United Vandals

I know that the hyper-OCD section of the Internet is already way tired of this whole Mass Effect – Fox News – Cooper Lawrence thing, but I found another morsel of this development fascinating. Apparently, as an act of revenge, hundreds of gamers went to the Amazon page of Cooper Lawrence’s latest book and wrote negative reviews by the score. While I would normally deride this as childish vandalism, I got to thinking about it.

Ms. Lawrence’s quote:

In her statement Lawrence, whose name was dragged through the mud for days, addressed the review-revenge strategy. “I believe that the customer-review feature on Amazon.com is not the appropriate forum to discuss an unrelated news segment. I appeared on a news program that provides an opportunity for debate on topics that have been previously covered by the media. Amazon’s customer-reviews feature functions as a platform to review a product sold on their site, in this case my book, the topic of which does not relate to video games and/or ‘Mass Effect.’ “

And I would normally agree with that. But then you really dig down to the tactic of review spamming and what do you get? Ms. Lawrence came on TV to tell legions of uninformed consumers lies about a product she had no familiarity with and whose comments likely cost the creators of said product actual money. What did the gamer hordes do in response? Told legions of uninformed consumers lies about a product with which they had no familiarity in the hopes that they could cost the creator actual money.

It’s kind of poetic when you put it that way.

Ms. Lawrence abused her power that Fox News had granted her and gamers abused the power Amazon.com gave them. The difference is that Amazon is removing said reviews while Fox airs no retraction. Now I’m sure she didn’t do it out of malice – she did it to promote herself and her books and show. She did it out of ego. Now, gamers don’t really have something to promote by wrecking Ms. Lawrence’s Amazon page, but they can hurt her ego and so that’s what they did.

I don’t condone leaving false reviews at Amazon. And I don’t condone lying straight-faced on national television.

This is really different than the juvenile rancor that surrounds every Jack Thompson media blitz as that is really just tongue lashing sans purpose. This retort by the unorganized gaming public actually shows the strength of the loyal, informed consumer – not by virtue of truth, but by power of action.

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