29 January 2018 – why I will no longer review on Amazon

Long time away from discophage.com. There are a number of material reasons to it, including that I (still) buy so many CDs that it seems to take endless time just to sort out and write down what comes in (especially when I receive parcels of 50 or 100…. yeah, that’s how sick I am…), and also that I’ve been busying myself with various discographies, but fundamentally I think it was a period of “reviewing fatigue”. Listening is easy, writing serious reviews is hard work, time-consuming!

But I’m reminded what a shitty place for reviewing Amazon.com has sadly become. I wanted to repost under its legitimate entry, corresponding to its barcode, a review that I had already posted some years ago of a CD (which is not important… Honegger on the label Praga) that was in fact listed under a distributor’s barcode. Very same review. And now I get notification that it can’t be posted, because it purportedly breaches guidelines. It doesn’t, of course. So I write to “Help” – only to discover that the direct link (which was not easy to find, but nonetheless existed) to “topic: customer reviews” is gone. Amazon doesn’t want you to write any more when you have an issue with your customer review. So I write anyway, using the “website feedback” category. OK, to my great surprise, they do respond: that the review contains “promotional content” and if I do it again, they’ll “remove my posting priviledges”!!! FUCK YOU! The review contains no “promotional content” whatsoever, no more than it did four years ago, and I defy you to show me what promotional content it contains. I don’t know if this is bot error or human mis-judgement, but it is crass incompetence. So I wrote back, and I’ll see what they answer.

But is it really worth the fight and time and energy wasted?

Also, limiting myself to my center of interest, classical music CDs, Amazon is increasingly becoming a horrendous bureaucratic mess. Frankly, the customer in search of a specific CD is more likely NOT not to get a good deal on Amazon, because so many of its entries are SO BADLY BOTCHED that they are impossible to find or entirely misleading when you do chance on them. In order to find the right CD at the right price, you need to know its barcode, and I’m sure that the immense majority of that very tiny minority that are purchasers of music CDs are not even aware of what a barcode is.

And this: And when I started posting my reviews on Amazon.com in 2006, reviewing on Amazon.com was a fun and friendly experience. No more. Year after year, change after change, they’ve made the reviewing experience a less friendly one, one increasingly fraught with hurdles and frustrations. Among the last straws, there has been this asinine new Profile which they implemented some years ago. Before that, you had something like 10 of your own reviews per page, and then went to page two for the next 10, etc. Now they had this oh so brilliant idea to have ALL your reviews on the same page. Yeah, fine, when you’ve posted 10 or 100 short reviews, no problem. But when you’ve posted 2,500 long ones? The page NEVER STOPS scrolling down with the next reviews popping up, and it takes, like, 10 fucking minutes of scrolling down (in fact I need to chronometer that precisely) to reach my first review from 2006! So this new Profile is useless to me and I avoid it like a venerian disease (and there are other issues with it as well, I’ll spare you the details). Fortunately, they provided a link to your reviews, with 10 displayed per page as on the old Profile, so I bookmarked that and could circumvent the hateful new profile. Well, as of December 2017 (probably before, but that’s when I realized of the change),  that’s gone too. So now I’m stuck with this hateful Profile.

And, of couse, as of October 2017, Amazon has closed its discussion fora. When it was launched in 1995 as an online bookseller, Amazon based its strength and development on creating a sense of comunity. The allegiance and fidelity to Amazon went way beyond just finding favorable prices, but was built on that sense of comunity.

Well, obviously, Amazon is not interested anymore. Bezos just wants our dollars. OK, I’ll keep buying from Amazon when I find cheapest offers, why not. But as for adding to the websites value through by reviews, FUCK YOU! If you don’t want them, why should I insist on imposing them on you?

So, it’ll take time, but I absolutely need now to be serious about importing my 2,500 Amazon reviews over here and, probably, suppressing them from there.

Okay I needed to vent.

And with all that, at the end of the day, I managed to tip-toe back into reviewing: Pierre Boulez: Domaines, by Michel Plasson and Ensemble Musique Vivante conducted by Diego Masson, Harmonia Mundi, reissued on DG’s Pierre Boulez complete works.

2 thoughts on “29 January 2018 – why I will no longer review on Amazon”

  1. I have just started an outside review blog, too: Mélomane. I will be posting all my new reviews there, and only gradually moving over my old reviews from Amazon without any particular rhyme or reason to the process.

    I stayed away from reviewing all winter, but after two decades I am so used to using reviews as a sort of listening diary that helps me work out my impressions of the music, that I no longer get the same pleasure from music-listening unless I know I can write a review. It’s a dangerous pastime.

    1. Hi Christopher, nice to be back in touch with you! I’m not even sure Amazon still sends notifications when new comments are made under the reviews, or nobody has left any comments under mine for a long time! They are certainly working hard at killing the sense of community that they had built over the years and that was, in my opinion, one of their greatest assets. Well… it’s Jeff’s call, and we vote with our feet.

      As I explain in my daily blog, I’ve had a period of “reviewing fatigue” – maybe buying too much, and daunted by the ever-growing pile of CDs to listen to, and also busy with dozens (and that’s several dozens) of ongoing discographies… But I’m transferring now all my Honegger reviews – and there are quite a lot of those – and hopefully that’ll rekindle the flame.

      I’ll be visiting your website! Cheers, disco

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