Wednesday, July 28, 2004

WSJ.com - Amazon Prods Reviewers To Stop Hiding Behind Fake Names

WSJ.com - Amazon Prods Reviewers To Stop Hiding Behind Fake Names "After years of letting Internet users anonymously savage or salute everything from books to toasters in online reviews, Amazon.com Inc. is encouraging its customers to put their names where their opinions are.
Earlier this month, the Web retailer quietly launched a new system, dubbed Real Names, that encourages users to append to their product reviews the name that appears on the credit card they have registered with Amazon. A logo saying "Real Name" appears beside such customer comments.
Amazon still allows reviewers to sign their comments with pen names, effectively concealing their identity from other Amazon users. But even these reviewers need to supply a credit card or purchase history. Previously, users could easily open multiple Amazon accounts from which they could post multiple reviews of the same product. The new system is intended to block that practice.
The changes are an effort to bring greater integrity to the influential Amazon rating system, which has been open to abuse by users settling personal scores or heaping praise on their own works. The system has infuriated some authors whose works were panned in multiple reviews that the authors suspect were the work of the same person. Other users wonder whether books or other items that receive reams of kudos may have been praised by a small group of fans."
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