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RIP, Harriet Klausner

Harriet Klausner (May 20, 1952 – October 15, 2015) was a reviewer of books and a newspaper columnist. She was the #1 ranked reviewer on Amazon.com until October 24, 2008, when the company began a new ranking system. On December 8, 2011, Amazon removed the “Classic Reviewer Ranking” and Klausner is no longer a Top Ranked Reviewer.

I know Harriet Klausner because once I was a reviewer of books on Amazon and was obsessed with playing the ranking game. You spin out reviews as quickly as you can and hope the reviews are voted helpers by fellow customers. I have long quit reviewing altogether and quit Amazon because I was over with their policy regarding review ownership.

Harriet Klausner provoked a lot of controversy within the reviewer community. Was she real? Rumor had it that she was just a robot feeding the tube with 15 to 20 reviews a day. A Time article in 2006 finally demystified all the rumors about her. She is indeed a real person, a librarian who reads 6 to 8 books a day, mostly romances. Whether real or not, to me the whole Amazon ranking was just a game. There were lots of sour grapes and I really didn’t care of the books the top 20 reviewers reviewed. Those books were either trashy, fluffy, or both.

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