For the consideration of Mr. Jeff Bezos and Mr. Jon P. Fine:
The purpose of this petition is to bring to the attention of Mr. Bezos, Mr. Fine, and anyone else employed by Amazon or its subsidiaries, the lack of oversight and or control in the Amazon system regarding product reviewing—in particular book reviewing—and in the participation of the many forums on Amazon.
It is known the world over that Amazon changed the face of self publishing by implementing their Kindle Direct Publishing platform as well as their CreateSpace platform. Anyone can now quickly and easily publish a book using the tools freely provided by Amazon. Whether or not everyone who publishes through KPD and CreateSpace should is not at issue here. What is at issue is the fact that there is an incredible amount of bullying and harassment of some of these self publishing authors taking place on the Amazon platform/system.
I believe, as do countless others—many who will have signed this petition—that the reason this bullying and harassment is able to take place is because of the allowance of anonymity on Amazon. People have found ways to exploit this flaw in the system and are using it to bully, harass, and generally make life miserable for certain authors on Amazon. These people are able to create multiple accounts and then use those accounts to viciously attack and go after any author or person that they feel doesn't belong on Amazon or who shouldn't have published a book, made a comment on a forum post, etc. With the current system, if one anonymous account gets deactivated because it was reported for these things, it is easy for the bully or harasser to simply create another anonymous account and continue on with their shenanigans.
What I—we—would like to see happen is for Amazon to revise their policies regarding anonymity when it comes to writing product/book reviews and for participation in the forums. Reviewers and forum participants should not be anonymous. By removing their anonymity and forcing them to display their real, verified identities, I believe that much of the harassment and bullying will cease. It may continue elsewhere on the web, but not on Amazon, the largest online retail marketplace in the world, where it really counts. Buyers of products on Amazon must have their identities verified, so it should be an easy transition to implement a policy whereby reviewers and forum participants must also have their identities verified.
Author Anne Rice has recently taken up this cause, as well, after experiencing the vitriol and hatred spewed by sock puppet account holders in the Amazon forums. She has publicly spoken out against these types of activities on numerous occasions and I’m sure that she will support this petition.
We hope that you will take into consideration this request and really examine the benefits of implementing such a policy to remove anonymity in reviews and forum participation. It will make Amazon an overall better place for your customers and for the people who are selling products through your company.
For the people who sign this petition: please include your experiences, briefly, if you have had any dealing with bullies and harassment on Amazon, whether it be in a book/product review or in the forums on Amazon. You can do this in the box labeled 'Why is this important to you?' just under where you sign the petition. Please remember to remain civil in your comments as we are trying to effect positive change here.
Mr. Bezos, Mr. Fine, we sincerely hope that you will consider this petition and this request seriously. Amazon has done so many wonderful things for so many people. For it to be tarnished by a group of hateful bullies who have found a way to exploit the system is a sad shame. We all thank you for your time and consideration.
Todd Barselow started this petition with a single signature, and now has 9,193 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.