When you're trying to pick the right product to buy on Amazon, official descriptions and personal taste factor in, sure, but the dealmaker — or dealbreaker — is often that review score, especially with books. The problem is, how do you know if they're legitimate or not? Well Amazon is trying to help you out with that by getting rid of the bogus ones, or at least the ones it thinks are bogus.
Amazon hasn't been particular public about the deletions, but the evidence is there in the shrinking number of reviews. According to a piece by the New York Times, the results are varying. Many of the eliminated reviews tend to be positive ones written by friends or family of the author, which are admittedly more likely to be biased, but aren't necessarily. Other reviews, like those by the suspiciously prolific (and approving) Harriet Klausner who averages seven book mostly positive reviews per day, remain largely untouched.
The battle against fake Amazon reviews is a tough one to fight, and there's no doubt it'll be never ending, but it comes down to one big question: is it better to let fakes through, or to give some real ones the axe? Whatever the answer, and whatever tack Amazon takes, you can bet the back and forth will be going on for a long time. [New York Times]