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    Thursday, October 24, 2002
    Constant Reader

    This week I found an article in the Tech section of the Wall Street Journal that I just had to share. Titled �Constant Reader,� it profiles a woman named Rebecca Johnson who has become one of the best-known book critics for Amazon.com. She reads, it appears, a dozen books a week, has written more than 1200 reviews for Amazon all told, and is the third most highly rated reviewer by Amazon users. She is not paid for doing this.

    I quote:

    The 35-year-old, who writes and reads from her home near Issaquah, Wash., doesn�t have a full-time paying job but occasionally makes some money doing Web research. Ms. Johnson estimates she spends three for four hours a day writing reviews. She�s been known to take a break from reviewing for a couple of weeks, but Ms. Johnson says she finds it hard to stop reading.

    Damn. Does this woman have an independent income? How the hell does she manage to exist doing nothing but read all day? And, most important, why can�t I have this job?

    Alas, there is a dark side to Amazon heaven. As per the Journal:

    Being a successful Amazon reviewer brings a kind of fame of its own � and the problems that come with such recognition. Ms. Johnson says reviewers will occasionally go on negative vote campaigns against their rivals to try and knock them down in the popularity rankings (she recalls one instance when her reviews received 10 negative votes in a single day). An Amazon spokesman says the company has systems for identifying customer �abuse of reviews.�

    I guess we all have our crosses to bear. Who knew that reviewing for Amazon could be such a rat race? Not to mention the fact that, if these Amazon flunkies feel impelled to go out and malign their fellow reviewers in order to move up on the ratings totem pole and validate their existences, in a job they're not getting paid for and that no one asked them to do, they�ve really got problems.

    To prove that this is a blog, I will link to Ms. Johnson's reviewer's page on Amazon here. Enjoy.

    ADDENDUM: Ms. Johnson's reviewer page at Amazon states that she is married and that she has a lot of time to read "because my husband plays golf a lot." Well, I suppose this IS a healthier outlet than getting it on with the pool guy...
    ...still, the pool guy might be more fun.



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