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Who Is Loyd Eskildson, and Why Does He Game the Review System?

There’s a Top 100 reviewer named Loyd Eskildson — that’s what he calls himself anyway — who is not only prolific but, um, hyper-current as well. What do I mean by this? Well, it seems that any time you see a review by Eskildson, it is near the very top of a given book’s page of reviews — even though the review is often months old. Eskildson has apparently found a way to game the Amazon review system, re-dating his reviews so they always get prominent placement. I noticed this only because the same two-star review of Freakonomics kept magically appearing near the top of the reviews page. Eskildson’s preferences and predilections (including a fondness for exclamation points!) are pretty clear from a glance at his reviews, but his re-dating motives are, to me at least, less clear. It is also unclear if is aware of such trickery; I am guessing it does not, since it is otherwise pretty vigilant in policing non-compliant reviews. What is clear is that Eskildson would seem to owe me and Levitt a few bucks, since this paper by Judith Chevalier and Dina Mayzlin argues that negative customer reviews are pretty effective in dampening online book sales.