I have acquired a couple of new on line badges recently. After a slow but steady climb through the rankings over a good couple of years I became a Top 1000 Reviewer on Amazon. Then, last week, I received an email from Goodreads informing me that I was a Top 1% Reviewer. This is all very nice but hardly life changing. I will continue to write and post my reviews in the hope that they are useful for readers and of some benefit to those who create the books we derive so much pleasure from.
I am aware that rankings matter for authors and publishers. The higher the ranking of a book in its allocated genre the higher its profile in the algorithms used by online sites to suggest a user’s next great read. As a reviewer though, I had given my personal stake in this process little thought. Authors benefit from having a certain number of reviews posted of their books (I believe fifty is the magic number on Amazon) but as far as I was concerned that was it.
However, since becoming an Amazon 1000 Reviewer I have noticed something curious. My ranking continues to climb at the same slow but steady rate, and then I receive a slew of down votes all at once until I am beyond the cusp of that magic 1000. It is almost as if someone is trying to push me out of the club. How strange.
Is there really competition amongst Amazon reviewers for this badge that could drive such dastardly behaviour?
Numbers are little devils waiting to knock our self esteem. When I see other book reviewers post photos on social media of their latest towering pile of book post, especially in a week when my front hall has lacked that satisfying thunk of a lovely new book being pushed through the letterbox, I need to sternly remind myself that I already have more unread titles than I am likely to get through in a year.
When my slow but steadily growing twitter follower count passes another of those milestones that end with a zero, and then overnight slides below again, I need to remind myself that I have a policy of not following back unless the follower looks to wish to engage and not just promote for a reason.
My interactions with other book bloggers, authors and publishers has been positive and, at times, inspirational. I wonder who it is then who is playing this Amazon game. The power the retailer holds over sales means I would be doing a disservice to the authors and publishers I wish to benefit from my words if I were to withdraw from the site. Neither would I feel comfortable playing the system.
Has anyone else noticed such behaviour? My sensitive little soul does not require these badges, but having been given them I notice when they are taken away.