I thought the outrage was ridiculously overstated for the tiny complaint -- there are so many reasons that quick reviews by random amateurs might not be entirely reliable as a guide to one's own tastes -- and so I commented over at Neth's place, thusly:
Well, he's half-right: publishers and authors do sometimes write reviews of their own books on Amazon, and even more often ask their family and friends to review their books. But the idea that there's "big money" in this is ludicrous.
Amazon's search algorithm is affected by reviews, yes -- but it's also affected by tags, and the behavior of customers (what books they click on, what books they buy), and, most of all, by sales ranking. So it's not possible to do that much SEO through good reviews alone.
I won't say that no publisher has ever spent money to pay an outside company (or their own staff) to sit around writing Amazon reviews -- the world has an endless supply of really stupid people -- but that's a ridiculously expensive way of accomplishing not very much. For all but a few very bestselling books -- which are already selling very well everywhere else, too -- the velocity of sales at Amazon is not and will not be at a level to pay for those activities.
So: yes, authors in particular do try to game Amazon. It doesn't work as well as they think it does. And any particular reader might well find that a random Amazon review does not closely match her taste and preference in books. But anyone who's surprised and outraged that a self-publisher is a huge self-promoter probably is also shocked every morning to see that the sky is blue.