  

Also, just looked at the rest of that guy's reviews. He is quite... erm... dedicated fella.

Anonymous krymneth March 23, 2017 11:50 AM  

Stickwick wrote:I wonder if there will come a time when SJWs regret having taken their actions so far now that the Right is fighting back, or if they'll double down right until the bitter end.

At the risk of SPOILERS for SJWs Always Double Down... they will not stop doubling down. I wouldn't say "doubling down" is itself a fundamental part of their psychology, but it is a fairly direct secondary (as opposed to tertiary or beyond) effect of fundamental elements of their psychological makeup. Individuals might be able to learn to hold back their secondary instinct to double-down, but at scale the SJWs never will without having to change enough fundamental aspects of themselves to not be SJWs anymore.

It is both the greatest danger society is facing right now, because they care nothing for who pays for their doubling down or how much is paid, but is also the reason that even if they win, they are still doomed to lose. They are not capable of building a stable civilization or culture, not even internally.

(That is to say, their own internal infighting that we can already see is only a taste of what we'd see if they "won". The victim olympics have no terminal goal state, only a direction they travel without anything telling them to stop. In fact I consider the fact that leftism never has any terminal goal states but only directions to travel heedless of the impact to be one of the major fundamental issues with the whole philosophy/psychology/pathology. Even if they reached the Utopia they think they are striving for, they would arrive as humans too broken to notice they'd gotten there and would Press On the Revolution....)

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 23, 2017 11:52 AM  

When you start to look these reviews over you can't help but get the feeling a lot them are just smurfs accounts.

I mean how few of these idiots are there?

Anonymous tulayev March 23, 2017 11:52 AM  

Gaiseric wrote:Book piracy is ILLEGAL.

That it may be, but the point is that, in this day and age, not owning a book doesn't mean that you can't read it.
And if the review is written after reading this book, then said book review isn't fake.

Anonymous Faceless March 23, 2017 11:55 AM  

@66

So, to be clear, your position is: Let a thousand fake reviews through if necessary to avoid one potentially real review being counted as fake?

That term "Fake" really does incite fear. Perhaps you've got Wil Wheaton Syndrome?

Blogger Dane Prywatne March 23, 2017 11:55 AM  

Good for you .. Corrosion is a good book (through I am in the middle of it) and probably one of best creative sf I read in years - the only notable others that I find equal quality were The Bohr Maker and Altered Carbon.

Very good job - fuck SJW - they do not know what good literature is about.

Anonymous fop March 23, 2017 12:00 PM  

If the reviewer gives one star to a Castalia House book and Ivanka Trump's perfume, p=1 it's fake.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents March 23, 2017 12:00 PM  

@48 Stickwick
I wonder if there will come a time when SJWs regret having taken their actions so far now that the Right is fighting back,

Nah.

or if they'll double down right until the bitter end.

All but certain.

So how are you coming with Dhalgren? Gotten through the first chapter yet?

Anonymous trev006 March 23, 2017 12:01 PM  

As anti-theft solutions go, being hounded by a swarm of anonymous servants of evil under the aegis of law is pretty novel.

Forget Amazon, Dark Lord Consulting might source out work to Microsoft soon. Unless some things are just too terrible.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents March 23, 2017 12:07 PM  

@66 fake concern troll

Look, the fake book reviews by fake readers are faking up the information needed by authors and publishers. If you truly cared about fiction, especially science fiction, you'd be truly concerned about the situation.

Instead you are are all Concerned about the possibility that your fake reader friends fake reviews might be taken down. We know what you are, a troll faking concern.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 23, 2017 12:10 PM  

I still don't know why Amazon allowed reviews from people who haven't bought the product through their service to begin with.

At the very least, they need to have all the verified reviews be the default metric shown on the product page as well as used in its rankings.

Anonymous Crew March 23, 2017 12:11 PM  

I am reading the two books chapter by chapter, interleaving them. So far I have read the Prologue of both. There is an obvious quality difference already apparent.

It begins to look like The Collapsing Empire was written by the author's daughter.

Anonymous Stickwick March 23, 2017 12:24 PM  

Amusing comments at File 770:

Contrarius on March 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm said:
I hadn’t much intended to buy Scalzi’s book, but VD’s whining and machinations managed to goad me into it. (I got the audio version, being an audio addict.) And I’m sure I’m not the only one whose interest has been piqued.


I wasn't intending to waste my time and money with a clunker, but darnit if Vox didn't make me!

World Weary on March 23, 2017 at 8:09 am said:
What I don’t get about this situation is how it brings any benefit to the author. If people buy this book in error and return it, the author gets nothing and has the potential of developing anti-fans, the people who make sure never to buy any future work. Marketed honestly, the author might develop more fans. Doesn’t this stunt just hurt the author and book, especially since it isn’t actually a parody of Scalzi’s work?

I don’t understand how any author would be so desperate that they would agree to this. Any thoughts that shed light on this angle?


Yes, lament the poor Kalsi, whose career is over before it even began. But the Dark Lord cares not, for his evil purpose is singular, his lust for the skulls of his enemies insatiable. So evil is the Dark Lord that every time he sells a book, a Balrog gets its wings. If bringing his evil plans to fruition requires the gruesome sacrifice of the career of a virginal 6'3" ex-Finnish Marine, all the better.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 23, 2017 12:27 PM  

Student in Blue wrote:I agree. What Vox does here will let us know just how converged they really are in this department.

...which is why it's important to fight it either way. Thus, ruminating publically over whether they'll be of help has zero benefit, as we'd benefit either way.

Instead, just fight.


Never said that the fight shouldn't happen or that Vox or anyone else should give up.

I thought I was being realistic, but Vox set me straight on that point.

Blogger Shimshon March 23, 2017 12:27 PM  

@73 There is an argument for restricting reviews for ebooks and new books offered by Amazon to verified buyers. At the very least, Amazon should consider changing the default setting for displayed reviews and calculations based on reviews to be restricted to them.

However, out of print books is more complicated. I posted a few reviews myself of long-ago out of print books that were of serious benefit or enjoyment to me in times past.

Blogger Cail Corishev March 23, 2017 12:29 PM  

I wonder if there will come a time when SJWs regret having taken their actions so far now that the Right is fighting back

They'll certainly be unhappy with the results, but they'll never accept the cause and effect enough to regret their own actions that brought it upon them.

They'll be like a guy who drives his car roughly and never changes the fluids or maintains anything on it -- and then when it breaks down, rails against God and the car company for having done this to him.

Anonymous RabidRatel March 23, 2017 12:43 PM  

Duke Norfolk wrote:Indeed. I think they will live to regret their actions, just as the dog who finally catches the car does.

No skulls then? So disappointing.

Blogger James Dixon March 23, 2017 12:45 PM  

> On the contrary. They can't prove that they HAVE read it, since there is no record of their having purchased it.

Because absolutely no libraries have bought or been donated the book? That's a safe bet in this case, but not normally.

Anonymous kfg March 23, 2017 12:46 PM  

" . . . out of print books is more complicated."

And there are in print books decades to centuries old. I might wish to promote Fitzgerald's translations of Homer, or the Judge Dee mysteries, but I'm not going to buy new copies of books I've owned since before Amazon even existed just to do so.

Blogger James Dixon March 23, 2017 12:53 PM  

> (I got the audio version, being an audio addict.)

Secondary tanslation, I can't read, so I had to get the audio version.

> So how are you coming with Dhalgren?

Bad Paradigm. Bad, bad, bad. I told you last time there's no need to torture her. There was a book called something like "The Enfold Man" that would be closer to being appropriate, but a Google search doesn't turn it up, so I'm probably misremembering the title. It was awful, but not Dhalgren level awful.

Anonymous tulayev March 23, 2017 12:55 PM  

Rating of Corrosion dropped to 3.5 stars, and new 1-star reviews keep appearing...

Anonymous Iacobus March 23, 2017 12:56 PM  

Massachusetts. Figures. So many fucking retards here; it's no surprise how we got Elizabeth Warren as our senator.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 1:01 PM  

Rating of Corrosion dropped to 3.5 stars, and new 1-star reviews keep appearing...

And the sales keep climbing. Streisand Effect, my dear boy.

Blogger BassmanCO March 23, 2017 1:05 PM  

@66 tulayev, are you fully mentally retarded or only partially?

Anonymous kfg March 23, 2017 1:08 PM  

#9 in Galactic Empire.

Anonymous krymneth March 23, 2017 1:17 PM  

please, Br'er SJW, don't fling me into dat Streisand patch...

Anonymous Man of the Atom March 23, 2017 1:24 PM  

"Fake Reviewer" has become my go-to reporting tagline to Amazon for any of these 1-star non-Verified Purchase.

Blogger Ingot9455 March 23, 2017 1:24 PM  

@82 Do you mean David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself; with time travel and every type of 'self-love' you might possibly imagine?

Anonymous Man of the Atom March 23, 2017 1:26 PM  

Ingot9455 wrote:@82 Do you mean David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself; with time travel and every type of 'self-love' you might possibly imagine?

"Folded"?

Was an 'n' dropped and some letters transposed?

Blogger Gaiseric March 23, 2017 1:32 PM  

tulayev wrote:Gaiseric wrote:Book piracy is ILLEGAL.

That it may be, but the point is that, in this day and age, not owning a book doesn't mean that you can't read it.

And if the review is written after reading this book, then said book review isn't fake.

What does that have to do with anything at all? I said you can't PROVE that the book isn't fake, especially if it doesn't even reference any of the content of the book.

The world will go on if library readers or torrent downloaders don't get to write reviews at Amazon.

Blogger Wolfman at Large March 23, 2017 1:39 PM  

Well at least it's customer service with a smile (and a collapsible baton.)

This story just keeps getting more and more hilarious.

Blogger James Dixon March 23, 2017 1:55 PM  

> Do you mean David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself

No. The time frame is about right, but that doesn't match the book I'm thinking of. I'm pretty sure I threw it away though, so I can't check and find out what it was, which is just as well. It really was terrible, and I'd rather not be reminded beyond the faint memories I have.

Blogger haus frau March 23, 2017 1:55 PM  

My husband and I watched Passengers last night. It's an interesting concept about passengers who wake up 90 years too early on an intergalactic colonization mission and that the ship is severely malfunctioning. Unfortunately, the concept is horribly bogged down by a saccharin, teeny bopper romance and some seriously contrived drama all of which could have been done decently without ruining the sci-fi elements with better writing. Does Castalia have a book like similar to this movie? Husband is having surgery next week and we could both use some reading material. The Missionaries was incredible by the way.

Blogger D. G. D. Davidson March 23, 2017 2:03 PM  

This amuses me enough that I'll do my small part by checking in every once in a while to flag fake reviews. They're going up by the minute, and yes, they're obvious.

Blogger JaimeInTexas March 23, 2017 2:05 PM  

Amazon ought to pay VD for the service of saving Amazon from employees pursuing an agenda contrary to Amazon's.

Blogger Kallmunz March 23, 2017 2:11 PM  

In other news Scalzi's kindle book just collapsed to 5.90

Anonymous basementhomebrewer March 23, 2017 2:20 PM  

Kallmunz wrote:In other news Scalzi's kindle book just collapsed to 5.90

Not the kindle edition but yes for the paper back. Also interestingly enough they changed their cover art if you look at the paperback edition.

Blogger tweell March 23, 2017 2:33 PM  

And Corrosion makes the Instapundit buy list. Woot!

Anonymous Longtime Lurker March 23, 2017 2:34 PM  

@98: And the paperback cover still says, "New York Times Best Selling Series"!

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 23, 2017 2:41 PM  

The thing I really don't get about Scalzi is that he does in fact have fans.

But the only thing he wrote that was any good at all was Old Man's War. It wasn't that good, it certainly was no Starship Troopers or Ender's Game. He just isn't in that league.

Nothing else he's done has been as good (for values of good). So it's obvious that Old Man's War was a case of having had the luxury to polish an unsold story for three years.

He's not that good. So why does he have such rabid fans? They love the guy enough to endanger their careers but why do that for him?

When he's got three years to work on a book he's medium talent but when he's rushed he isn't even that good.

So why destroy yourself for John Scalzi?

What does he provide his fan?

In what way are they dependent on him?

And does their dependence upon him end, if he becomes a failed author?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 23, 2017 2:48 PM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:He's not that good. So why does he have such rabid fans? They love the guy enough to endanger their careers but why do that for him?
SJWs are not motivated by love, but by hatred. They don't love Scalsi, they hate us.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 2:52 PM  

So it's obvious that Old Man's War was a case of having had the luxury to polish an unsold story for three years.

It's worse than that. OMW was a case of slavishly imitating Heinlein; coloring by the numbers, as Scalzi put it. And he didn't even do as well at that as Rod Walker has, twice.

Blogger Happy LP9 March 23, 2017 2:57 PM  

Great documenting, Amazon will investigate this thoroughly and resolve this, they know what is taking place and they won't allow it.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 23, 2017 3:02 PM  

Hold up on the love of the Zon. They want to give me a free kindle book and the science fiction selection is by Heather Hansen, straight up romance shlock

Anonymous Broken Arrow March 23, 2017 3:03 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:Cataline Sergius wrote:He's not that good. So why does he have such rabid fans? They love the guy enough to endanger their careers but why do that for him?

SJWs are not motivated by love, but by hatred. They don't love Scalsi, they hate us.



Exactly. They are adding many more fake one star reviews to Corrosion than buying and adding five star verified reviews to Collapsing.

Blogger Happy LP9 March 23, 2017 3:04 PM  

103 I've tried reaching out to them, its all hatred, name calling and unreasonableness. I walked away, not worth it.

Anonymous Deplorable Winning March 23, 2017 3:14 PM  

UPDATE: Strange. One of our dedicated, albeit self-appointed, customer service representatives called a dissatisfied customer this morning. He seemed very upset to be receiving such excellent customer service, claimed he was not a customer, and insisted that he had neither purchased nor read the book despite having reviewed it...

It had to have been at least as much fun to write this whole post as it has been to read it.

VD wrote:Out of curiosity, what exactly makes a fake review?

I've addressed this before. It's simply a combination of different indicators...

And about 10 percent of the time, they openly admit that they haven't read it.


Was the Update- he had neither purchased nor read the book- posted BEFORE the VD comment? Inquiring scientists want to know.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 23, 2017 3:45 PM  

Less hatred then despair

Anonymous wheeeeeeee March 23, 2017 4:02 PM  

Scalzi was a kingmaker back in the day. People clawed and punched each other metaphorically to get a slot on his blog. He could determine whether a newbie sci-fi/fantasy writer got a story published in the right magazines that would put them on track to a book deal in a few years. This is what people truly believed, that Scalzi had "juice".

People tend to go one of two ways when the veil is lifted on such "gurus". They back off and pretend they never believed all that, or they double down to avoid the mental distress.

Anonymous Glosserick March 23, 2017 4:04 PM  

And the sales keep climbing.

Collapsing is still in the lead, handily. And at three times the price.

Collapsing Empire
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 218

Corroding Empire
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 683

Blogger JimR March 23, 2017 4:06 PM  

I am amused that someone actually went to the effort of writing a *different* parody of scalzi's 'work'. I present to you, The Prolapsing Empire: An on schedule story...

https://www.amazon.com/Prolapsing-Empire-Time-Story-ebook/dp/B06XRWY777

Anonymous I Am Irony, Man March 23, 2017 4:06 PM  

Contrarius on March 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm said:
"I hadn’t much intended to buy Scalzi’s book, but VD’s whining and machinations managed to goad me into it. (I got the audio version, being an audio addict.) And I’m sure I’m not the only one whose interest has been piqued."


I hadn’t much intended to buy Kalsi’s book, but the SJW’s whining and fake 1-star reviews managed to goad me into it. (I got the Kindle version, being that it was the only one available.) And I’m sure I’m not the only one whose interest has been piqued.


True story. With a YUGE backlog of reading material to wade through, I hadn't intended to get this one. But after I read those obviously fake reviews, it spurred me to do something. I might even get around to reading and reviewing it in a meaningful timeframe.

Gaiseric @56: "On the contrary. They can't prove that they HAVE read it, since there is no record of their having purchased it."

There's always the possibility of having purchased it under one account, and written the review under a different one so as to obscure their main identity.

Again, not necessarily the case with these clowns, but still feasible.

Blogger Migly March 23, 2017 4:14 PM  

Stickwick wrote -- "Yes, lament the poor Kalsi, whose career is over before it even began. But the Dark Lord cares not, for his evil purpose is singular, his lust for the skulls of his enemies insatiable."

Damn, anyone with prose chops like these ought to be under contract to Castalia House.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 4:17 PM  

Damn, anyone with prose chops like these ought to be under contract to Castalia House.

She is one of our authors.

Anonymous I Am Irony, Man March 23, 2017 4:23 PM  

Man of the Atom @89: ""Fake Reviewer" has become my go-to reporting tagline to Amazon for any of these 1-star non-Verified Purchase."

I use concise definitions that Amazon listed in their own Guidelines, as appropriate:

Violation of Community Guidelines: Name-calling

Violation of Community Guidelines: Respect Others

Violation of Community Guidelines: Libelous, defamatory

Violation of Anti-Manipulation Policy: Fake review


Almost every single one of them fit under one or more of these categories, giving the benefit of the doubt to those who claimed to have actually read at least a part of it.

Blogger Elocutioner March 23, 2017 4:29 PM  

So... Collapsing is the NYT Bestseller that's going to save Tor and it finally cracked the top 30 in Kindle/SFF? Well, that's almost as impressive as his lawn.

Blogger Elocutioner March 23, 2017 4:30 PM  

I nominate Stickwick for best one-liner of the day:

So evil is the Dark Lord that every time he sells a book, a Balrog gets its wings.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 4:32 PM  

I'm a little disappointed with the marketing of this book, which we delegated to the SJWs. It's a huge spike in our sales, yes, but it's nothing compared to the original Rabid Puppies spike. They got us advertising space from some neverheard io9? Last time they got us the Guardian and whatnot. Low energy. Sad!

Anonymous Just another commenter March 23, 2017 5:02 PM  

Odd in a cool sort of way. 30% of the reviews are one-star. But when you click on the link, it shows ZERO one star reviews. I'm guessing that means investigating, they are.

I suspect things will eventually settle down, but it might just mean they are collecting names/accounts for sock-puppets. Be a real bummer if some of those fans got locked out of writing reviews of any sort for anyone.

Anonymous Crew March 23, 2017 5:10 PM  

I see that one of the reviewers is being racist:

https://www.amazon.com/Corrosion-Corroding-Empire-Book-1-ebook/product-reviews/B06XFQ24QC/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_txt?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&sortBy=recent#R3KR0HHQ3PH37W

"Bait and switch... I was looking for Tor's latest release by Salzi... this is deceptive advertising worthy of a back ally Chinese factory."

Blogger Elocutioner March 23, 2017 5:13 PM  

Interesting. It appears that the audible version is a much better seller than the kindle version and there's no physical version in the top 100 for books\sf\sff. It is 1(audible), 5(kindle), and 48(hardcover) in Space Opera though. Any idea if the audible vastly outselling the others is normal or does it speak to that specific audience?

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:16 PM  

Remember that it's relative to other Audible books. You can't, without advanced knowledge of Amazon sales, determine how much the Audible version is selling compared to the Kindle version.

Blogger Elocutioner March 23, 2017 5:16 PM  

@121 None of them are verified purchases. You have to switch the filter to see all the trolls.

Blogger Elocutioner March 23, 2017 5:19 PM  

This is what I'm looking at -
https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Space-Operas/zgbs/books/271585011

I would assume that list is based only on units moved over a certain time, not factoring in format and price, but I don't know.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:23 PM  

If you refer to the fact that it chooses the Audible edition for the one price it shows, that's probably because it picks the relatively best selling edition to show. But since there are so much fewer Audible books out there than Kindle or hardcopy, it's easy to get a higher position there with fewer actual units sold than the other editions.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:25 PM  

Also, since this has become a battleground and you can get the book free of charge if this is your first Audible subscription, it's possible that many SJWs are doing that.

Anonymous Crew March 23, 2017 5:26 PM  

Wow, there seems to be an awful lot of Scalzi fans who cannot actually read, based on their reviews of The Corroding Empire.

They all complain they purchased The Corroding Empire mistaking it for The Collapsing Empire. Second graders can read better than that.

Anonymous Longtime Lurker March 23, 2017 5:33 PM  

@129: Anyone complaining they bought Collapsing Empire by mistake?

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:34 PM  

Nope. None of them have verified purchase. I've been reporting all of them as abuse with that argument.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:35 PM  

I mean, several are saying exactly that, and none of those who do have verified purchase.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:36 PM  

I can also see EXACTLY how many have gone through the refund process in my publisher view, heh heh heh...

Blogger Silly But True March 23, 2017 5:46 PM  

@Markku from "I'm a little disappointed..." to ...heh heh heh..."

#topkek

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 5:48 PM  

Disappointed in their marketing efforts. VFM always improve. SJWs seem to go lower energy.

However, I'm very satisfied with the material they are giving us to finally tackle the fake review problem. They are making dozens of claims that we can disprove with 100% certainty.

Anonymous I Am Irony, Man March 23, 2017 6:08 PM  

I just can't get over how many of the 1-star reviews say, "Don't buy this book, Scalzi's is better"; it just looks like this is a coordinated effort to manipulate the reviews so as to redirect potential buyers to a competing product.

This is a clear violation of the Anti-Manipulation Policy. That so many "reviewers" are pushing this alternative product so devoutly is....troublesome.

OpenID thetroll March 23, 2017 6:14 PM  

> It's just good customer service to get in touch with unhappy customers. We would be severely derelict in our duties were we to fail to get in touch with unsatisfied customers.

Ha-ha, very droll messieurs. But you really want to watch those ToS:

"Unsolicited email and phone communications with Amazon users, email and phone communications other than as necessary for order fulfillment and related customer service, and emails and phone calls related to marketing communications of any kind (including within otherwise permitted communications) are prohibited."

If Commandment The First of the Anti-SJW Combat Guide isn't "Never give them any opening to rule lawyer you", it damned well should be. So if you even _think_ you _might_ be able to be misrepresented as sailing close to the wind on that one, don't do it. At least, do not represent yourself as an authorized representative of Castalia.

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 6:21 PM  

The first we ever heard of it was the comment at File770. But the approach is amusing, because the culprits are phrasing it as related customer service to order fulfillment. Clearly these are professional trolls.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit March 23, 2017 6:31 PM  

sundogge wrote:I do hope that he can, as he is putting himself in the situation where he will have to.

Of course he can. Good god sundogge don't you get it yet? Only your side lies, cheats and steals about everything. It is why we oppose you.

Blogger Silly But True March 23, 2017 6:34 PM  

Castalia House Customer Service
To Whom It May Concern:

I recently purchased your novel entitled The Corroding Empire by top geneticist and 6'-3" ex-Finnish marine Johan Kalsi and must tell you its purchase has yielded the best entertainment $4.99 has given me all year long.

I especially appreciate all of the related added-value immersive entertainment you have coordinated directly with the sci fi community.

Sincerely,
A satisfied customer

Blogger Markku March 23, 2017 6:38 PM  

Maybe the SJWs will run with this "customer service" angle to some better site than io9. I mean, come on. Last time it was The Guardian. If this was the VFM, beatings would have to continue until morale improves.

Blogger VD March 23, 2017 6:53 PM  

Ha-ha, very droll messieurs. But you really want to watch those ToS:

The ToS specifically permits contact for customer service. So, apparently their defense is that they're not customers, even though they are pretending to be customers. Interesting line of attack.

Meanwhile, they're obviously violating the Review guidelines by discussing the company rather than the product.

The problem with their case, of course, is that we do our customer support through email, for the obvious reason that we are based in Europe. We're not responsible for however some 4chan trolls might happen to entertain themselves, and we're entitled to find it funny for the obvious reason that it is.

Anonymous Rainman March 23, 2017 7:03 PM  

Unfortunately, Massachusetts, where most of the dissatisfied customers live, is a 2 party state. Sad, as I imagine these recordings would be highly amusing

Anonymous kfg March 23, 2017 7:24 PM  

Funny how with so many people apparently buying The Corroding Empire by mistake, The Collapsing Empire doesn't appear anywhere on the "Customers who bought this also bought" list.

And vice versa.

Is a puzzlement.

Anonymous Avalanche March 23, 2017 7:42 PM  

@54 "Not any big problem by far. The purchase does not show up in my "Your Orders" initial page. No filter setting turns it up there."

It will never appear in your "My Orders" section; it will only appear in "My Digital Orders." I assume it's a different database, eh?

Blogger Skyler the Weird March 23, 2017 8:25 PM  

The Prolapsing Empire. Book One.

Koozarth Klaxonian carefully watched his sensor array as endless streams of information from the Temporal Fold Processors he had fired into the mammoth black hole were tabulated by by Xander the ship's hive mind. He sighed heavily as the data confirmed his fears: the wormhole known as Scalzi's Rectum was prolapsing......

Anonymous SciVo de Plorable March 23, 2017 11:44 PM  

krymneth wrote:Even if they reached the Utopia they think they are striving for, they would arrive as humans too broken to notice they'd gotten there and would Press On the Revolution....

That has arguably already happened at least twice: once when the demolition of traditional morality wasn't enough, so they got five black-robed tyrants to destroy democracy, federalism and written law to force intra-uterine baby-killing down everyone's throats; and then again when getting corporations to all enforce thought-policing wasn't enough, so they got five black-robed tyrants to destroy democracy, federalism and written law to force same-sex marriage licenses down everyone's throats.

And that pattern would no doubt continue. But they have rejected Pepe and incurred the wrath of Kek, and we have the spirit of Harambe to guide us. Victory is certain and the fight is fun.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit March 24, 2017 1:41 AM  

@66 tulayev

"Steal book. Write fake review. Do nothing wrong."
No wonder your type are so despised.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit March 24, 2017 1:48 AM  

Markku wrote:Last time they got us the Guardian and whatnot. Low energy. Sad!

But hasn't the Grudnian died in between? Last I heard they were e-begging on some dank corner of twitter.

Blogger Carl Burgeson March 24, 2017 2:27 AM  

And your representatives are fanatical in their pursuit of excellent customer service.

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