Amazon Continues Tweaking Review Policies to Reduce Number Allowed

A month ago, Amazon banned providing free review items (except for books). It didn’t work the way they intended. Now the same unscrupulous merchandisers trying to artificially inflate their product ratings are still giving away product, but they’re “requesting” that “reviewers” don’t include a disclaimer or disclosure that they got the item for free (which violates FTC guidelines, although the people who are shilling for free goods probably don’t care). Anyway, yesterday afternoon, Amazon top reviewers got an email that […]

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Amazon Bans Providing Items for Review (Except Books)

The development of reviews on Amazon is a mini-history of the internet, in a way. At first, it allowed you to hear from people who’d already had experience with something you were interested in buying. Then it became a way to create memes (with goofy reviews of simple pens) or gang up on people whose ideas you disagreed with (as when people downvoted Raina Telgemeier’s Drama graphic novel just because it included happy teen gay characters). Soon, it became a […]

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TCM Charges for Fan Club

I missed this when it was announced as part of the TCM Film Festival back in April, but it’s another example of how to wring more revenue from your most devoted fans. TCM Backlot is the first official fan club for the classic movie cable channel, and it will cost you $87 a year to become a “charter member” for “unprecedented access”. That currently consists of eligibility to Vote on programming and help shape the network Go on the air […]

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Has a Comic Changed Your Behavior?

We’re supposed to drink a lot of water. I used to work on that by stocking my fridge with disposable water bottles, because it’s so easy to grab one. Then I read Maris Wicks’ Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean, which makes an excellent case for doing more to reuse and recycle. (Short version: our careless behavior causes climate change which is killing the coral reefs.) I stopped using those bottles and switched to a refillable plastic tumbler, […]

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Unethical Reviewers Pulled From Amazon

Amazon has a lot of people posting reviews at their site. Anyone can review anything they sell… although those who have purchased the item from Amazon get a “verified purchase” tag. Amazon uses these reviews, among many other factors, to determine search rankings. Vendors have figured that out, especially those vendors that sell easy-to-make items such as dietary supplements, cellphone cases, and various bits of offshore-manufactured small electronics (like charging cables and selfie sticks). They want lots of five-star reviews, […]

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Meditations on Dying Media

A few links I found to be thought-provoking reads: First up, how newspapers have cannibalized their own sales. Like magazines before them, single-copy sales have practically disappeared as publishers raise prices drastically in order to combat declining readership. But that’s a stupid idea, because you drive existing customers away and you prevent new ones from easily trying your product. Publishers have applied the same pricing theory to both home delivery and single-copy selling over the last four years or so: […]

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KC Talks Comics in 1981

Memories by KC Carlson Well, this is odd… What we have here is an interview that I did for a local Eau Clare, Wisconsin, television show called “Thirteen Interview” sometime around 1981. The interviewer is Geoff Welch, a old classmate of mine at the University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire, which I attended (and occasionally actually went to class) in the late 1970s. I could usually be found working for the UWEC Davies University Center as a film projectionist or […]

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