Saturday, March 29, 2014

Amazon - The debate goes on....

Oh good grief this debate about anonymity on Amazon continues to distract authors/reviewers & readers alike.

On one side there is the claim that doing away with the Amazon pseudonyms so that ONLY those that use their real names will be able to post reviews will bring an end to the Bullys/Trolls.

Petition One

And on the other there is a counter petition to protect the right of individuals to post reviews under a pseudonym, protecting their real identity, to avoid said Bullys/Trolls.

Petition Two

My view on this is that petition One is just a huge publicity stunt that gives air time to Anne Rice as she prepares to launch her new book - You'll notice the press coverage she is getting, and the subtle references to her new book in every one! She should be thanking Todd Barselow for starting this convenient campaign that she is exploiting so well.

Make no mistake (as referred to in earlier posts) bullying does go on, it is an unfortunate fact, and it happens in all walks of life. And the internet has provided a perfect medium for cowards to hunt, stalk and bully individuals from the comfort of their own arm chair. But these people are going to do it anyway. 

A further point is that a lot of people that use the internet for their own pleasure want to use a pseudonym so that they DON'T get bullied. If their identity is compromised they just change their profile name and carry on. (the same can be said for the bullys)

Amazon have all of the registration details of the individuals, tied to a credit card, so they do know who is who - so why don't THEY take the initiative? (Oh dear, I can see another petition opening up).

I also note that some 'reviewers' (that are authors as well) use 'Pen Names' - in my view this is the same thing so wouldn't they also have to use ONLY their real names?

Me thinks someone hasn't thought this through! Unless of course, those Authors that are looking to do away with 'anonymity' consider their 'anonymity' to be an exception - after all, there are different levels of using unreal names?! Erm, no.And I'm pretty certain that IF Amazon were to ban Authors from using pseudonyms/pen names there would be a pretty big stink.

Let's be honest, it aint gonna happen.

I have a handful of reviews for Russian Redemption some with real names and some without. And yes reviews are (to me) important. But at the same time I have to be smart enough to realise that there are people out there that are just a little tapped in the head. 

I feel for those that have been bullied, or are being bullied, be that here on the internet or in real life, but from my logical point of view, any attempt to do away with pseudonyms is flawed at a very basic level. Some people won't post reviews if they have to use their real names, which means less reviews, which in turn will actually damage the very people that are trying to do away with anonymity.

The other thing that I really don't like about this whole anti reviewer mentality is that people seem to conveniently forget that Authors also review - and some do anonymously and VERY unscrupulously. Here is an example posted this morning on the Indie Author Group FB page:

"I just got a new 5 star review on one of my books and while I'm happy for a good review, the person promoted her pen name and books in the review. She stated they were better than the book and the love scenes are hotter. She does this on all the reviews she's left."

So, my advice, just after you have signed Petition two, conduct yourself professionally, if someone has a rant about your book the 'right to reply' is seldom the right way to go. AND if you find yourself on the end of a negative review - grin, thank the person for their time and move on!

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