How much value do you place in crowd-sourced reviews of restaurants, services and products? The value in having the public at large—with all of its individual preferences and eccentricities—make seemingly objective decisions regarding the value of places and things is oftentimes questionable, especially when the ‘reviewer’ seems to be placing personal or subjective considerations at the forefront of their one-star rating.
The case at hand: Fox News contributor Megyn Kelly—who herself became a topic of this year’s election cycle when Donald Trump raised the issue of her menstrual cycle and how it affected her duties as a GOP debate moderator—released the book Settle For More last week. In the memoir, Kelly touches on everything from allegations of sexual harassment by Roger Ailes to her rise as a respected journalist, though as it turns out, mere hours after it saw release, Settle For More was inundated with one-star reviews on Amazon. So, what gives?
Trump gives. Er, his rabid supporters give, to be more accurate.
“It has the hallmarks of an orchestrated effort to discredit the book and our author Megyn Kelly,” says SVP and Director of Publicity for HarperCollins Tina Andreadis. “We have brought it to the attention of Amazon.”
Since the incident, it has been determined that many of the negative Amazon comments came through a Reddit forum called “The_Donald” (which, we should say, claims to have no official association with the president-elect). That forum told its users to trash Kelly’s book, with one post saying, “It would be a shame if her biased reporting was reflected in the customer reviews!”
It’s a tactic the forum has used before, namely with Hillary Clinton’s latest book, Stronger Together.
As of last Friday, Settle For More had nearly 400 ‘reader’ reviews, more than half of them one-star reviews. And that’s after Amazon went in and did some cleaning up of the book’s reviews. Slate reports that before Amazon’s first purge, more than 75% of reviews were one-star.
In addition to highlighting the rather petty tactics used by Trump supporters to derail opposing viewpoints, as the LA Times mentions, their actions underscore how “no platform—even an online retailer—is off-limits for a mobilized political force that wants to target a perceived opponent.”
Only time will tell whether this “political weaponization of Amazon blurbs” has a detrimental effect on Kelly’s book sales. Settle For More debuted atop Amazon’s bestseller lists in its Political Science, Commentary & Opinion and Journalists categories, and ranked number 14 overall on Amazon’s list of bestsellers.
Number one was Bernie Sanders’ latest book, Our Revolution.