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Dealing with Bad Reviewers on Amazon

Dealing with bad reviewers on Amazon

Several people on the IAG-members group at yahoo described their experiences and feelings about a group of trolls, who wrote scathing abnormally negative reviews about their books on Amazon. Some of them obviously never read the book at all and in some cases, hid behind pseudo-names, fake personnas and did not reveal their true names and identities. The comments escalated into a full blown battle and flame war and the author being criticised research the identity of one of the commenters and found that they worked at a school district in California, and was using district equipment. When this was shared with the group their was concern expressed about an alleged “invasion of privacy”.

I am a former attorney and I do not see the author’s actions in a negative light at all. So I’m responding to the remarks that there has been an invasion of privacy that was inappropriate. I respectfully disagree.

If one is being harmed, whether it or outright physical harm or emotional or economic harm as the situation here, it is perfectly within the rights of the person experiencing the pain to know the identity of the person or person who is harming them.

Lying about, slandering the good works of another, defaming someone, and hiding one’s identity are all actions that create actionable legal liability. There are numerous cyber-bullying cases that have resulted in criminal and civil penalties and judgments against the wrongdoers.

A “silly flame war” can escalate to the point of actionable slander and defamation as soon as the lies and abuse go beyond reasonable opinion, turn personal, and have the clear intent and express ability to be economically physically and mentally harmful.

The law allows and even encourages people who believe they are being harmed to protect themselves, and it is appropriate to contact the individuals and identify where they work, what else they are doing, or seek out and contact their employer and share with other people or with authorities near or associated with them the nature of their conduct and the substance of their communications.

There is no invasion of privacy, because the law only protects people who act appropriately in society and typically where the law has declared people can have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Those rights, should they exists, are also explicitly waived in many cases by the voluntary participation or use of a site like Amazon, or the use of computers at work. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy here.

And yes, when you do confront people like this, there are also risks in doing so. They may yet react again or even escalate the battle in new ways.

The people who hide behind fake names remind me of the KKK Klansmen on horses in their white robes and hoods. The try to inflict pain and ride away unscathed. They must be uncovered, brought into the light, identified, and be made to face the consequences of their actions in society.

It is important remain vigilant and be prepared to take purpose-driven, affirmative, firm and well thought out, and decisive action in the face of evil. I admire the author for doing that and I support the actions he has taken.

In my view it is appropriate to investigate ISP contact information and employer information and reach out to inform people administratively.

I believe there are more steps that can yet be taken.

This behavior clearly is against the terms of use policies at Amazon, and it is certainly capable of having economic impacts on the individuals involved. So it would also be appropriate to share the entire set of communications with Amazon by way of a well-crafted, official letter of complaint to their CEO (still Mr. Jeff Bezos, yes?) and a copy to their lawyers. Sincerity and authenticity are supposed to be essential policies that Amazon abides by. Point out where these people go beyond the guidelines. Appeal to them with honor and present the entire train of communications and data, with all the offending passages and attacks highlighted for clear identification, and what else you have discovered about them. Stay on the moral high ground. Present the facts and carefully describe your proposed remedy. Ask for all posts by these individuals and their reviews be stricken from Amazon and that they be banned from posting.

One of my clients has also written on the subject of Amazon one star reviewers. Here is the link:

Robert D. Smith is the manager of Andy Andrews, and I’ve worked with both gentlemen for almost ten years and six books, three of which became NY Time best sellers. Andy last book was relevant to this discussion. The title of this book is How Do You Kill 11 Million People?

The books’ answer is based on the actions of a single individual, Adolf Hitler. The answer is that ‘you lie’.

The promulgation and the perpetuation of lies is what the trolls are doing to authors they focus their sights on.

As I said, we must remain vigilant and be prepared to take action in the face of evil.

Erykah Badu walking naked in the streets of Dallas video – publicity stunt, art, or just sad, shocking music video promo

Erykah Badu walking naked in the streets of Dallas video - publicity stunt, art, or just sad, shocking music video promo

Singer Erykah Badu has released an uncut video of her walking through the Dallas square where President John F. Kennedy shot disrobing one piece of clothing at a time right down to her bare naked skin all while she croons her latest song. The uncut video was shot in plain view and parents with children were visibly shocked and surprised while it happened. It was up on You Tube freely visible for the world to see for a while but now has been taken down do to apparent copyright violation issues.

Is this art? Is this permissible expression protected by the First Amendment?

Is it just a publicity stunt?

While it may be all the above, one really has to simply wonder if this is the image she really wants people to have of her.

Will she promote her image as a celebrity?

Will it sell more of her music and get her name out all across the country so she makes oodles of money?

Or is it simply rude, crude, tasteless and demeaning? Does her statement have absolutely no redeeming social, artistic or cultural value at all?

Here’s my spin on this:

Was this really done with real forethought and planning of the real consequences? Is it really a positive statement and does it really show confidence, freedom, and identify and spirit and all these positive traits?

She walks through a controversial location, sings and strips, and pretends she gets shot.

The video quality is OK, but is it art?

Or is it just an easy thing to do to do on a sunny day with a video cam and the Internet is so readily available as a vehicle for dissemination of information.

And it’s pretty clear that videos of pretty naked women undressing will go viral.

But did they really plan this out? They apparently didn’t notify anyone at the City of Dallas or get a permit for the filming. So it’s questionable this was done with much real planning and professional video or film making.

She may think she’s sharing her art, but she’s not making a very good impression on the neighbors. The impression she makes produces a negative visceral reaction that won’t promote her personal or professional brand. She didn’t go for a positive impression. She seems to be simply offending most people everywhere instead.

She’s not being polite or even mildly sensitive or sensible about her decision to do her thing at this location, or what sort of consequences she may have tomorrow and the next day. Does she really think this 15 seconds of transient national attention like this will propel her to fame and fortune? It’s sad. She’s demeaned and insulted so many people.

She doesn’t elevate herself and others as a person to look up to emulate. The impression given instead is that she has resigned herself and lowered herself in everyone’s eyes to a position of personal disgrace and uncaring insensitivity.

To me as a publicist, it’s simply bad publicity decision-making, bad promotion without thinking about the future. Artistically she shot herself, her image, and her profits in the foot. She’s made lots of people angry all over the world.

It is sad that this is what some otherwise talented and creative people resort to when trying to make a name for themselves and get our attention.