The plague of one-star iTunes reviews has finally spread to me—I’m one of the big guys now!

For those of you who don’t know, many podcasters have been hit with intensely negative, usually mean-spirited and sometimes downright offensive reviews on iTunes USA. There are a lot of conspiracy theories flying around, suggesting an organised group is behind them, but the victims are varied enough that I personally doubt it. There are, however, plenty of sick people who get their jollies out of shitting on others, and sometimes they do it to “defend” or “support” podcasters they do like in the warped delusion that tearing others down builds up their favourites.

I really couldn’t care less about iTunes reviews in general: There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to how they affect where on the featured pages a podcast is listed. To me, it’s one of those things that are nice to have, but we all know they’re largely irrelevant.

The coward who left my one-star review has also attacked: Dubious Intent, The LK Today, Terminally Single, Pod Is My Co-Pilot, Mentalwarts Radio, The Power Gay, Manhandled in Montana, Alex and Dean – Gay Men Talking, Big Fatty Online, The Other O Show, They Don’t Know, The Way We See It, ArcherRadio, We’re Mean Because You’re Stupid, Gifilte Fag, Don’t Quit Your Day Job and The Direct Approach with British John. I list them all so you can go to iTunes USA and give them all 5-star reviews and symbolically give the finger to this asshole. Another strategy is to click on his user name and click “no” to the question “Was this review helpful?” for all his reviews. I’ve already done that, but I can’t leave reviews in the iTunes USA store.

By the way, the coward likes: John Stossel’s audio book (that figures), Good Morning America – Video (figures, it’s shallow), ABC World News – Audio (okay, that surprised me: Isn’t ABC and Charlie Gibson part of the “Liberal Conspiracy”?), The Onion Radio News, the movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (I suppose someone had to like it), “Fight Club” (violent, of course) and a podcast called LGBT Heroes (because he thinks the host is hot).

So, this person is like an immature fourteen year old and seems full of himself. Reading his reviews is like watching paint dry or the grass grow. His self-indulgence comes across a bit too much—he actually thinks this is interesting? Give me a break. He’s just plain crazy.

That slamming is actually drawn from the one-star reviews he’s left. Here’s the thing: If someone hates these shows so much, why does he listen to them?! He moans endlessly about sound quality, but how much, exactly, did he pay for any of them? Nothing. Podcasters buy what they can afford, and the coward isn’t contributing a cent toward what podcasters produce in their spare time. If he doesn’t like the content or the sound quality, he should do what most people do: Unsubscribe. It’s like he has a personal vendetta because a given podcaster doesn’t fit his mental (perfect word…) image of what a great podcast is and should sound like.

What that coward apparently doesn’t realise is that neither subscription nor listening are mandatory. Doesn’t suit you? No worries—move on. But why trash people and their podcast just because you’re frustrated and bitter with life? Okay, so what if you’re a miserable failure—don’t take it out on others.

The review the coward left me actually starts out fine: “Good audio, but this show is way too political.” I’m glad he likes my audio (but, hilariously, he hates Daniel Brewer’s!! Maybe he needs a hearing aide?). The majority of my shows have not been political, but if he thinks it’s “way too political,” he’s entitled to his opinion. Then the kicker: “This moonbat of a host is just plain crazy.” The word “moonbat” is a derogatory term that wingnuts (a derrogatory term derived from “rightwing nuts”) use to describe anyone who’s a bit to the left of Attila the Hun. Calling me “just plain crazy”, however, is offensive and, typically, incredibly juvenile and immature.

I’m well aware that the coward probably hopes for reactions. I doubt, however, that he will ever see this (I’m guessing he has trouble reading). I call him a coward because, like all bullies, he does his damage from behind a veil of anonymity, like KKK robes. But I taunt him anyway because bullies can’t stand it when their victims stand up to them. It’d be great if I could get him to attack me here, force him out of the closet he’s hiding in—oops!—I’m sure he’s far too deeply in the closest for that.

This plague has gone on long enough. Many of the podcasters I know are angry that fuckwads like this can pollute iTunes reviews with their filth, but no one knows what to do about it. I’ve had countless conversations with podcasters who have been victimised. Some have been deeply hurt by what can only be called viscious personal attacks. This has got to stop.

I have some suggestions:

First, we should mark these bullshit one-star reviews with “No” they’re not helpful, as I said above (writing 5-star reviews, as appropriate, couldn’t hurt, either). Don’t forget to mark ALL their other reviews as not helpful, even when they’re positive.

Finally, we should demand that iTunes not allow these egregious attack reviews and that it provide a better and faster mechanism for removing such reviews. If we can’t get iTunes to act more responsibly, then we need to begin work on an alternative delivery method that will let listeners bypass iTunes altogether.

As for me, I’ve said what I wanted to say. I can’t do anything about the coward’s review because, since I’m not registered with the iTunes USA store, I can’t report it as offensive. But I’ll add one last thing: The guy’s obviously stupid, too: He left the review in the wrong place. Clearly, he doesn’t listen to podcasts closely or read carefully where he’s leaving his poison, or he’d know he left it for my old feed, which soon will be going away. I hope he does, too. But at least his stupidity gave me a good laugh.

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