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Credit for writing reviews when nobody else has?


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Initial post: 9 Jul 2011 22:34:15 BDT
I would like to write many reviews on products I feel strongly about but what's the point if there are already 100 reviews on the product? Therefore, I've decided only to write a review if there are very few or no existing reviews and the information I give genuinely adds to the buying process. Is ranking of reviewers taking this into account?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2011 03:33:24 BDT
Eleni says:
Reviews for products with no existing reviews are extra valuable and it is a great idea to focus on these products, but I don't see why you should stop reviewing other products as well, especially if you feel strongly about them.
I don't think that these reviews have any special affect on ranking. If the product you are reviewing has no reviews because it was recently released, you might get a lot of votes and that can help with your ranking. If the product has no reviews because it isn't popular, you probably won't get many votes as only a few people will read your reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2011 07:20:58 BDT
Molly Brown says:
It does seem pointless to add yet another review to a product with, say 100 reviews already, however, a new review can pick up votes, firstly the system used of placing a 0 of 0 review above other reviews that have negative votes. I also find when I am looking at a product that is ten years old or older, I will go to the most recent review first, for an up to date one. So it can work to your advantage and is not necessarily pointless. Many older reviews may not be as helpful, and might refer to the product as it WAS ten years ago.

Posted on 10 Jul 2011 07:37:16 BDT
Ethereal says:
And then you can be one of the few to give a product a review but then it becomes more popular, as happened to mine when the book was picked up for an Orange shortlist.
You can't predict what will happen so writing reviews should be done for their own sake and not what you might get out of it IMO.

Posted on 10 Jul 2011 08:15:45 BDT
Absolutely! Personally, I'm not interested at all in rankings, I was just curious how the system works. Some people must be pretty dedicated to write hundreds of reviews. My point is really, what makes a review useful? For me, i want to know product information such as content, quality, booklets, packaging format (i like big boxsets!) and perhaps comparison with the artist's other work. There seeems to me to be many excellent reviewers out there but they are buried underneath thousands of poor, subjective reviews which tell you nothing about the product but show only that the reviewer is a fan. Therefore, could amazon redress this problem?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2011 08:45:21 BDT
Damaskcat says:
Reviews by definition are subjective because they are the reviewer's personal opinion of a product. There can never be an objective review of a book for example.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jul 2011 09:05:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jul 2011 10:03:48 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Perfect example Mrs J.
Opinions, and attitudes can alter too over a product. Something that was not regarded highly a decade ago, or even a couple of years ago can become popular. There is, also, as TC says, the sheer satisfaction of writing a good review, even if it is buried. After all, that's why many of us start reviewing in the first place I would imagine.

Posted on 22 Aug 2011 10:51:17 BDT
jannert says:
I totally agree with Jalna and the Collector here. There seems to be a huge preoccupation on these Amazon forum sites with reviewer 'rankings' etc, when the review itself is what should be truly helpful. Why should you care how many people agree/disagree with you, or care how many folks might like or dislike an item? What you want to know, when reading a review, is what the item is like. Surely then, you can make up your own mind whether or not to buy it? Folks should not become so obsessed with majority opinion!

Posted on 22 Aug 2011 18:13:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Aug 2011 17:29:16 BDT
The Truth says:
Collectore:
Interesting thread - and its refreshing to get a fresh perspective on thing. As has been mentioned, coming late to the party can indeed be helpful if you're into the whole review thing - because once the initial negging has moved on to newer products your review will sit at the top and slowly gather helpful votes... and interestingly enough, no negatives.

Jannert:
You are right to a degree - but it is also fair to say that if you want to know what an item is like - you want to read the best reviews... that is to say, not ones that the Amazon voting systems say are the best due to twisted voting patterns.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Aug 2011 16:25:01 BDT
As has been pointed out, some products attacts maybe 50 reviews or more. People are only going to read the first 5 or 6 at most; so will only read the highest ranked reviews. Ranking influences what reviews you read.

Posted on 23 Aug 2011 17:35:40 BDT
The Truth says:
Rosy:
Hooray! MOL/LOL... it's you!

I wondered were you were, as I hadn't seen you on here and it's hard to keep in touch now Amazon got rid of our secret communiqué tool:-D

I'm glad you're still hanging about the forum :-)

I didn't realise this was you... The TRF is suddenly a much nicer place to be. More rosey somehow :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Sep 2011 19:39:03 BDT
L. Power says:
The Collector:

About a year ago, I was approached by a research group working for Amazon, checking into why people review a product when then are already hundreds of reviews. I had written a review on a product that had more than 500 reviews already.

This made me think. Obviously, if you review a hot item, and you're not among the first reviewers, your review will not be on the products front page for long, and unless it is acknowledged soon by other customers will disappear very quickly, perhaps never to be seen again.

Most of the products I review have less than 100 reviews when I post, the average may be 35 to 50.
The fewer the number of reviews, the more likely your review is to be seen. The greater the number of reviews the less likely your review is to be selected. At least one review I posted was on a book with hundreds of reviews already, and took years to become the top 3, so there can be merit in it.

Let's say you do review a product which has a hundred reviews, but none within 3 months, and the first 10 reviews go back a year, then you have a year in the window to make an impression, and if you get enough votes in that time, then your review may become the top review.

Whether you make a big splash in a small pond, or a small splash in a big pond, that is a constant dilemma for a reviewer.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2011 08:39:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Sep 2011 08:40:53 BDT
But surely the scenario you are portraying is entirely unrealistic. People do not look at Amazon to see which items have no reviews and buy that item, so they can review it.

In the real world, people buy products they want or need and in some cases are enthused enough by that product, to want to share how good they think it is. Or conversely, they have a bad experience and want to warn other people against buying it.

At no point in the buying process do people think about how many reviews there are on Amazon. It would be ridiculous to buy an inferior kettle for example : simply because there are no reviews on Amazon. That does not happen : people buy the kettle because it suits their requirements and its price is within their budget. At no point does the number of reviews on Amazon affect this decision.

Similarly, nobody is going to read through a dull and boring book on a subject in which they have no interest, just because there are no reviews on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2011 08:51:15 BDT
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Posted on 7 Sep 2011 09:37:49 BDT
jannert says:
Hi Kenneth Joseph - I agree with what you've said.

However, it's a sad fact that I usually don't buy items which have NO reviews onsite -- especially electronic items such as kettles, etc. Unless I'm very attracted to that particular item, I usually move on to another similar item which has gained several detailed, positive reviews, before spending my money.

Of course with things like books, DVDs, etc, I make up my own mind. But other items, especially big-ticket items, it helps to have at least one detailed, positive review. Conversely, if an item has hundreds of reviews ...well, what's the point?

Basically, if you happen to buy an item which has not been reviewed yet, it's helpful to other buyers if you write one.

If, on the other hand, there are already zillions of reviews for the item onsite, you really shouldn't bother writing another one, unless you have an extremely unique point to make! There are only so many hours in the day, and folks really don't have time to wade through 100 positive reviews before deciding to buy (or not to buy) an item. Do they?

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2011 19:40:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Sep 2011 17:46:03 BDT
L. Power says:
Kenneth Joseph:

My point which you seem to overlook, is reviewing where there are "hundreds" of reviews already.

If there are hundreds of reviews, then whatever needs to be said has probably already been said, and the likelihood is you would be reiterating what has already been said, which does not help other customers or do anything to improve your ranking if that's what you want.

This has got nothing to do with the reasons you give which are all valid.

You said:" But surely the scenario you are portraying is entirely unrealistic. People do not look at Amazon to see which items have no reviews and buy that item, so they can review it."

That is not the scenario I portrayed. I did not suggest that people seek to buy items with no reviews and then review them, such as in your example a kettle. In fact, I never mentioned in my post about posting where there are no reviews. I did not suggest or recommend buying products where there are no reviews. I also did not suggest or recommend not buying products where there are no reviews.

You say:people buy the kettle because it suits their requirements and its price is within their budget. At no point does the number of reviews on Amazon affect this decision.

I can say that when I buy a product the number of reviews does affect my decision. All other things being equal with comparative products, ratings and price, I would be swayed to buy the product with more reviews.

You say:"Similarly, nobody is going to read through a dull and boring book on a subject in which they have no interest, just because there are no reviews on Amazon."

I agree with you, and I think you can agree I never made a comment about zero reviews in my comment. If someone desires to buy a product with no reviews just to post an Amazon review, I think there may be something wrong with that.

I own many products which have no amazon reviews. Sometimes I don't bother reviewing those because while the products are good they may not be popular, and it may be as much a waste of time as reviewing products that already have hundreds or thousands of review.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 08:34:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Sep 2011 08:36:11 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 09:55:59 BDT
"Is ranking of reviewers taking this into account? "

Reviewer rankings can only take into account the reviews that exist. What do you think they should do?

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 09:59:45 BDT
"what makes a review useful? "

Because people all have different needs, it isn't possible to write a review that satisfies everybody. Just write reviews of the kind you like to read and you'll at least satisfy yourself and people who think like you.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 10:02:28 BDT
If people write helpful reviews and enough of them, rankings will reflect that to some extent. There can never be a truly fair ranking system, hence all the arguments.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 10:04:44 BDT
"People are only going to read the first 5 or 6 at most;"

While that is often true, I occasionally get comments on old reviews that are well and truly buried. People do not all behave the same,

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 10:14:58 BDT
"People do not look at Amazon to see which items have no reviews and buy that item, so they can review it."

Wrong. For example, I don't have the kind of money I once did to spend on the things I'd like. I have to choose between many desirable alternatives. One way of narrowing the choice is price, because I can buy more stuff if I buy cheaply. Another way of narrowing the choice is reviewability, because reviewing is part of the pleasure for me. If I want something badly enough, or if it is cheap enough, I won't worry about reviewability if I can afford it, so I sometimes review stuff that already has hundreds of reviews. However, I often take reviewability into account when deciding what to buy.

"At no point in the buying process do people think about how many reviews there are on Amazon. It would be ridiculous to buy an inferior kettle for example : simply because there are no reviews on Amazon."

It would indeed be silly to buy inferior stuff just because there are no reviews, but I don't do that as I just explained. Then again, if I bought and reviewed a few inferior products, I would improve my quota of critical reviews and that would please people who think I don't do enough of them.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 10:20:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Sep 2011 10:36:32 BDT
"if an item has hundreds of reviews ...well, what's the point? "

I consider my reviews in part to be a statement about me and what I like. People who follow my reviews can therefore see the full range of my tastes. If I only review the obscure stuff, it would present a distorted picture. I know that the popular stuff won't be likely to get many votes unless I am quick off the mark, but that's the way the system is.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 10:26:54 BDT
"I own many products which have no amazon reviews. Sometimes I don't bother reviewing those because while the products are good they may not be popular,"

My success on Amazon with obscure products, and not just in the UK, is proof that obscure and semi-obscure products are worth reviewing. Evem if they don't attract votes, they sometimes attract nice comments that are rewarding in themselves.

Popular products do not need reviews to attract sales to the extent that obscure products do. That's why authors desperately seek out Amazon reviews. One review can be so important to get sales going.

My motto is - if you don't post the review, you can't know if it is a waste of time or not to review it.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2011 10:34:08 BDT
"for people to review a product; first they have to have bought that product. "

No they don't. They can borrow it from a library, from family, from friends, from work or anywhere else. Alternatively, they may recieve it as a gift or acquire it via the Vine program. None of these involve buying.

"It's a simple fact that people buy popular products and not unpopular products."

It's not that simple. By definition, most people follow the herd and buy whatever is popular. Those who are more discerning, or whose tastes are not mainstream, look elsewhere. Also, popularity is mostly ephemeral. A lot of the stuff that I review is old music, some of which used to be popular but isn't now.
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Participants:  13
Total posts:  66
Initial post:  9 Jul 2011
Latest post:  18 Sep 2011

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