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Could Amazon Reviews Be Corrupt? 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the say-it-aint-so dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "In the first academic study of its kind, Trevor Pinch, Cornell University professor of sociology and of science and technology studies, independently surveyed 166 of Amazon's top 1,000 reviewers, examining everything from demographics to motives. What he discovered was 85 percent of those surveyed had been approached with free merchandise from authors, agents or publishers. Amazon is encouraging reviewers to receive free products through Amazon Vine, an invitation-only program in which the top 1,000 reviewers are offered a catalog of free products to review. John Dvorak puts up an argument which hints that some of these Amazon reviews may be corrupt."
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Could Amazon Reviews Be Corrupt?

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  • My experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:54PM (#36617472)
    I wrote a few Amazon reviews, then noticed a review that had absolutely no bearing on the item being reviewed. I reported it and Amazon stated that they found no reason to remove the review. I replied with full detail outlining how unrepresentative the review was and how misleading it was to consumers. I received a reply stating that it didn't violate their review policies, and that they wouldn't hear any more complaints about the issue. I forwarded the specific details out of their own publicly posted review policy that were violated, and received a "We'll take a look at this", which was obviously a brush off. Months later, no response and the fraudulent review remains.

    I've henceforth removed all of my reviews, and I forward my clients to Newegg instead. Newegg's customer service has been better anyway.

    While this may not be directly related to the story presented in TFA, it does speak to the lack of integrity in the Amazon review process when obviously false or misplaced reviews are allowed to remain, even when pointed out and explained to a human being (as opposed to a automatic responder).
  • by Sarusa (104047) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @08:00PM (#36617522)

    I'm in Vine. I occasionally get a free book or food item, and then review it (that's the deal). My reviews are clearly (and automatically) tagged as 'Reviewed as part of Amazon Vine program'.

    Looking back at my reviews I don't see where I've been any more charitable to Vine products than products I bought myself. In fact, I seem much less likely to rate them five stars - the barrier to entry is lower so I'll order a free product when I might not have paid for it. Though it's still self-selecting in that I won't order anything I don't think I'll like in the first place, so most of the reviews are four or five (but definitely not all).

    And before you get too jealous, remember that reading the book and writing a decent review is a significant amount of work. /Having/ to do a review of something you're supposed to be enjoying can turn it into work. Wah wah wah, but it's not all roses and unicorns.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @09:04PM (#36617956) Homepage

    Remember when amazon.ca displayed real names instead of logins for a day in 2004 due to a glitch?

    The articles about it have a bad habit of disappearing, so I archived them here:

    http://ciaran.compsoc.com/amazon-reviews-are-fake.html [compsoc.com]

    I often look at Amazon reviews when deciding what books to get for language learning, but 80-90% of comments aren't credible. I still find it useful, but you have to know the limits of what you're looking at.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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