Google’s cache is sooo useful

Some commentators have not been persuaded that the reviews by “A reader from Swarthmore, PA USA” were really by Lott. Fine. I rummaged around in Google’s cache and found older versions of the reviews of the books by Kevin Hassett, Robert Ehrlich and Cook and Ludwig. In those versions the location of the reviewer is not Swarthmore (Lott’s home), but Washington, DC (Lott’s workplace). Why did it change?

I experimented by reviewing the nearest book to my computer (Game Programming Gems 2) and changing my location from Maroubra to Sydney. Not only was my location given as Sydney in the new review, but it was changed to Sydney in previous reviews as well. Amazon must store the location not for each review that is made, but for each reviewer. Lott had given his location as Washington, DC but he posted a new review (probably the one of MacOS X 10.3) and changed his location to Swarthmore. this meant that all his previous reviews changed to being from Swarthmore as well. This feature of Amazon has proven to be Lott’s downfall. You see, I wouldn’t have found a review posted from DC to be suspicious, but when I saw one from an unusual place like Swarthmore, I pulled on the deerstalker hat and started looking for more such reviews. I turned up lots and lots as well as discovering Lott’s other sock puppet, Washingtonian.

Now if you look at the Google cache of the book by Zimring et al reviewed by Washingtonian you will find that Washingtonian’s location also changed from Washington DC to Swarthmore. I think we can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the reviews of Hassett’s book, Ehrlich’s book and Cook and Ludwig’s book were posted from Washingtonian’s Amazon account.