Thursday, 6 October 2011

Review My Review

So, I have a thought... I've not tried this out yet, neither am I tempted to pander to the idiots I believe are doing this... but I'm going to express my opinion here... I am an Amazon Vine reviewer; in case you don't know us Vine Reviewers get a montly list of products offered to us to try to Amazon to drum up some reviews and interest in the items, we get the items free and are asked to read/listen to/use and post a review back about them.  You become a Vine programmer member by invitation only.  I'm not aware what Amazon's criteria are, one day I had an invitation e-mail arrive and I accepted, since then I have tried books, CD's, some head phones and a water jet dental flossing system.

Now, most of my reviews are really about my impression of the item, I like some items and I don't like others.  A couple of the books I've had have been excellent and my reviews reflect that.  But I've noted that some items are pretty rubbish whilst others are middle of the road.  My Scores reflect that.

I feel that the removal of the pressure as to whether I bought the item, and the embarressment that I bought something and its crap, being removed has lead me to give more constructive and insightful reviews.  Some of the items I've had I've not liked, they have negative reviews, and some of the items I've had have has positive reviews...

Yet the number of people who find my reviews helpful is destressingly bizarre.  It seems when I get a product people like they roughtly 50/50 agree with me, pharoh nuff, but when I, and a gaggle of others detest an item; and say so clearly with defined parameters, examples and use cases; our feedback is given negative responses.

The dental flosser seems to be such an article, when I wrote my review for it, it had no other feedback, I was one of the first fice commentators, I posted my one star negative review and went to bed, I got up next morning and there were four more one star negative reviews and a couple of two stars... all seemed right and everyone of those reviews tallied somewhat with my own experience.

Then I noted the rating of my review was marked as a negative review, not useful, and there was a five star review in its place.  This item had no reviews, hence no sales, just vine reviewers... a bunch of vine reviewers found the item bad, one found it good, but their review gets a positive feedback, whilst ours all get negative... "0 out of 1 people found this helpful" on mine... "1 out of 1 people found this helpful" on their strange "This is awesome" style review... I'm not disagreeing that that person found the item useful, and that their review has any less merit than mine or all the others...

But a detailed, insightful, presented review with use cases and my specific points of failure, along with the few redeeming features, is marked as not helpful?  Why?

That's what I want to know, I want feedback on my feedback.

But I also want some transparency on who is giving ths "useful" ratings, should vine reviewers be able to (as it appears in this case) mark other vine reviews as not helpful?  Should only people who have bought an item on Amazon be able to review that item... or if they're not a vine reviewer; or a reviewer whom has not had that item; be able to rate the feedback of others?

These are all questions I have, as a vine reviewer I now have page after page of reviews I've posted, of the feedback on those (24 points worth) only a measily 16 people have said my reviews were helpful.  When I didn't bother with Vine and just reviewed things I got a hold of I had a much more positive number of helpful feedback points... (the points mean nothing by the way).

Might some reviewers be beign biased?

Might some be in collusion with the makers of items for review?

Might some manufacturers be getting staff to find down rating reviews not helpful to promote those with positive reviews...

In the field of PR the Amazon rating system must be a nightmare for some brands.

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