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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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  • by A5un (586681) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:27PM (#36617264)
    I trust this guy's review. It's absolutely true [amazon.com]
  • Just because it's on the Internet?

    It's nothing more than the digital version of Payola [wikipedia.org], but instead of air-time, the content producers get flattering reviews.

    Should it be made just as illegal (or at least against Amazon policy)? Wouldn't do much good... radio stations long ago found ways around the anti-Payloa laws, and I suspect that Amazon (and its reviewers) will too.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      The analogy with payola is flawed. On Amazon, no matter how many glowing astroturf reviews there are, anybody can write a negative review that gives solid reasons why they didn't like it, and negate all the positive reviews if you're convinced those drawbacks are a dealbreaker for you. Yes, all online reviews (especially positive ones) should be taken with a grain of salt, but overall I've had good results from using the Amazon reviews to guide my purchases. (In fact I consult them even if I know I'll be
      • by Hatta (162192)

        On Amazon, no matter how many glowing astroturf reviews there are, anybody can write a negative review that gives solid reasons why they didn't like it, and negate all the positive reviews if you're convinced those drawbacks are a dealbreaker for you.

        You can write it, but there's no guarantee they'll post it.

        • You can write it, but there's no guarantee they'll post it.

          The reality is they mostly get posted, as long as you write factually and not too emotionally with a wide range of curse words.

          I have never had a negative review not posted on Amazon. Remember, it's not Amazon getting the free things, it's just some of the reviewers...

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            as long as you write factually and not too emotionally with a wide range of curse words.

            Which rules out 90% of slsshdotters immediately.

        • I have written some quite negative reviews on products for Amazon and they have all been posted. Including the one blasting the Kindle because of its DRM.

          What I normally find though is that there are rebuttals through the comment system when my negative review is controversial.

          The Vine stuff though - I have definitely seen some reviews that are influenced and have written them off. Now that I know that the top 1000 reviewers are getting free product I will certainly discount their opinions.

          • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @09:55PM (#36618288)

            Really? Do you think they're biased because they got a free $2 pack of erasers to review? You understand that they have absolutely no obligation to write a positive view, right? In fact, writing an inaccurate review would negatively impact them, because people would rate the person's review as "not helpful" and it wouldn't be long before they are no longer in the top 1,000 reviewers (and remember, you only reach the top 1,000 reviewer spots because other consumers have found your reviews to be helpful in the first place). Also, it's not like it's a secret if someone is part of the Vine program. It says "VINE REVIEWER" right by their name on the review and points out that the product being reviewed by that person was provided them through the VINE program. Pretty transparent.

            Personally, I participate in the Vine program for kicks. I let them send me stuff that I otherwise would never care about or want or buy and am only accepting, for the sake of giving a review on something unusual. I've written positive reviews. I've written extremely critical reviews. They've all been posted. They've never been altered or removed.

            • Really? Do you think they're biased because they got a free $2 pack of erasers to review?

              Yes.

              If free stuff didn't result in better reviews, businesses wouldn't be giving away free stuff to reviewers.

              Medical doctors are highly paid, non-anonymous, well-educated, and government-licensed, but their prescribing habits are still influenced by pharmaceutical company reps giving out logo-covered pens [scu.edu]. If an elite group of highly-trained, thoroughly-tested individuals making life-or-death decisions can be influenced by crappy gifts, do you really think some anonymous, unpaid, unregulated, and uns

              • by fferreres (525414)

                >If free stuff didn't result in better reviews, businesses wouldn't be giving away free stuff to reviewers.

                Innaccurate. Companies with BAD products don't have much of an incentive to give away free stuff to top 1000 reviewers, because top 1000 reviewers are typically those that are accurate. Why not test the hypotesis? I can bes measured and interpreted.

                1) Find the people that own the products, are not vine and measure their rating
                2) Find people that are part of VINE and measure their rating
                3) Measure th

            • by hedwards (940851)

              Doesn't matter how much the product costs, reviewers shouldn't be getting free products to review, traditionally they'll have to give them back when they're done. There are some exceptions in that you can't give back a movie or unread a book, but by and large it's a serious no no amongst reviewers wishing to be taken seriously.

              • That's not true at all.

                Book reviewers get free copies of books. Film reviewers go to free screenings of films. Video games - the same. People who make the full purchase themselves are the exception, not the rule.

                • That's not true at all.

                  Book reviewers get free copies of books. Film reviewers go to free screenings of films. Video games - the same. People who make the full purchase themselves are the exception, not the rule.

                  Yes and movie reviews and video game reviews are mostly bullshit because of it. On the other hand people like the Michelin Guide [michelinguide.com] whose star rating is coveted by restaurants go in anonymous, "secret shopper" style.

          • I was in Vine for 2 or 3 years. I wrote honest reviews - good and bad for what I was given.

            There is zero pressure to give a good review from Amazon and not really any contact from the source of the items. The closest I guess, was that some items had a little letter with them to the Vine member asking them to get in touch with the manufacturer (don't remember any of these with books) to see if the problem could be fixed. I never had to do that though.

            There is a tendency for Vine members to get unhelpful rati

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Just because it's on the Internet?

      It's nothing more than the digital version of Payola [wikipedia.org], but instead of air-time, the content producers get flattering reviews.

      I've said this about Trip Advisor for years. Who pays for the advertising, I've got the site open without AdBlock and I see the likes of Ibis, Novotel, Pan pacific (I'm looking at Singapore here), reviews that the hotels dont want on there get deleted or never posted because they dont meet "review guidelines".

      People just dont check their sources any more, let alone consider who is paying for it (a free service).

      Lets not even consider the suitability of most people to make a balanced review, "this is t

      • by jlechem (613317)
        I had to post something about tripadvisor as well. It's so bad sometimes you can tell reviews about hotels are obvious plants by the management/owner/staff. I have almost completely stopped reading the good reviews and just look at the bad/mediocre ones. If I don't see anything horrible or scathing I take that as a good sign. The top 10 hotels in a given area can be pretty suspect sometimes.
  • "Dvorak hints" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keith_nt4 (612247) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:30PM (#36617294) Journal

    I can't believe I read that entire summary only to be lead into a link to a Dvorak column. It's like the slashdot version of being rick rolled. And I fell for it. Bravo samzenpus, bravo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by RoFLKOPTr (1294290)

      I can't believe I read that entire summary only to be lead into a link to a Dvorak column. It's like the slashdot version of being rick rolled. And I fell for it. Bravo samzenpus, bravo.

      A column that essentially complained about Amazon's 1,000 most helpful reviewers (as rated by the public) getting free things to review... which is absolutely no different from gaming critics getting free consoles, games, and previews, movie critics getting free pre-screen passes, and Slashdot editors getting free nerd poon.

    • by identity0 (77976)

      Hey, can it. I found seeing the name Dvorak on the front page a nostalgic blast from the past, bringing fond memories of the 1990s. Now that they've brought him back and released Duke Nukem Forever, maybe they can sign Jon Katz as a writer again.

    • The original study, which Dvorak helpfully forgot to link to:

      http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/June11/PinchAmazon.html
  • by Chysn (898420) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:32PM (#36617304)
    ...that I bought my Three Wolf Moon shirt on false promises, I will be quite put out.
  • ... reviews on the Internet can be false? Holy Crap!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:43PM (#36617378)

    I was invited to join the Amazon Vine program when I was somewhere in the 2,000-3,000 range in terms of reviewer rank, so it's definitely not the "top 1,000 reviewers". Every review that results from the Vine program has a green highlighted link on the review stating it's from the Vine Program with a "What's this?" link that people can use to find out what it's about. So it's made very clear when a reviewer got a free copy to play with.

    Technically, all the "free" products are still owned by Amazon, so they could ask for them back at some point. Some large items like exercise equipment are loaned only for 30 days and then picked up. Certainly some Vine members probably eBay everything valuable they get, but this is clearly against the terms of the program.

    Books are sometimes un-edited pre-release copies without final art or perhaps printed in black-and-white, as any book reviewer might get.

    I've written five star and one star vine reviews, and Amazon accepts all of them.

    It's fun to actually get some benefit from posting about stuff you like. Free stuff to review on Amazon, free add-free Slashdot for having really good karma, etc.

    • I suppose I'm something of an oddity, but I really enjoy reviewing products (ranked somewhere in the 4.5k range now). I've always been curious about Vine - there's very little documentation on it - and was really hoping to get in at some point.

      I found the 1000 number thrown out in the OP impossible, and I'm glad to hear that it's incorrect. From what I've observed their ranking algorithm is pretty clever, and after an initially rapid increase in ranking I've leveled off, and now my rank oh-so-slowly increas

      • I'm like you - I get a kick out of doing reviews. I review stuff at Amazon, I've had a few book reviews posted here at Slashdot.

        I was invited into Vine a while back. There is zero communication about how many people are in it or what the criteria are. The Amazon folks are very tight lipped about the whole thing - and when you get in, that doesn't change at all. I have no idea why they asked me in, but I quit last month - so maybe there is another spot open now and you'll get it.

        When I quit I sent an email t

    • Yeah, I'm no where near anything resembling a high rank, yet I got a Vine invite also. I rather enjoy the program (got some rather nice free stuff, and some crap too, all reviewed honestly), and Amazon makes the disclosure quite explicit.

      One of the strengths of the Vine program (vs. vendors mailing stuff to random bloggers) is that vendors have zero leverage over Vine reviewers. A negative review does not in any way impact eligibility for future Vine-distributed products. (I've written some pretty scathi

  • It's a system with anonymity (or at least semi-anonymity) and the ability to disguise stacking the deck, either for or against a given product. Of COURSE people are going to try to game it.
  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @07:49PM (#36617442)
    Yes, reviews can be shills, emails can be spam, phonecalls can be telemarketers, pages in magazines can be advertisements, etc.. But if you have any kind of a hard time identifying them as such, you've been living in a CAVE for the last generation or so. There's a lot of yahoos out there and you need to take everything with a grain of salt. You needed Dvorak to tell you THAT?
  • 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 lanner (107308)

      I just don't leave reviews on websites that sell goods. The review MUST be completely independent. There is no possibility that your own words will not be twisted and manipulated in any way the website or even the product manufacture sees fit.

      I had Newegg remove my truthful and reasonable negative reviews on multiple occasions, so I don't bother doing reviews on Newegg any more at all.

      Same goes with ebay. As a seller, I can't leave negative feedback for buyers, so I figure I can't really leave positive f

      • by Seumas (6865)

        What do you mean by "independent"? I've written about a hundred reviews on Amazon in the decade that I've been a customer. They've never edited or altered a single word and I've been free to update or even delete my reviews after the fact, as I see fit. I've left positive reviews and scathing reviews. I've even left two on products I received via Vine (one four star review and a one star review) which were unaltered.

        Amazon is actually one of the places I check when researching a product that I might want to

      • by kimvette (919543)

        Same goes with ebay. As a seller, I can't leave negative feedback for buyers, so I figure I can't really leave positive feedback either since it's positive or nothing. Their feedback system is now fundamentally broken and any use of it is just furthering their fraudulent assertion of usefulness.

        They had to do that because scammers and just plain crappy vendors were leaving negative feedback in response to disputes, honest bad feedback, or even neutral (not bad) feedback.

        • by Z8 (1602647)
          Yep, that happened to me—I gave the seller a neutral (slow shipping) and she immediately gave me a negative ("buyer impossible to please!!11!") in retribution.
      • Re:My experience (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:11AM (#36619372)

        Same goes with ebay. As a seller, I can't leave negative feedback for buyers, so I figure I can't really leave positive feedback either since it's positive or nothing. Their feedback system is now fundamentally broken and any use of it is just furthering their fraudulent assertion of usefulness.

        You do realize there's only one thing for a buyer to do, right? They bid, they win, they pay.

        After the auction ends, all the buyer has to do is pay for the item. If they pay - positive feedback. If they don't pay, you report non-paying bidder to eBay and eBay does all the sanctions and lets you relist for free.

        Why would you leave a negative feedback to a buyer? The only reason is they don't pay, and reporting them really nullifies this.

        If you're holding it back because they may give you negative feedback over something, that's an invalid reason in my book - the buyer has fulfilled all their obligations on their side of the transaction.

        If you're a seller, there are many ways you can get negative feedback - you can decide to take forever to ship, the item arrives broken, you send them the wrong item, etc.

        Ebay sellers were trying to game the system - if a buyer received the wrong item, the seller could simply cut all communications, knowing they could leave retaliatory feedback to the buyer who did nothing wrong other than buy from a scammer, thus devaluing the feedback system since scammers getting negatives was quite rare.

        It's positive or nothing because... the buyer only has one obligation, and they either fulfill it (positive), or they don't (report to eBay - which goes on the buyer's record).

        It's just like idiot sellers who really don't leave feedback to buyers first - after all, once I paid, there's nothing else for me to do for you, so why shouldn't you leave feedback already?

    • Because newegg reviews are more pertinent? Maybe your complaint was particularly valid, but investigating reviews and removing them would in general consume resources and alienate customers. Staying mostly hands-off and making reviews voted unhelpful less visible isn't a bad policy.
    • Probably because Amazon isn't going to take down a review because one person complains. This could be considered a good thing about the review process. How do they know that you don't have an agenda?

      If you think a review is bad, you can mark it as unhelpful and write a a better review. Amazon expects that their are going to be bad reviews so it provides a mechanism to regulate it.

      • Probably because Amazon isn't going to take down a review because one person complains. This could be considered a good thing about the review process. How do they know that you don't have an agenda?

        If you think a review is bad, you can mark it as unhelpful and write a a better review. Amazon expects that their are going to be bad reviews so it provides a mechanism to regulate it.

        A: There were multiple complaints in the comments of this review, from multiple people. This was pointed out.
        B: It's not a "bad" review in that it's poorly written, or uses bad grammar, it's a review for a product in the same category, but with completely different specs, and so that user's experience with their product doesn't apply.
        C: When Amazon ignores their own policies, they lose all credibility. When they claim there is nothing wrong with an obviously misplaced or misrepresented review, they are ei

    • by tibit (1762298)

      I guess if they outsource their customer service, you're dealing with people who not only never saw the product that's reviewed, but also don't have the cultural background and social norms needed to correctly judge the reviews in our culture. That's probably all there's to it.

      • I guess if they outsource their customer service, you're dealing with people who not only never saw the product that's reviewed, but also don't have the cultural background and social norms needed to correctly judge the reviews in our culture. That's probably all there's to it.

        To the car analogy! No matter what country you are in, a V-8 engine will have 8 cylinders. Air conditioning (and whatever it's translated to) will heat or cool the interior of the car. Wheels measured in inches can be easily converted to metric. These are the specs of the car. Culture and social norms are not going to change these, even if the units of measurement are different. When there is a review of a Toyota Prius (hybrid car) claiming to apply to the purchase page of a Toyota Tundra (large truck), and

    • There are two things to do with bad reviews on Amazon.

      First, use those buttons which mark the review as "not useful". The total number for that shows right up in the title of the review, and I for one ignore all for which, say, only 2 out of 10 people have voted up.

      Second, reviews have comment section, and so far I have never had any problems with my comments criticizing the review being moderated or anything. A well-written comment debunking the review point-by-point not only directly negates much of its e

  • Anyone complaining about Amazon reviews has too much time on their hands. Yes, you can see the comments of the professional reviewers. They are identified and mostly are middle of the road summaries. They don't pump it up and they don't warn you away. I skip over the usually lengthy professional reviews, they are worthless.

    People provide great reviews, pro and con, on Amazon. I count on it to get the real scoop. I have rarely been mislead by it. It's the best out there, as I google for info and Amazon usual

  • 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.

    • I am glad Amazon labels these particular reviews. However while your reviews may be honest, I definitely have seen some Vine reviews that appear to have been written with rose colored glasses on.

      As such I no longer consider Vine reviews when making a buying decision.

      Now that I know the top 1000 are involved in this I am going to disregard all their reviews as well.

      • by Sarusa (104047)

        That's fair enough, but I should reiterate that you can't trust five star non-Vine reviews either. I end up going through the top bunch of reviews and tossing out any that look like obvious shills, making sure there's at least one or two non-fives, then going through the lowest couple reviews and tossing any that look like pure haters or idiots. After a while you get pretty good at it.

        So if you want to toss all five star Vine ratings as being just too easy, good enough, but a non five or one star rating has

        • I find one star reviews to often be quite useless because they are quite often written by someone who has no understanding of the product.

    • /Having/ to do a review of something you're supposed to be enjoying can turn it into work.

      And that may be the primary motivation for the bogus reviews, rathern than bribery.

      • Reviewer order free product, thinking he will have time to do it properly.
      • Item arrives.
      • But in the meantime, reviewer notices that he doesn't have so much time, due to new items on his schedule.
      • Deadline approaches...
      • Bogus review is written. It will be positive, because reviewer expects that it's less likely that he will be called on it than if it was devastating
  • I know for a fact that all those reviews for the Three-Wolf-Moon shirt are true. I felt the power of 3 wolfpower during last month's full moon. Nothing could quench my thirst but 1 gallon, 128 fl oz of Tuscan whole milk.
  • by Skynyrd (25155) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @08:40PM (#36617798) Homepage

    I'm an Amazon Vine member. I was told that I became a member by the number of "helpful" votes my comments got.
    Most of my reviews for things I buy are positive - but I research before I buy things.

    As for Amazon giving me things to review; it's true.
    Each month or so, I get a list of things I can order (for free, with no shipping charges). As long as I review 75% of the items I receive, I can participate in the program.

    I fully believe that the "top 1,000 reviewers" part is untrue. I can't see any way that I'm a top 1,000 reviewer.
    I just checked, and I'm in the top 8,000. However, I have over 300 helpful (out of about 400) votes.

    1) They place a "Vine Voice" tag in my profile, and by each review - even if I pay for the product
    2) They place a "Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program" by each review I do for Vine (free product)

    Mostly I get *review copies* of books. These are pre-press, and the same ones that go to reviewers (hmmm). They are printed on cheap paper, are not hardbound, and clearly marked as "not final copy". I occasionally get a small electronic device, but usually a $10 to $20 item. The most valuable item I received was a popular piece of office productivity software.

    I have no moral issue with receiving these items. It's the same as sending review items to book reviewers, bloggers, journalists, etc.
    The reviewed items are clearly marked that I didn't pay for them. I have given 5 star and 3 star reviews.

    The process is pretty transparent.

    • The most valuable item I received was a popular piece of office productivity software.

      I have no moral issue with receiving these items. It's the same as sending review items to book reviewers, bloggers, journalists, etc.

      I don't get it, you have no moral issue receiving items for free and reviewing them in a place where people are just One-Click(tm) from buying it, and yet you felt the need to self-censor the name of the "popular piece of office productivity software" here?

  • I've written 11 reviews, all of which have been accepted (most on CDs I liked or mostly liked and why)
    a 1-star, which I later revised to a 2-star. (so that's not a "wish i could give zero" case), a 3, 3 4-stars and 6 5-stars
    22 out of 25 people found my reviews helpful.

    My reviews are fairly detailed and on-topic; less-detailed but still on topic is fine by me.

    I've seen well-done bad reviews and well-done good reviews.

    sometimes I see stuff 1-starred for irrelevant reasons

    Then again, this is for pretty common

  • 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.

  • I was approached by McGraw-Hill indirectly, via an investment forum, and invited to receive a free copy of a book, "The House that Bogle Built" if I'd review it online. Since I'm a fan of John C. Bogle, champion of index mutual funds and founder of Vanguard, I said sure. I liked the book, and gave it a good review. At the end of my review, I noted "Disclosure: the publisher sent me a complimentary copy."

    Was I corrupted by the free book? Almost certainly, yes. Not that I sold my soul for a retail value of $2

    • by PhxBlue (562201)

      I think Dvorak just doesn't like competition from other amateurs.

      FTFY.

    • Amazon Reader Reviews at least tell you whether or not the reviewer personally purchased a copy of the book from Amazon or not. If you want to screen out corrupted reader reviews, only read the reviews that say "Amazon Verified Purchase."

      This is true of all purchases on Amazon, not just books, and even if the seller is a third party.

  • I am a Vine Reviewer, so of course you'll take this post with a grain of salt.

    Just because the product is free, doesn't mean the system is rigged. In fact, I think one could easily argue that reviews from "professional" journalists/reviewers are far more prone to being rigged. After all, if they don't write positive reviews, the manufacturer can simply choose to not give them a product for review.

    With Amazon Vine, I'm a "normal person" who doesn't write reviews for a living. The manufacturer does not get to

  • Imagine a crazy, mixed-up world in which people who have a history of writing useful reviews are given free products to review! Clearly this new-fangled technology will destroy our society. Next thing you know, advertizers will start giving incentives to bloggers to talk about things interesting to their customers.
  • Seriously ? After all the "author review himself" and "amazon censor review" article ? If i want a review I look at a meta critic type site, which will gather professional reviews as well as users, and almostcertainly I will look at the spread of the professional review, and ask my friends/colleague about it. But trusting Amazon review be it user or whatnot ? Seriously ?
  • ...the irrelevant John Dvorak states the obvious.

  • On a related note, I've noticed that generally positive reviews get more "x people found this helpful" points than negative ones. Like if there's one black sheep of a comment which points the actual suckitude of the product, all the praise is more likely to overcome it. Maybe some collective altruism thing... Or, maybe people like to hear "nice things".
  • Oh, come on. The so-called reviews on Amazon are there to sell more books; have you ever seen a completely honest advert?

  • I remember reading an article years ago about how a flub at Amazon accidentally revealed that authors were giving hagiograhical reviews to their own books under fake names.

    I also remember reading something about authors coaxing groups of friends to publish reviews of new books.

    Then there are the "civilians" who use the Amazon review section as social media, obviously ( sometimes even stated ) reviewing a book without having read it, having some of axe to grind with the politics, subject or author.

  • John Dvorak puts up an argument which hints that some of these Amazon reviews may be corrupt."

    Ya think so huh? Of course they are corrupt. What a dumbass. /rancor

  • If i look at some titles reviews, i am sure they are advertisements.

  • Hypothetically, let's suppose there is an evil, convicted, abusive, monopolist. Let's further suppose that monopolist has been caught red-handed astroturfing, and is known to hire "technology evangalists." Would it be a huge stretch to imagine that an uber-wealthy company, such as that, might play games with shills, and mod points and the like?

  • Does it take two to tango?
    Would a drill sergeant make a lousy therapist?
    Do woodchucks chuck wood?

  • I am also a Vine reviewer [amazon.com]. Not sure how I wound up on the list other than the fact that I reviewed stuff before I was a Vine member. As you can see my reviews are across the board. Some of my reviews are judged useful and others are not. I can't see any incentive for lying unless they someday pull my Vine status. The only "influence" I could see is if folks felt beholden to Amazon for the free stuff to review. As a reviewer I do notice that few people appreciate reviews critical of the product and peo

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