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Customer Discussions > top reviewers discussion forum

Should top reviewers be rewarded for being top reviewers?

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Showing 1-25 of 131 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2010 15:49:39 BDT
O E J says:
Just to generate a debate, let's talk about incentives. My suggestion would be Amazon vouchers.

Recently I've been feeling a little apathetic towards reviewing, and feel that now would be a good time to offer me an incentive to do more and to do better.

Not to be confused with the Vine programme, which is bankrolled by the product providers. And let's face it, a large percentage of the 'rewards' from Vine are not of a kind that the reviewers would normally choose.

Just an idea, this forum's gone dead!

Posted on 9 May 2010 17:26:18 BDT
Damaskcat says:
Sounds like a good idea to me, Pundit. I'd vote for Amazon vouchers as a reward. Would people try harder if they knew they would be rewarded in such a way? Would it mean there was more tactical voting against people's reviews to knock them off the top slot on the product page? Like Vine it could have its negative consequences - most Viners find their Vine reviews receive more negative votes than positive.

Posted on 9 May 2010 18:23:00 BDT
O E J says:
I suppose it's inevitable that there would be abuse of such a system, sadly. Which prompts the question - I wonder if the number of negative votes we GIVE could be measured? Those who give more positive votes than negative would be OK.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2010 04:29:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2010 04:32:58 BDT
Yes Amazon should pay it's top reviewers, at least by the quantity of reviews together with helpful votes, not by percentages. Many people who write relatively few reviews and get helpful votes on those reviews, get a high percentage.

After all the reviews really help Amazon sell products that might otherwise not even have a review at all. Amazon don't have much in the way of information, sometimes nothing at all. When buyers look, and don't see any reviews or relatively few, it probably quite often will put the potential buyer off as they are not sure whether it is good or bad.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2010 06:35:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2010 09:17:18 BDT
Marand says:

I don't see why giving negative votes rather than positive votes should be penalised in a reward structure. There are reviews which do deserve to be given negative votes for a variety of reasons: the reviews which have been written by the author and/or their mates, the plainly vacuous ones, the ones where it is clear the reviewer hasn't actually read the book they are "reviewing", the reviews which are complaining about delivery times. A while back I came across a series of reviews which were along the lines of "I bought this as a gift for someone and the recipient hasn't complained so it must have been good"! If you are going to reward people for their reviews then you need to weed out the truly useless reviews which do not satisfy the basic requirement that they help buyers to assess products they are interested in buying. Posting a negative vote for such reviews isn't devious or underhand. Whilst I am sure there are people who tactically neg reviews, the opportunities for doing this now are rather limited.

As to whether there should be a reward for submitting reviews, I am not convinced. From Amazon's perspective there would only be merit in it if there was a clear link between the reviews posted and actual increased sales. Does the existence of the reviews make any difference to the amount spent with Amazon? Speaking for myself, I doubt it. Reviews on Amazon are not the main determinant as to whether I make a purchase. They certainly play a part but other factors, such as personal recommendation, newspaper articles, etc. are involved too. The other factor, of course, is the availability of funds to feed the book-buying habit! In the case of fiction, films & music, opinion is so subjective that, although I will often look at reviews, they don't generally impact my decision-making. For the same reason I tend not to review these categories. It is also fair to say that I have been persuaded to buy things, encouraged by Amazon reviews, but purchased them elsewhere either because they were cheaper or it was more convenient. Either way, Amazon doesn't benefit.

It is simplistic to think that reviews are beneficial to Amazon in creating greater sales. I am fairly frequently deterred from making a purchase because of reviews and I may well have given a helpful vote to a review which discouraged me from buying the item in question. I don't think Amazon would want to reward reviews which, whilst voted helpful, are in fact damaging to their business. It certainly wouldn't make commercial sense.

No-one forces us to write reviews. There will be many reasons why people start & continue to do so - altruism, vanity, intellectual stimulation. In my case, I have more time on my hands than I would like because I have been forced to stop work on health grounds (temporarily I hope). I have gone from a situation where there weren't enough hours in the day, to one where the days seem to stretch forever. Doing the odd review on Amazon fills in a bit of time.

Posted on 10 May 2010 08:39:27 BDT
Danny says:
Congrats on picking a topic that will definately stir up debate!

Personally I am against the idea. I would rather Amazon spend their pennies keeping prices low than rewarding reviewers. People volunteer to write reviews, and if you expect payment for volunteering then you really need to consult a dictionary:

1. To perform or offer to perform a service of one's own free will.
2. To do charitable or helpful work without pay.

Or, and here's the most useful definition:

1. A person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily

Posted on 10 May 2010 11:19:45 BDT
O E J says:
MT - I only started this thread to save the whole forum from being wiped out. Nobody had posted a thing for nearly a week. I tried to think of something to start a debate, and thought of this within - ooh, about two seconds. I'm not fussed either way. It's just that the Vine forum is getting tedious and I was hoping this one could be a better alternative, if only people would keep posting on it.

But to offer (say) a £20 voucher for every 100 reviews wouldn't cost Amazon much, not when you think of the added sales 100 reviews will generate. One proviso of course - those reviews must meet a certain standard in terms of quality, probably as reflected in the 'percent helpful' figures. Minimum 90% to qualify, for example.

Hey. It's just an idea.

Posted on 10 May 2010 11:38:41 BDT
Danny says:
Oh I wasn't having a pop. I think its an interesting topic of debate. What would a debate be without differing opinions?

I agree, this is quiet at the moment. Hope it picks up again.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2010 13:07:25 BDT
Bluebell says:
I wouldn't be in favour of any extra benefits being given for reviews as I think it would only generate more unhelpful votes as is the case with Vine reviews. It's so noticeable that Vine reviews attract more unhelpful votes than unsolicited reviews. When I first joined Vine I was really discouraged by getting unhelpful votes within hours of posting my review even though I'd taken my responsibility seriously to take time to test a product or carefully read a book. However, I was cheered up by the Vine Forum where you more experienced Viners had the same or, in the case or poor Pundit, far worse rashes of unhelpful votes even though his reviews are usually very good! I can't really see any way of rewarding reviews fairly as the quality is so variable and, as said above, I find reviews that show the weaknesses of a product are often very helpful and I vote accordingly, but, of course Amazon want to sell things not provide a service like Which? magazine

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2010 13:12:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 May 2010 13:26:42 BDT
Marand, do you work for Amazon? I'm only joe king. It is a bit more involved than I first thought. I must say though, a helpful, intelligent and informed review will usually only confirm my wish to buy a product anyway. Sometimes I just need more information, quite often infact. I only write reviews for products I think deserve 5 stars, I don't bother posting a review that I have any faults with, unless it is clearly being portrayed incorrectly. (Haven't had to do that on anything I've bought so far). I too, try, to help other Amazonians in their decision to buy a product, not to warn people it's crap. I don't believe in being negative for the sake of it. After all if I think something is bad. it's my opinion it doesn't make it bad.

I personally think people with good intentions and obviously those who have spent a lot of money with Amazon anyway, should get something for their efforts. I also think the rating system is totally open to abuse and "fixing" by those who can be bothered to get so involved in increasing their rating. I just think if my helpful votes have gone down and people are finding them unhelpful I need to think more before I post a review.

It is a very complicated system. Let's face it, with or without any rewards, we all love seeing our published reviews, like I am Norma Barry or something!!!!!

Posted on 10 May 2010 13:39:45 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 10 Feb 2011 16:16:59 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2010 13:51:56 BDT
Alessi Lover says:
I would love to see some reviews on fridge freezers for example, am desperate for a new one but having difficulty choosing one.... not many reviews out there on them.

On one I did read there was a particular problem (20 people) stated the same so steering clear of that one, so yes reviews are helpful.

I know it sounds daft but on looking at a lot of reviews on other review sites the only ones you tend to find are the ones like ' lovely fridge but too big for kitchen as worktops all around so now sits in garage', (but heck this fridge freezer was £700, a lot to just stick in the garage).

Or nice colour but noisy, then the ones that get copied from site to site that are about one line in length. Now is this down to people getting paid for pure volume of reviews or not, not sure.

On the whole more going with the Amazon review website than others. At least you get a more varied selection of reviewers and views, as reviews are that one persons own view point, to others they may hate it but to them what they believe.

Posted on 10 May 2010 13:56:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 May 2010 13:22:53 BDT
O E J says:
That's a highly debatable point, that (as I'm trying to encourage debate). The one about an opinion being right or wrong. Or something like that.

What I want to say is, a lot of very average products get glowing 5-star reviews, in many cases from people who mean well and post their thoughts sincerely but - and I KNOW this sounds patronising and pompous - aren't really well-placed to know how that product (usually a novel) stacks up against the competition because they simply don't know the competition. More specifically, I read mainly crime fiction and in many cases I'll review a book by an author whose complete works I have already read and reviewed. Meanwhile, someone else will post a review (not necessarily of a different opinion) and will drop the clanger such us 'I hardly ever read books but....' and their opinion is held in equal esteem. That's why if I'm thinking of buying a novel from an unknown author, I'll scour the reviews looking for a reviewer I recognise, and in a sense trust.

When it comes to reviewing music, I've stopped completely because i am utter rubbish. Toe-curlingly awful. But I do believe that in my field of expertise, or at least extensive knowledge, I do reviews that in most cases can be relied upon to reflect a book's true worth. I never follow the herd, and say exactly what I think even when I know it won't be received well - particularly by fans of mainstream authors who rush to protect their idols by negging me obsessively. These people consider an alternative opinion to be 'unhelpful'.

Why I should care, I don't know. I'm trying to ween myself off caring. At the end of the day, none of this matters to us.

Posted on 10 May 2010 14:16:36 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 10 Feb 2011 16:17:00 GMT]

Posted on 11 May 2010 13:07:50 BDT
I'd say that Vine is about as close as reviewers will ever get to being paid on this site. The whole dynamic of the site would change if people were being paid to review, although I suppose the occasional voucher wouldn't go amiss, nor would it break the bank. I am technically a Top Reviewer, just scraping in at the bottom end of the top 1000- for now-, so if Amazon want to pay me, I'll be happy to take it.

Posted on 11 May 2010 13:21:14 BDT
O E J says:
I should add that I never used the word 'paid' in my opening post, and I do think that there is a distinct difference between being paid and being given a voucher that could only be used to buy goods available on Amazon. I firmly believe that reviewing by customers is at the heart of Amazon's mission statement (assuming there is one) outside of the most obvious and basic objective to sell as much stuff as possible. So to encourage even more reviewing - and I think more is needed - would not corrupt the company's core aims, and a practical means of encouragement would be Amazon vouchers, similar to those they gave me when I signed up to join Lovefilm DVD rental.

Posted on 11 May 2010 14:43:36 BDT
You're probably right about customer reviews being part of Amazon's mission statement; at least, it's one of the things that keeps me coming back to the site (though I'm not a particularly heavy purchaser, I must admit). As to vouchers, I think it's a very fair point, though it wouldn't sway me particularly to write more reviews. I just review so I get to do some writing and to inflict my opinions on the unsuspecting public, and Amazon is a great place for that.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 May 2010 05:21:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 May 2010 05:23:40 BDT
Mark, I agree about why we write reviews, but when you keep seeing your profile going up or down, and people voting your review as unhelpful, (I have to think if you bother to vote at all against a review you must have strongly disliked it), then you feel a bit down and then when your reviewer status goes up, you feel re-invigorated to carry on writing. Personally I would never vote a review as being unhelpful unless it was actually offensive, or totally negative or abusive.

If I think about these "negative votes" it puts me off writing what I really think. Therefore my reviews are rubbish. Wish I had never seen I had a rating at all, but it's emblazened on the page on your public profile. Maybe Amazon could correlate reviews that actually increase their sales???? Don't know how they could do that but just a thought? And obviously one wouldn't expect Amazon to pay real money, vouchers would be cost effective for them, as the money comes straight back and might even encourage more purchases from the reviewer. Personally, I am not affected either way, as I cannot imagine ever being in this catergory anyway.

Posted on 13 May 2010 08:57:03 BDT
Damaskcat says:
I have no idea whats going on! wrote: ''If I think about these "negative votes" it puts me off writing what I really think''

Why? I can't see why getting negative votes would put you off writing what you really think. My reviews are my opinions - if people don't like them then that's just tough!! I can't be friends with everyone

Posted on 13 May 2010 21:51:44 BDT
Nick Brett says:
Are you lot seriously not getting paid? Amazon give me my payments as credits against any product being sold by them as long as I keep in the top 100 reviewers (please vote helpful on some of my reviews, I need the money).

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2010 00:34:28 BDT
N. Brett's, is that really true or are you just trying to wind them up, it's not difficult. I have posted on this discussion earlier, but not for being in the top 100 or ever getting there. Think I am 1 million and something. I just don't like getting negative votes for totally innocuous reviews. That's what you get for being too sensitive!

Damaskat, I admire your "I don't care what anyone thinks" etc., the negative vote just seems somehow spiteful or something. I must get more insensitive like everyone else. SO YOU DON'T LIKE ME REVIEW, WELL TOUGH S**T!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2010 00:39:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 May 2010 01:47:34 BDT
Misfit says:
What? You get paid? You don't do it for the love of books and reading? For shame N. Brett.

All kidding aside, I think paying reviewers would open up a can of worms Amazon doesn't want. There's enough hoopla in .com land over Harriet and the like getting free books by the truckload and posting glowing reviews. US Bloggers are now required to disclose their sources (although Harriet does not do so on her many blogs), and .com's review guidelines now *suggest* that reviewers disclose if a book was received free from the publisher.

Personally, I'm happy to be a *library girl* for the most part (I do get a few vine books and/or ARC's from publishers but not that many). I like the ability to come to the review table without that slight taint of favoritism.

Posted on 14 May 2010 06:37:52 BDT
Danny says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2010 09:38:14 BDT
JJG says:
She's not what I had in mind for my Amazonian fantasy...

Posted on 14 May 2010 11:31:41 BDT
Damaskcat says:
I Have No idea Whats Going On! - Why should I get upset if people don't like my opinions? My opinions aren't me and I don't know the people who vote for or against my reviews. The new system has eliminated the vast majority of malicious votes so why bother about the rest when they represent people's genuine opinions which are just as valid as mine? What I'm trying to say is if you care about negative feedback as much as you appear to then you'd be better off not reviewing.
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Initial post:  9 May 2010
Latest post:  4 May 2011

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