Gary Weiss, Amazon.com sockpuppet (revisited)

    At some point on December 4, 2006, the number of reviews of Gary Weiss‘s book Wall Street Versus America dropped from 17 to 10, as all of the following reviewers’ contributions were deleted:

    Burton (Baltimore, MD)
    Dave Watson (Banning, CA)
    Luminiere (Miami)
    George (Needham, MA)
    Marty Ross (Houston, Texas)
    Rich Golden (New York, NY USA)
    Ted Dichtler (Monroe, NY)

    Jim O’Reilly (New York, NY USA), who did not review Weiss’s book, also saw his 16 reviews deleted.

    You’ll note that five of the above eight names (in bold) are the same five we concluded were being deceptively used by Gary Weiss to artificially boost his book’s sales while artificially depressing others.

    Of course the reviews in situ are gone and the links to them broken, but we will soon post the full text, which we saved pre-delete, here.

    We had concluded that the additional three users were also Gary Weiss, but limited our initial report to five, given the need to conserve space and the ease of proving as much.

    Our complete list, for those of you playing at home, also includes the following:

    Chuck T. (Chicago, IL)
    Elliot Baker (Red Bank, NJ)
    Johannsen (Atlanta)
    Raymond Stella (New York, NY)

    At this point, it’s unclear who deleted these reviews, whether it was Amazon administrators or Gary Weiss himself (as users may delete or edit their own reviews) but the following incident suggests it was Gary.

    Soon after the reviews were discovered to be missing, a poster on an investorvillage.com message board noted that the user page of Jim O’Reilly, while devoid of reviews, retained a link to Jim O’Reilly’s “Wish List.” Upon clicking the link, he found “Gary Weiss’s Wish List.” A cut and paste version of it can be seen here.

    Within minutes of posting this odd Weiss/O’Reilly connection, the wish list was also deleted. We hypothesize that the account was originally called Gary Weiss and the name was changed to Jim O’Reilly at some point, though the name on the wish list was not.

    We applaud Gary Weiss for deleting eight of his deceptive reviewer accounts and call on him to now remove the additional four noted above.

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