[Amazon sells] junk that would never, ever be sold at a Wal-Mart store. That’s because in order to get into a store, a buyer, a human being with a reputation, has to allocate shelf space. The easiest way to lose your job as a buyer is to put brand-destroying lousy products on a valuable shelf.
Amazon, on the other hand, has infinite shelves. And no buyers. As a result, they’re relying on an algorithm that rewards low prices and high ratings. But the best way to lower prices is to make junk. And the best way to high ratings is to fake them.
Seth Godin on Amazon.
This is what’s known, incidentally, as a “market for lemons“, and people have been accusing Amazon of fostering it in publishing for years. I guess now they’re just branching out…