Sunday, April 24, 2005

"Real Name" TM

I have continued to become more and more frightened by Amazon.Com . It all started when I realized that their website was getting too big for me to understand and deal with, and when they started selling shit other than books. To "personalize" your page you can list things you like, record your music and book reading preferences and fill out more pages of questions than one would for a job interview. I like sharing my thoughts, but I shy away from giving any company fodder to demote me to more of a consumer than I really am. And no, it's not like anyone is forcing me to buy things, but it's the thought that the things I like, the decisions I've made in my life to purchse certain things instead of others are number crunched into a big computer that spits out the monthlies for Amazon and turns me and my thought into just another cog.

I use to like to write reviews for books I'd read; sort of a voluntary writing exercise once in a while. It helped me remember what books I'd read as well as informing others of what I thought. I then decided, for the number of reviews I write online, I mine as well put them in my 'zine and not waste them on cyber space. And ya know what? No one cares.

I still use Amazon, much to my dismay. I wouldn't mind so much if they were just a bookseller. But they aren't. I try when I can to buy books directly from the author or publisher but that is not always an option. Finally, today I went on the site to find a review of "Raven's End" and I found one written by someone (who I may add had written over 10,000 reviews) and under her name, was written Real Name (tm). I clicked on this thing (it's known as a badge) and another window opened up, describing what a badge was. Then I found the Real Name badge and read:
"You created a Real Name and used a name from your credit card to help other customers identify you. This is a permanent badge."

Ookaaaay. I created a real name? And having a name on a credit card makes me "real?" And I, as a visitor to the site, should trust people more who buy things on the internet and submit their credit card online more due to this badge-blessing?

I clicked again, and another window popped up. Here is just a sampling of what I read:
"A Real Name™ attribution is a signature based on the name entered by the author as the cardholder name on his or her credit card, i.e. the author represents this name as his/her identity in the "real world." An author willing to sign his or her real-world name on a piece of content is essentially saying "With my real-world identity, I stand by what I have written here." A Real Name™ attribution therefore establishes credibility much as reputations built over time in the community, and just as high-reputation authors and their works receive badges, authors who use a Real Name™ attribution receive badges. In the absence of a reputation or helpful/not helpful votes, the presence of a Real Name™ attribution becomes a data point on where to place the review. People with lots of helpful votes will still be the top-ranked reviewers, even if they choose not to use a Real Name™ attribution.”

What is this world coming to?

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