In exploring further, he finds more and more complications with the Amazon reviewing system:
To the extent that competitive energies drive Top Reviewers and their nemeses to generate content, and to spend time on and publicize Amazon.com, the chief beneficiary of misuse of Amazon's rankings system is Amazon itself.
This is not to say that a Top 10 ranking doesn't come with some sub
rosa incentives for the reviewer. Free books, first and foremost; in an e-mail, Grady Harp told me he was "inundated with books from new writers and from publishers who know I love to read first works." This fall, when it invited select Top Reviewers to join its Vine program—an initiative, still in beta-testing, to generate content about new and prerelease products—Amazon extended the range of perks. "Vine Voices" like Mitchell and Harp can elect to receive items ranging from electronics to appliances to laundry soap. As long as
they keep reviewing the products, Amazon's suppliers will keep sending them.