THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Monday, July 7, 2008

AMAZON: JUST ANOTHER WAY TO SAY "BIG BITCH" [Part 2 Of 3]

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After discovering that my Blog and all of my former Comments on the Amazon.com website had been deleted on April 28, I sent the following e-mail to those dirty dogs:

April 28, 2008

Dear Amazon:
I just now noticed that every place where I have ever written a comment to ANYONE about ANYTHING on your website is showing this message: [Deleted by Amazon 1 hour ago.] Why is this?

Just recently, someone posted a nasty, profane remark (using the "F" word) to me, and suddenly I discover that ALL OF MY COMMENTS EVER POSTED ON YOUR WEBSITE have been deleted. My guess is that this same person who posted a profane remark to me has "reported" me about something and you have taken action without a proper investigation (but this is only a guess on my part).

Would you PLEASE look into this situation and determine what has occurred? In the first place, if I ever did write an unacceptable comment somewhere (and I DO NOT BELIVE THIS IS A FACT), then in my opinion, the offending comment AND ONLY THE OFFENDING COMMENT should have been deleted! Why would you delete everything I have ever posted on your website (which represents hours and hours and hours of my time!) over the course of several years, if you have received a complaint about one particular comment? I find this more disturbing than you can imagine!

I would greatly appreciate it if you would look into this situation for me and explain to me what has happened here. (I believe that my comments should be restored.) I thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

Amazon replied on April 29, 2008. I have converted all of the names into initials in order to protect the privacy of the guilty as hell:

Greetings from Amazon.com.
I have reviewed your account and your status in regards to our Customer Discussion Forums.
Your posts were found to be abusive, obscene, spiteful. Our blog service, AmazonConnect, is available for authors or artists with items for sale on our website to connect to customer who are interested in their work.


Because of this, it was determined to remove your posting privileges from your account in accordance with our Conditions of Use.

We have also removed all of your posts. Please take a look at our guidelines for more information: …

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,
B.L.

After receiving this useless reply, I wrote again to Amazon, this time asking for supervisor review and requesting that I be shown examples of all of my supposedly “abusive, obscene, spiteful” comments. On April 30, I got this response:

Thank you for contacting us back to Amazon.com. My name is A.S.; I am a senior member of our Customer Discussions team, a significant part of my job consists of deciding if Customer Discussions adhere to our guidelines.

I regret that we have not been able to address your questions and concerns about Connect and your banning from posting to discussions to your satisfaction. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or information on these features.

As you have been informed of our decision, we will not be entertaining any further discussion concerning these issues.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. … Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,
A.S.

On May 2, 2008, I wrote to a new e-mail address I’d found for Amazon.com:

Dear Sir ~
I am writing to inform you of what I consider to be a serious injustice done to me by the Amazon company.

In a nutshell, here is what occurred: I have had an Amazon Blog since last September 3rd, which I used for posting brief, humorous essays. … It seems I should never have been offered an Amazon Blog in the first place. Nevertheless, one day I found the Blog on my Profile Page with an invitation from Amazon to post on it.

On about April 27th, someone anonymously posted a remark to me in the private “author’s eyes only” comment section of my Blog. The person wrote: “Fu*k you, by the way your Blog is uninteresting (because it is intellectually lazy).”

One or two days later, my Blog was entirely deleted by Amazon, along with every “comment” I have ever posted anywhere on your website over the past couple of years (i.e., in the comment sections of my own reviews, my friends’ reviews, and other customers’ reviews, as well as on discussion board threads). This represented a considerable investment of my time on your website, which was completely eradicated with the click of a button. It is obvious to me that this unnamed person who posted the profane comment on my Blog, reported my last Blog installment as being “inappropriate” and thus Amazon took this action against me.

Three phone calls to your customer service department and several e-mails to the Customer-Help department have only further aggravated me. I have repeatedly asked what in my Blog did Amazon consider to be inappropriate and why was every comment I ever posted anywhere on the website removed when the complaint was registered only against one particular installment of my Blog? If I did write something on my Blog that the company found objectionable, then I have no problem with the removal of the Blog (especially since I later discovered that I shouldn’t have been given one in the first place), but removing every non-objectionable, unreported comment I have ever posted at Amazon.com, I find to be unreasonable and unfair!

My numerous attempts to have Amazon’s actions explained to me have gone essentially ignored. The last e-mail I received from the Customer-Help department included this statement from A.S.: “As you have been informed of our decision, we will not be entertaining any further discussion concerning these issues.” If that was meant to satisfy me or promote a sense of customer goodwill, it failed badly. Not only did it ignore my very reasonable inquiry into this matter, but the tone forced me to conclude that Amazon does not much value me as a customer. I have spent plenty of money at Amazon over the last 4 or 5 years, but there are other retail websites that offer the same products whom I could choose to patronize instead. My request to speak on the phone with anyone from the department having jurisdiction over this issue has been rudely ignored.

Let me reiterate that I am not protesting Amazon’s removal of my Blog if something I posted there was indeed truly offensive (although nobody in your customer service departments has been willing to even tell me what was considered objectionable), but I strongly believe that the other comments that I have posted throughout the website over the years should be reposted, and I should be reinstated as a customer in good standing, with my posting privileges restored to me. After all, even our own criminal justice system has a “three strike” policy, and a person charged with misdeeds is not permanently put away until more than one infraction has been committed.

I thank you in advance for your consideration and your attention to this matter. If you wish to see how some other Amazon customers have reacted to this situation, please visit the music discussion thread that I initiated at Amazon and read what has been posted beginning on April 29th, the day after I “disappeared” from Amazon.com. The thread address is:
LINK.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

17 Days later, on May 19, 2008, I finally received a response from Amazon:

Dear Stephen T. McCarthy,
My name is P.A. of Amazon.com’s Customer Relations. J.B. received your e-mail and has asked me to reply on his behalf. I apologize for the delay in responding.

I have engaged our specialists in this area to review why your access has been denied in these forums. Due to the reason provided to me, that there were spiteful, obscene and abusive comments, I want to be sure that there is true justification for these actions.

I am going to request your patience for just a bit longer, however no longer than 1-2 business days. Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.'s office.

In the meantime, I regret any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused.

The removal of a customer's privileges is a very serious undertaking here at Amazon.com and one that is not entertained lightly. I cannot promise nor will I even vaguely suggest that your abilities will be reinstated, however they will and are being reviewed. …

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
P.A.

Despite a promise to get back to me within one or two business days, I heard nothing else from the company. So, On Friday, May 30th, I sent P.A. this follow-up:

Dear P.A. ~
On May 19th, I received an e-mail from you which said in part:

"Due to the reason provided to me, that there were spiteful, obscene and abusive comments, I want to be sure that there is true justification for these actions.

"I am going to request your patience for just a bit longer, however no longer than 1-2 business days. Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.'s office.

"The removal of a customer's privileges is a very serious undertaking here at Amazon.com and one that is not entertained lightly."

Seven full business days have now come and gone, and yet I have not heard anything further from you or any other Amazon.com representative.

Naturally, I assume that these old so-called “spiteful, obscene and abusive” comments that I was supposed to have posted on the Amazon website were never found, since I know that they never really did exist. And because you seemed to me to be very sincere in your e-mail of the 19th, I can only wonder why I have not heard anything further and why my old comments have not been reposted and my posting privileges restored to me.

Quite honestly, what actually occurred is that I was simply vicitmized by two Amazon employees in the “Community-Help” department who had a political axe to grind -- namely, B.L. and A.S. They evidently did not care for my political views and so when some anonymous customer -- after posting a profane remark to me on my Amazon Blog -- reported ME as having posted abusive comments, B.L. seized the opportunity to delete ALL of my previously posted comments and to cancel my posting privileges. When I protested this action, A.S. sent a rude e-mail to me, reinforcing B.’s decision, and conveniently ignoring my request to see specific examples of my supposedly “spiteful, obscene, and abusive” comments. It is obvious WHY specific examples of all of my highly improper comments have not been provided to me: they never existed. If I was truly guilty of posting comments that justified my being banned from Amazon, then about 80% to 90% of all Amazon customers are likewise guilty of this.

In fact, while engaged in discussion/debate with other customers, I never used the sort of language that others have directed toward me! At various times, other Amazon customers have posted comments to me calling me (among other things) “pathetic”, a “putz”, a “fascist pig”, and most recently, a “douche bag.” I NEVER responded to these people with similar slurs, always sure that I could get the best of them by relying solely on my humor and my wit.


When someone going by the name of “Justin” recently posted a remark on one of my reviews calling me a “douche bag”, for the first time ever, I clicked the “Report Abuse” button, only because Amazon had robbed me of my ability to post a reply to him. When several friends of mine also clicked “Report Abuse”, did Amazon delete Justin’s comment and ban him from the website? Did he suffer the same fate from Amazon’s B.L.’s and A.S.’s that I have suffered? No! Of course not! Amazon simply deleted ALL of the comments previously posted on that review, and thus “Justin” was free to go off and post more abusive comments elsewhere. Now here was someone who (unlike myself) truly DID deserve to be banned from the website.

For this reason, and many more, I no longer have any confidence in Amazon, nor any reason to believe that justice will be served here and that Amazon.com will do what is right by reposting all of my old comments where they belong. (As it stands now, a couple of years’ worth of comments have been replaced with the sentence, “Deleted by Amazon on April 28th.” This of course gives the impression to anyone who comes across them that Stephen T. McCarthy was indeed posting “spiteful, obscene, and abusive” comments all over the website. In other words, Amazon continues to malign my reputation by giving the false impression that I was guilty of posting countless foul comments in countless places at Amazon.com. This disturbs me as I value my reputation.)

As I said above, you seemed sincere when you wrote “Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.'s office”, so I suppose I still “hope” that the wrong that has been done to me by representatives of Amazon.com will yet be corrected by you.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

On Friday, June 6th, I received this from P.A. in response:

Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Thank you for your messages. I offer my apologies for the delay in responding and for not sending a message that it was taking longer than anticipated to obtain the information I've requested.

I have received several examples of posts that were determined to be outside of our guidelines. However, as I'm not an expert in the policies of our Communities group, I've requested clarification that should be provided to me by the end of business today.

At which time, I will send you a message regarding my findings. I realize that you've been very patient and it is most appreciated. As I mentioned before, I want to be very sure that the action taken was warranted and if any consideration will be taken.

Thank you again.

Regards,
P.A.

Although P.A. said that a determination should be made by the end of that business day, I heard nothing else again for 19 days, so I sent this on June 25, 2008:

Dear P.A. ~
On May 19th (five and a half weeks ago!!), I received an e-mail from you which said in part:

"I am going to request your patience for just a bit longer, however no longer than 1-2 business days. Once I've received a response and am satisfied with the explanation, I will respond to your inquiry on behalf of J.s office. ...

"The removal of a customer's privileges is a very serious undertaking here at Amazon.com and one that is not entertained lightly."

Two and a half weeks ago, you wrote to me again and added this:

"I have received several examples of posts that were determined to be outside of our guidelines. However, as I'm not an expert in the policies of our Communities group, I've requested clarification that should be provided to me by the end of business today."

Disappointedly Yours,

Stephen T. McCarthy

On June 27, 2008, P.A. wrote back:

Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Thank you for your message. I've had your discussion posts reviewed and I'm very sorry but we will be unable to reinstate your privileges.

The review of your posts indicated a number of entries which contained terminology that violated our guidelines around obscenities.

Further, the texts of these posts were often repeated, making the same point excessively. We found that many of the discussions were spiteful and abusive and unwelcome to other customers or participants. I'm very sorry, but this cannot be allowed in this forum.

I understand that you are upset, and I regret that it's taken so long to advise you of the outcome of your appeal. I do appreciate the patience you've shown. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.

Thank you for contacting Amazon.com.

Regards,
P.A.

My turn again, and this time I was going to give Amazon both barrels directly to the cheech nels. On June 30, 2008, I wrote this lengthy e-mail:

Dear P.A. ~
Thank you for writing. Let me assure you that I will not continue to dog you with e-mails; our correspondence is indeed winding down. But first, I need to get a few things off my chest, and then to request that you send me examples of my previous comments which Amazon finds so objectionable that forever banning me from the website seems warranted to you. This I believe I’m owed out of a sense of common courtesy, after having had all of my comments deleted two months ago and then having to wait six weeks for a representative to give my case a cursory hearing! Granted this will be a lengthy e-mail, but I feel that reading it fully and responding to it is the proper thing for you to do.

Before I answer your e-mail point by point, and ask several rhetorical questions, I want it understood that from the first day Amazon introduced a “Comments” section for reviews on your site, I said that it was the most boneheaded idea Amazon had ever come up with (and that’s a significant statement). Did no one at Amazon realize that inviting others to publicly “comment” on an individual’s review (particularly reviews related to politics or religion) was just opening a door for ad hominem attacks? Did the folks at Amazon really not foresee the disaster it has turned out to be? Or was it just an ingenious way to lure conservatives into debating issues and thus having a pretext to ban them from the website? (That last sentence may strike you as paranoid and over-the-top, but read on and you will soon see that it is based on personal experience and the experiences of other disgruntled former Amazon customers like myself.)

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[The review of your posts indicated a number of entries which contained terminology that violated our guidelines around obscenities.]

I do not know what you are referring to here, but if it is a few instances where I may have used a term like “bovine excrement” or written a cloaked word like perhaps “sh*t”, then let me point out that A) if the system permits the inputting of such words and posts them when submitted, a person naturally believes that these pseudo-obscenities are acceptable at the website, and B) when one can find these terms ubiquitously posted by others at the website, in reviews, comments, guides, and lists, naturally one further assumes that Amazon does not take issue with it. These are not real profanities, after all, and surely Amazon knows that they appear everywhere throughout the site. I could spend 15 minutes surfing Amazon.com and locate at least a dozen examples of this, and I’m sure you know this as well as I do, so I’m not going to beat this dead horse. If this is the sort of thing you are referring to, then why is Amazon selectively enforcing it against me, while ignoring it constantly in other places?
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[Further, the texts of these posts were often repeated, making the same point excessively. We found that many of the discussions were spiteful and abusive and unwelcome to other customers or participants. I'm very sorry, but this cannot be allowed in this forum.]

Oh? At Amazon.com, I happen to have acquired close to 3,000 “Helpful” votes and I am Amazon’s 1,270th highest rated reviewer, this despite the fact that I haven’t written a single review for your website in over a year –- on 2007, May 30th, I made a vow never to review for Amazon again (more on this to follow). A full two-thirds of all who have voted on the material I have written for Amazon have cast a “helpful” vote. Is this what you mean by my “unwelcome” comments at Amazon? If Amazon puts any stock at all in its own “Helpful” voting system, then your observations above do not seem to jibe with the reception I have received at your website from two-thirds of your customers.

Now I want to address your charge that I posted “spiteful and abusive” comments. My own personal policy as far as posting comments was concerned was this: With the exception of correcting falsehoods or misinformation regarding Senator Joseph McCarthy (this subject being of unique interest and knowledge for me), I posted ONLY positive comments on the reviews of others. The only exception to this was ONE TIME when I posted a contrary opinion on a gentleman’s review about universities (Book:“Brainwashed.”) I pointed out that my own experience, after 8 years of employment at a major university, differed from what he stated in his review. There was no nastiness associated with my comment, just a well-mannered difference of opinion, and he never even responded to my comment.

Otherwise, these so-called “spiteful and abusive” comments you are implying I made, were written in response to other customers who first personally attacked me. If some of my comments were abusive and spiteful (a charge I DO NOT accept!), then did you investigate what these comments were posted in response to?

Although I certainly admit to responding forcefully when other customers attacked me in one of my own reviews, or elsewhere accused me of misrepresenting the truth when it came to the actions of Senator McCarthy, I never stooped to the level of name-calling that they did.

EXAMPLES:

When M.J. called me a “putz” in one review, I did not resort to that kind of slur in response.

Immediately after calling me a “fascist pig” in one of his 2 posts to me on March 11, 2008, Mr. Beusch wrote this:

“You know, Stephen. Some of us actually have lives, jobs, friends, etc. and don't have loads of free time to engage in message board debates ad nauseum. Given that you subscribe to the bullying philosophy espoused by Joe McCarthy, it's no surprise to me that responding to those who rightfully scoff at your diatribes is all you have to do on a Saturday. I'm sure that you'll be back very soon posting some insulting response quoting some other right wing hack. My apologies if I don't respond as quickly -- I'll be out going skiing, going to parties, seeing friends, going on dates ... you know, stupid stuff like that. But keep the faith, Stephen -- if someone like George W. Bush can get elected President and get re-elected, there must be plenty of people who will buy into your brand of b.s. hook, line and sinker. So long, Mensa-jackass.”
LINK.

In response, I referred to Mr. Beusch as “Mr. Magoo” and I said that the lies he was spreading were “Beusch-it” –- hardly as nasty as his calling me a “fascist pig” and a “jackass”, yes? So why is it that the liberal Mr. Beusch still has his posting privileges intact, while the conservative Stephen T. McCarthy has been banned from Amazon?

On Sept. 19, 2007, Panopticon7 posted the following about me on one of my reviews:

“Such suffocating smarminess…little subliterate poseur, confusing what he reads for who he is…he should be pleased to know, though, that someone somewhere has conceded his existence, however useless that existence demonstrably is."

Well, isn’t that nice? Panopticon7 says my very existence is useless, and yet he is still free to post at Amazon while I am not. P.A., if you want to do some “genuine” investigating into this matter, why don’t you dig up the response I posted to this personal attack by Panopticon7 and then come back and tell me which of the two of us you really believe was being “spiteful and abusive.” Yes, look up my reply to this person and see if I lowered myself to his level. I DID NOT. I defended myself, but never approached his degree of nastiness!

And I can honestly say the very same about my response to R.G. when she posted this on one of my reviews:

“Ah, yes. The commenter recommends that impressionable highschoolers read the famous, over-the-top conspiracy rant that allowed drunkard and opportunistic liar Joe McCarthy to scare America into one of its most shameful periods ever. John Birch and Joseph Goebbels would be proud.To quote the wingnut crowd, Mr. McCarthy (hey, no relation to Tailgunner Joe, is there?) if you hate what this country has become, why don't you leave? I think perhaps Saudi Arabia--an absolute monarchy/theocracy, driven by a greedy ruling class--would be more to your taste. Except that they don't allow alcohol. Oh, well. By the way, your writing style is derivative, jingositic and tedious. You should stop patting yourself on the back.”

I see that R.G. is still allowed to post at Amazon, and I see the pattern here: Amazon uses flimsy excuses to silence conservatives while liberals are always given a long leash allowing them to attack their ideological enemies.

Can you tell me whether or not you have followed through on my complaint and determined the identity of the person who anonymously wrote “Fu*k you” to me on my last Blog installment and who undoubtedly initiated all of this trouble? I never once said anything like “Fu*k you” to another customer at Amazon, but this girl says it to me (I say girl only because if it was a he, it really wasn’t much of a man), then complains about my politically incorrect Blog, and Amazon uses this as an excuse to examine other comments I had posted (which had never been reported by anyone as inappropriate) and deletes everything I posted over two years. But have you gone through the old records, determined who the author of “Fu*k you” was and banned her/him from the website like you’ve done me? No, I thought not. There’s that pattern again, eh?




[I understand that you are upset, and I regret that it's taken so long to advise you of the outcome of your appeal. I do appreciate the patience you've shown. ]

I’m probably not quite as upset as you imagine. And why not? Two reasons: 1) In my 48 years, I’ve learned never to expect justice or lasting happiness in this world, and that’s because I know perfectly well who the dark ruler of “this world” is -- The Bible tells me so. 2) In the years I spent at Amazon.com I learned to always expect the worst from Amazon and I was rarely surprised. Now this may come as a surprise to you, but the cat has been out of the bag for a long time now and many of us conservatives have come to realize that Amazon.com has a very pronounced lean to the political Left. This can often be seen in the reviews they choose to feature (or “spotlight”) and in the way they come down on conservatives but overlook the same sort of “comment transgressions” when committed by liberals. There is a very sly yet obvious double standard at Amazon. Is this just me talking because Amazon has deleted all of my posts? Hardly! Let me share a few other opinions with you.

EXAMPLES:

One highly intelligent reviewer at Amazon has this to say on their Profile Page:

“Amazon.com is nothing but a tool of far left activism and political correctness. I review books here on obscure topics in the occult, theology, history, and metaphysics from a Christian (Roman Catholic) perspective. I also buy books from amazon.com because they are cheap and rare books are easy to find. However, this is merely a matter of convenience and should not be taken as an indication that I support the general principle of the thing.”

I did not provide this person’s name as I’m sure Amazon would waste no time in banning the individual from the website. But here’s something that my Amazon friend M.B. sent to me, and he granted me permission to quote him:

“Hope all is well. I keep expecting Amazon to restore your remarks, but that hope fades with time. I get some of the most insulting and profane people posting to my reviews, and yet Amazon does nothing. I don't get it. (Actually, I do get it; I just pretend not to.) Regards, MEB”

Another person posted this when he discovered that Amazon had deleted all of my comments from the website:

“I smell a big FAT establishment RAT. WHY TF are all these comments being deleted? Were they VULGAR or just too true for the police state cheerleaders to swallow? Amazon - What is your major malfunction? You guys commies too? Afraid of the real truth the court historians have been spinning from day one - now exposed as big fat LIARS? If this offends anyone, then - me thinks they doth protest too much - eh???”

An Amazon Friend of mine related this little story to me not long ago:

“For years now, I've been selling books and stuff via Amazon. In January, without warning they froze my account, claiming they had had "complaints" about me. Now, for years, every time there's been any problem, no matter how much it wasn't my fault, I gave refunds to any customer who griped. The customer who I think was behind this was some idiot who didn't bother to read the entire description of the item - Amazon.com's official description, that is - and was whining about it when the item turned out to be precisely what the description said it was. His complaint was too unreasonable, so I didn't give him a refund. I did some research online and discovered that Amazon does this routinely; for little or no reason - often for literally no reason at all - they pick some vendor at random and freeze their account. There's cases much worse than mine. Anyway, it made me so mad I decided not to patronize them anymore. I deleted most of my reviews and listmania lists, but there were a few I consider too important to delete.”

When it was reported to Amazon that an organized group of Liberals skewed the voting and submitted a bunch of false 1-Star reviews for the book “ORIGINAL INTENT” by David Barton, why did Amazon ignore the situation and leave it as it is? Click here and notice how all 3 of the “spotlighted” reviews are hugely popular 1-Star affairs, and read the many uninformative 1-Star reviews that were submitted in a relatively short period of time by people who had obviously never read the book:
LINK.

[*NOTE: Dear Blog Reader, see how many of the derogatory 1-Star reviews were posted in August of 2007 - many of them on the very same day! At that same time, there was a massive wave of votes recorded in which all of the positive reviews were heavily "dinged" while the derogatory 1-Star reviews received huge amounts of favorable votes. Amazon took no action!]

No sign of liberal shenanigans there, eh? And I know for a fact that this was reported to the Amazon Police long ago!

I mentioned in my fourth paragraph that on 2007, May 30, I took a vow never to review for Amazon again. In a very small nutshell, here’s what happened:

I had submitted a 1-Star review for a documentary film about Senator Joseph McCarthy in which I stated that the film had been edited in such a way as to portray the Senator in the worst possible light. Amazon refused to post this review, stating that it did not adhere to the reviewing guidelines. I rewrote the review … trying to meet the requirements that Amazon representatives insisted upon, but Amazon still refused to post it. I enquired further and was given reviewing advice from one of your representatives which was clearly impossible to follow and yet still “review” a product. In response, I wrote the following:

I recognize that for what it is: a very cleverly written policy worded in such a way that when Amazon chooses to apply it literally to whatever review the company doesn’t care for (for whatever reason) Amazon can justify removing or refusing to post the review in question. In truth, if every reviewer was always required to follow this policy to the letter, no "review" of a book or theatrical production would be possible. The "letter of your law" leaves room for a basic "synopsis" only, and excludes a reviewer from offering any sort of personal evaluation of an item's validity or worth. Of course, no product page needs more than a single summary, so Amazon applies this policy selectively, allowing reviewers to offer their individual opinions, but only when those opinions suit Amazon.

It had become obvious to me that Amazon was refusing to post my review because it was politically incorrect and because the 1-Star nature of it was not going to encourage customers to buy the documentary. So, as a little experiment, I next submitted a 5-Star review instead, and I still insisted that the documentary had been deliberately edited in such a way as to present the Senator in the worst possible light, only this time, I played this up as a GOOD thing by saying that the Senator was a terrible scoundrel who needed to be stopped. And Amazon posted this review less than 8 hours later! When a friend of mine saw this, she immediately changed her mind and decided that I had been correct all along when I had told her that Amazon had a liberal agenda (previously, she thought I was just being paranoid).

When I wrote to Amazon again and asked them to explain why my 5-Star review which said the same thing that my 1-Star review did (only with a liberal spin) was posted without a problem, instead of trying to explain this behavior, an Amazon representative named D. played dumb with me and then deleted one of my other unrelated Amazon reviews about Senator McCarthy just to make sure I got the message that if I continued to contest these actions by Amazon I was in jeopardy of having all of my older reviews likewise deleted. This is when I made the decision that I would never again write a review for Amazon and help the company sell its products!

[*NOTE: Dear Blog Reader, Part 3 (below) of this Blog installment is entirely dedicated to fully exploring the ignominious details of this Amazon misdeed I referred to above. So, if you want to see this subject totally exposed, be sure to read the last installment, Part 3 of 3 below.]

So you see, many of us have very sound reasons for being suspicious of Amazon.com. And when they went and deleted all of my old comments after some liberal wrote “Fu*k you” to me and then she/he officially complained about my last Blog installment, it only reconfirmed what I already knew about your company.

No company can afford to alienate a large portion of their customers and expect to survive long-term! I was not the first conservative to begin boycotting Amazon.com and I surely won’t be the last.

Furthermore, Amazon’s self-righteousness and presumption in lecturing me about proper behavior is a bit hard to take in view of Amazon’s own public scandal which far surpasses anything I might have ever said in response to some customer who attacked me in their comments.

Click here:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/amazon_change/?e
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[Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.]

Now this remark reminds me of the approach that A.S. took with me which prompted me to get serious about a letter writing campaign. Do you mean by this that you will not provide me with examples of my supposedly “abusive, obscene, and spiteful” comments which Amazon is basing my banned status on? Because if that IS what you mean, then that is something akin to what we might expect from a Soviet show trial where the accused is told that the state has evidence and witnesses against him but he will not be allowed to see the evidence nor face his accusers. But here in America (and at Amazon?!) we expect more fairness than that.

P.A., I would very much like to see the most egregious examples of my supposed wrongdoings! If you have comments I’ve written that you really believe justified my being banned from Amazon, I see no reason why you shouldn’t make them known to me. But if you will not, then you can hardly blame me for being very suspicious of the motives behind my privileges being revoked, can you? Would you not want to see the evidence if you were in my place?

It must be apparent to you that I am not the sort to march meekly to the gallows. Many friends have asked me why Amazon banned me and so far, I have left the ENTIRE story untold, but if justice is not served here, I intend to make this true story known in some public forum. But I will hold back for now and give you the benefit of the doubt, with the hope that you will take everything I have written here into consideration and reevaluate this outcome. Please let me hear from you again, and at the very least, please provide me with the evidence that Amazon is using to arrive at its conclusions. If you have not contacted me again within two weeks -- by say, the end of Monday, July 14th –- then I will just assume that you will not be in touch with me again.

In closing, I want to point out that even if I really did post comments that Amazon deemed inappropriate, banning me permanently from the website was not the only option they could have taken; there is no reason Amazon couldn’t have merely edited out the offensive material and replaced it with their famous […] (most of us reviewers have at one time or another had Amazon remove bits of text and replace it with the bracketed ellipses), and then Amazon could have sent me an e-mail warning me of the transgressions and informing me that they would have no other recourse but to ban me if I continued posting inappropriate comments. Amazon has my e-mail address, and one would think that an intelligently run business would not go immediately to the “death penalty” with a longtime customer who made many purchases and whose accumulated “helpful votes” and high ranking proves that he has guided many other customers to good products and helped Amazon to sell a large number of books, etc.


In other words, you give a valuable customer the benefit of the doubt, and you work with him or her in order to retain them as a customer and to build a mutually beneficial relationship. But Amazon’s decision to go directly to the most extreme form of discipline in my case is very telling to me. I believe that if I was more politically correct, I probably wouldn’t have received the harshest response Amazon has to offer for perceived misdeeds.

I do thank you for taking the time to read this very long response to your last e-mail.

Sincerely,

Stephen T. McCarthy

On July 1, 2008, I received this very insightful and satisfying final response from P.A. This note assured me that Amazon had conducted a thorough and fair investigation into this matter. I now realized that all of my prior suspicions about Amazon.com had been entirely unfounded. (And do you recognize extreme sarcasm when you read it?!) . . .

Dear Mr. McCarthy,
Thank you for your message. I'm sorry you're upset and I regret that deeply. However, as I stated in my previous message, I'm unable to offer further insight or engage in further discourse on this matter.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Regards,

P.A.

And that was that. Now you know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. But if you want more details on The Case Of The Liberal Review (as mentioned above) then be sure to read Part 3 below.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

[Continued Below...]

Link: Amazon: Just Another Way To Say "Big Bitch" - Part 3
.

6 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I just wanted to let you know that every year before Christmas, Amazon cuts us off without a good reason. We have a 100% rating.

    We originally cut off because when we had problems listing our inventory, Amazon helped us, but they listed our inventory twice. Customers started ordering the same thing twice and we had to give refunds. When I contacted Amazon they said they didn't want to hear about it! We had 40,000 books! So, Your not the only one.

    Amazon did not accept any responsibility for listing our inventory twice. Thank you so much for posting your comments. I feel better knowing that it's not just me! Hopefully other people will read your site. Thanks again, Lori

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  2. Hello, LORI ~
    Thanks for adding your voice to this Amazonian Aria of Aggravation.

    Yes, there are too many problems with Amazon.com for me to have even catalogued them all here. They range from the serious (the sly promotion of a political agenda) to the minor (countless errors in product information inputting).

    As an imagined example of the latter: someone might be looking to purchase a copy of the book "SURPRISED BY JOY: The Shape Of My Early Life" by C.S. Lewis, but if the person at Amazon input the title along with its subtitle, the product might not appear if the customer searched for the book strictly by its primary title.

    Also, sometimes the Amazon employee inputs a book title and includes the author's name in the title (e.g., "Surprised By Joy by C.S. Lewis"). This too can cause problems when a customer is attempting to determine whether or not Amazon carries the item. It seems they never set a standard format for inputting product info. (Also, they don't use Spellcheck or just natural brain power to double check info before inputting - I've seen countless titles misspelled at Amazon! The site is run by imbeciles.)

    I believe that part of Amazon's problems are a result of employees using the site to promote their own political (and possibly religious) viewpoints, but I also believe that there are a lot of illogical knuckleheads working there who are probably experiencing their first post-high school graduation employment. I encountered a lot of individual dumb decisions as well as systemic stupidity during the years I spent playing on that website.

    One time, I used the term "boob tube" in a review, and some nameless, faceless Amazon editor removed the first word from that term. This told me that the unknown editor was probably some illiterate kid recently graduated from our federal school system who had never heard the term before and thought I was saying something dirty. (He or she probably never entertained the idea that the television set might be a "boob tube", having grown up with the concept that a television set is a politically correct, life-sustaining, electronic master educator. Ahhh, to be young, mobile, and brain-dead, eh?!)

    Anyhow, since I no longer patronize Amazon in any way, I have found other websites that are reliable and where I can occasionally find products even less expensive than at the Amazon site. Very recently I found an old black and white movie on DVD that a friend wanted and it was being offered at MOVIE MARS for a total of .38 cents and free shipping. The lowest price for the same item at Amazon was three dollars and some change, plus shipping.

    I've used MOVIEMARS.COM a number of times and always had good luck with them. Some other sites I've used with good results are: WWW.ALIBRIS.COM; WWW.ABEBOOKS.COM; and WWW.OVERSTOCK.COM. That last one sells only new stuff and has a limited stock, but once or twice I have found a book I wanted there and selling for less than Amazon wanted.

    Lori, if you return here, please feel free to post your own website address; I would certainly be very willing to consider conducting business with your store in the future. Also, please post any other web addresses of online businesses that you believe to be worth supporting - I'm always interested in learning about other reliable and reasonably priced replacements for Amazon.com.

    Thanks for your comment, Lori. Best wishes for you and your business!

    ~ STMcC
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

    ReplyDelete
  3. DUDE-THIS WAS A LOONG POST!

    I've had the duplicate inventory problem a time or two myself.

    I'm a little surprised Amazon did not offer you something to try to hold onto their customer, but not so suprised that the whole customer service affair took so long.

    Any guess what country you were corresponding with?

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  4. DISCCONNECTED ~
    Yeah, they were far more interested in seeing me removed from their website than they were in retaining me as a customer. I represented a very "inconvenient truth" in opposition to their political agenda.

    And, no, believe it or not, in this case, I was dealing solely with Americans in America. I had a phone conversation with a young girl - clearly a U.S. citizen - and the early Emails were all signed with very American names.

    And the later correspondence was with one of the secretaries to the head honcho at Amazon (the bloke who started the company), although his name now escapes me.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know this is old but you just linked to it and I've been fascinatedly digging into it. Amazon sure blows. They'll never get another dollar from me.

    "violated our guidelines around obscenities"

    Obscenity? YOU? Who the heck are they trying to fool? And abusive/spiteful? The man who wouldn't even leave up a somewhat negative post about my favorite author just because he thought it might sting my feelings, spiteful and abusive? WHAT! Oh yeah, that's believable.

    "do not seem to jibe with"

    See, this is why I love you. You didn't say "jive". You win one internetz for that. Another pet peeve of mine is flaunt/flout (even someone as intelligent and educated as Hillary Clinton recently used flaunt instead of flout; I wanted to punch her. But I usually want to punch her.)

    "Such suffocating smarminess…little subliterate poseur"

    Ohhh that's. absolutely. infuriating!!! That it should be allowed to stand at all, that it was ever said at all, and that it should go unanswered...rage. Gah! If there's one thing Stephen is NOT it's a poseur! GAH! As to subliterate...uh...did the guy even bother to read a word you ever wrote? Jeeeeez!

    "By the way, your writing style is derivative"

    Of what?

    "jingositic"

    I. hate. that. word.

    "and tedious"

    You know what's tedious? Using the word JINGOISTIC (misspelled of course) when talking about people who love this country and what it stands (or stood) for.

    "In my 48 years, I’ve learned never to expect justice or lasting happiness in this world"

    You've just summed up the last 20 years of my life...and it breaks my heart. The knowledge of those facts is...shattering. But thank you for giving a clear and concise name to it.

    "then that is something akin to what we might expect from a Soviet show trial"

    The Trial of Hank Rearden. If you've never read Atlas Shrugged I have the trial portion at my blog; do read it. It's exactly as you say. :(

    I'm sorry all this happened.

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  6. ANNIEE ~

    >>> . . . See, this is why I love you. You didn't say "jive". ... Another pet peeve of mine is flaunt/flout (even someone as intelligent and educated as Hillary Clinton recently used flaunt instead of flout; I wanted to punch her. But I usually want to punch her.)

    Ha!-Ha! Yeah, me too, but I can't get away with it because a gentleman is taught never to hit a lad--

    Hey, wait a minute!!!
    Is a "lady" and "a hag, Marxist, Nurse Ratched-look-alike woman" the same thing?! (I may have found a loophole.)

    Anniee, wanna know what my #1 pet peeve is? People who say or write "I could care less" when they really mean to say "I COULDN'T care less". These expressions have OPPOSITE meanings, and yet it's startling how many people - even supposedly well educated people - get it wrong. In fact, more people say it wrong than say it right!

    I'm heading over to YER blog now...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete

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