Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quid Pro Phil?

Hmmm. So let's see: Between the day of Love Smart's official debut (Dec. 7) and year's end, at least three different (or supposedly different) Dr. Phil reviewers see fit to work in a recommendation for Barbara Rose's book, Stop Being the String Along*. Suddenly on Jan. 1 Ms. Rose shows up as a reviewer in her own right, making McGraw's book sound like the be-all-and-end-all of relationship writing; overnight, her review earns the lofty status of a Spotlight Review. One day later--today--yet another armchair Love Smart reviewer, "Jacqui Mueller," touts String Along again.

Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

Incidentally, Amazon now tells me there's nothing it can do about the strongly anti-SHAM review from "J. Arch" or the other seemingly conspiratorial goings-on that have handicapped my book since its publication. The customer-service rep says they "understand [my] concern," but unfortunately, they write, Arch's review "doesn't fall outside of our guidelines. In order to help customers make informed buying decisions, we are interested in cultivating a diversity of opinion in our reviews. Part and parcel of that is allowing our customers to air their honest thoughts about items." I see.

Just one question: Why doesn't that same commitment to "diversity of opinion" apply to Dr. Phil's book?

* String Along is one of very, very few books that carries a perfect Amazon rating of 5 stars. Can it be that good?

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