Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Amazon Cracks Down on Snarky Reviews

Before Jennifer Granholm was announced as Secretary of Energy, I was perusing the comments of my now banner post at my big time blog gig over at Climate Scepticism. Ron Clutz made a comment about green energy scams and I replied with a comment abut how our former Michigan governor got scammed into going on stage and awarding a $9 million tax credit to a convicted fraudster named Richard Short. I'd remembered going through her book at the library and not finding anything about it so I wanted to mention it in my comment. I went to Amazon to see if the book had the index in the Look Inside part just to sort of double check. I was surprised to see the kindle version was only $1.99 (still a couple of orders of magnitude more than its worth) so I bought it with thoughts of writing a review. BTW after her new appointment it has gone up to $9.99.

So I wrote a short snarky review with the title, "Memoir Template for Joe Biden, AOC, Ed Markey, ...". I gave it three stars. It never occurred to me that they wouldn't publish it so I didn't save a copy. The email they sent me included most of it:
For all you green politicians -- here's a how to manual for how to make excuses for why your lofty green policies ended up being boondoggles. One clue is to not mention embarrassments like when Jennifer Granholm went on stage to award a $9 million tax credit to a...

It had some innocuous guidelines to keep in mind that didn't seem to apply and a link to their Community Guidelines. I could only find a couple of bullet points that could be construed as applying to my review:

  • Don't engage in name-calling or attack people based on whether you agree with them. 
  • You may question the beliefs and expertise of others as long as it is relevant and done in a respectful and non-threatening manner.

They were under a heading, "Respect Others". Do we really have to be respectful of ghost grist from politicians? Is satire allowed? Oh well, it's their rules. I would also like to note that once they reject a review from you on a specific product, you can't write another one on it.

 As far as satire goes, a number of years ago I wrote a post about a satirical review of Michael Mann's book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, disappearing. I later found part of it in the Wayback Machine and wrote a post about it. Later yet, I managed to find the whole thing in the Wayback Machine and wrote another post

For my next review, I wanted to pan Mark Jacobson's new Magnum Opus, 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything. I really wanted to get a review published so I was on my best behavior. I titled it, Textbook Example of Confirmation Bias and it was published almost instantly.


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