A casualty in the battlefield of partisan Amazon book reviews
Tom Mesereau, the Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who became a hero among Jackson fans when he successfully represented the singer in his sexual assault case, was a major source for Mr. Sullivan. In early December, he made a video on YouTube calling the attacks on “The Untouchable” a “disgusting, sophisticated, Hollywood-style public relations campaign.”
In reality, the campaign is being waged far from Hollywood. A rapid response team administrator, who identified himself as Steve Pollard, said five people were running the Facebook site and Twitter’s efforts, only three of which were in the United States. Tackling “Untouchable” was “a moral responsibility,” said Pollard, a 52-year-old Detroit resident. He explained, “If you walked past a cemetery and saw someone steal a corpse for the purpose of making a profit, you would feel responsible for doing something.
He said the response team did not tell fans what to say in their Amazon reviews and that they did not try to have the book taken down, despite posts to the contrary on the Facebook page. But he added in an email that some of the favorable reviews of “Untouchable” “were removed (I think) because they were attacks on fans and not reviews of his book. We of course reported the attacks.
Mr Pinch, the Cornell researcher, said he felt “Amazon is hopeful that all of these problems with positive and negative reviews will go away.” He added: “But as more and more abuse comes to light, the overall effect will be a slow undermining of the process. There are so many ways to play with the system.
Grove distributed 16,000 copies of “Untouchable”. Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales at most outlets, only had 3,000 copies sold. For a while this month, “Untouchable” has been overtaken on Amazon by a Jackson body language book, “Behind the Mask”.
This book, published by the author, had something for him that “Untouchable” did not have: the approval of the fans. “Michael Jackson would be delighted if such an objective book was written about him,” wrote a reviewer on Amazon.