Amazon reviewer scam?

We all know by now that Amazon.com accidentally revealed the identities of anonymous reviewers on its Canadian website last week. The story is newsworthy from a technical perspective (how confident can you be that personal information remains personal), and it’s also amusing (authors were found to have reviewed of their own work). But there’s a slew of websites reporting that the Amazon reviewer scam has been uncovered.

Are they serious? Really?  No one suspected that people were anonymously reviewing themselves and their rivals? It’s not really kosher for authors to do this, but it’s not really a scam. There’s no outright lie involved, and besides, people should be taking anonymous reviews with a grain of salt.

This is just another example of technology making it easier for people to do something they’ve always done anyway (the New York Times points out that Walt Whitman and Anthony Burgess reviewed their books under assumed names). If anything, these authors should be criticized for stupidity. If I was going anonymously review my own work on Amazon, I’d first log in under a phony name. Duh.