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Old 16th Aug 2005, 22:13   #1
Stewart
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Default Amazon Reviews: Harriet Klausner

It seems that she is the "#1 Reviewer" on Amazon having posted, at the time of writing, a total of 9608 reviews.

But would you buy a book on the recommendation of this woman? Every review is three paragraphs long and reads as if she has just copied the back of the book into the box provided and hit the 'Submit' button. The first two paragraphs are a summary of the plot with the third being that part of a blurb that tries to hint at the underlying message of the novel.

And, as far as I can tell, she gives every book a rating of four or five stars even though it seems to be absolute tripe she is reading; the sort of books you would simply pass by in any bookshop, including Amazon, unless your gran wrote it and you were just buying it to be nice.

The prolificity seems to have her reading and reviewing a number of books per day which means she's either retired, unemployed, or a completely fictional character. Either way, she's not a very good reviewer and has no critical eye for anything; I doubt she could comment on the smell of shit.

So, out of 9608 reviews, why have their been 60,239 instances where someone has found her reviews helpful?

You can browse samples of her "critical eye" from her reviews here. The content of these actually suggests to me that she hasn't actually read them.
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 7:32   #2
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Blixa, me ol' fruit - you are surely the Witchfinder General of crap authors/reviewers/fan sites/literary scams. But am baffled: what with chewing the cud on The Palimp and on those other amateur writer/book discussion messageboards you've alluded to - AND digging out all these unholy of unholies for our delectation, how on earth do you manage to fit anything else in? Doesn't your own writing suffer rather? Do your write at all or merely savage the efforts of your hapless targets? Do you eat? Or are your WFG activities not simply a pleasant diversion but a divine calling? :D
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 10:08   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneyPotts
Blixa, me ol' fruit - you are surely the Witchfinder General of crap authors/reviewers/fan sites/literary scams.
Damn! I wish I'd thought to use Matthew Hopkins as my other assumed name.

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how on earth do you manage to fit anything else in?
Secret: during the day I work with Crystal Reports. Running a report can sometimes take as long as 20 minutes to collate data. It all depends on their complexity. Each span between running reports is ample time to review the goings on of the internet.

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Does your own writing suffer rather? Do your write at all or merely savage the efforts of your hapless targets?
I don't know if my writing suffers - so yes, I do try writing - although I don't do it that often. I suppose I should leave the dross to their own means and get on with my own stuff.
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 10:13   #4
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I'm glad you've brought Harriet to our attention, Blixa. I thought, when I stumbled across her originally, that she was some pointless, opinionated shut-in ... but more likely than not "she" is an automatic procedure set up by a web geek to try and steal the Number One ranking kudos from the other web geeks who hold positions 2 through 10.
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 10:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amner
I'm glad you've brought Harriet to our attention, Blixa. I thought, when I stumbled across her originally, that she was some pointless, opinionated shut-in ... but more likely than not "she" is an automatic procedure set up by a web geek to try and steal the Number One ranking kudos from the other web geeks who hold positions 2 through 10.
She seems to be real enough, some old biddy that spends the day reading, as Garry Charles once said, "chick-lit crap or something quick sale" and casting nary an eye over the content but awarding it four of five stars in the process. D*n Br*wn even got a five star rating from this person.

According to someone on that hotbed of non-book talk, The Book Forum, they seen an interview with her and had the following to say about it:

Quote:
I read an interview about her after she started posting here. She was annoying the shit out of me and happened across it. So, I decided to see if the interview portrayed her to be as much of a tool as she comes off.

According to the interview, she's a housewife who does nothing all day but read. She flies through a good four to five romance novels (that's half of what she reviews) daily. The reason she reads a lot from certain publishers is that they send her the books for free in advance of the release dates. I think she's an advance reader for Double Day, Random House and a few others. It must be nice to sit around all day and read free books.
I notice that there's no reviews of Eco, Irving, Carey, and that she hasn't tackled the wonders that is Yates' Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. I might email her and suggest it's an Italian Harry Potter romp in the hope of a review.
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 11:16   #6
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It all rather devalues her as a serious reviewer, though I suppose she performs some sort of service for the publishers.

It's a pity it makes her Amazon's No 1 reviewer. Who's number 2?
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 11:34   #7
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Originally Posted by gil
It's a pity it makes her Amazon's No 1 reviewer. Who's number 2?
I don't think it's just the quantity that makes her #1 because the number of people who have found her reviews to be helpful is disgustingly high. Reading her Amazon profile I see that she claims to read two books a day (despite posting five new reviews overnight) by speed reading - a gift, she says, she has had since birth. Obviously, by that admission, she could tell you everything about a box of Rusks when limited to a momentary glance at it, and all before her 1st birthday.

Other than happening over a Top 10 reviewer and checking their profile I can't find a way to find out who is #2.
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 14:23   #8
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So are you going to take up the challenge of reading every one of her 9608 'reviews'?
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 14:26   #9
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Having read the first two, I retract that question - you'd go insane before reaching number 50. The two I read have no soul, no character, and give no real impression of what she personally found in them that made her give such high ratings.
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Old 17th Aug 2005, 14:41   #10
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I did find out who the top ten reviewers are though. The guy in #2 spot (Lawrance M. Bernabo) is just as bad as her, if not worse, because not only has he written a couple of hundred more reviews than #1 he isn't just reviewing books he wrote a four paragraph review of an action figure from Angel. He also rates everything with four or five stars.

#3 is Donald Mitchell, another person with a few thousand reviews to his name who is guilty of excess selection of the four and five star ratings.

#4 does the same while #5 reviews both books and perfumes.

#6 talks rubbish, too, although Sean Wright may be tempted to pick up Phoenix Tales: Stories of Death & Life by Gregory Bernard Banks for some tips as the reviewer uses the title Speculative fiction done well.

It isn't until the ninth top reviewer that I found someone who was capable of knowing numbers under 4 when they gave a two star rating to Mercury Rev's Yerself is Steam.
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