Amazon Review Wiki

So the original wiki for amazon reviews looked like this:

When I added my input, it looked a little something exactly like this:

Catch the difference? No? Well, maybe you should get better glasses, because I added a whole sentence. “If a review is given enough “helpful” hits, it appears on the front page of the product.” Brilliant stuff. I also changed “an optional Badging option” to “a Badging option” because an optional option is repetitive (I don’t think “Badging” is a word, but what eves).

I had thought about adding something about the unfair way “helpful” hits are often appalied to high star rated reviews, but it would be too hard to explain and it may just be my opinion of it. So yeah, there you go. I hope this has been a learning experience for all of you who read my blog posts.


My Future with Amazon Reviews

So I believe I’ve covered every technical thing I can with Amazon reviews in my previous posts. My current state on reviews is around 164,000, which is a good 2,000 lower then I was last time. This is due mostly to inactivity and no reviews added until today. Today, of course, I’ve written five more, making my review count 20 and hopefully raising my ranking just a little bot more. As before, I’ve continued to write about films and am genuinely curious if anyone else will find them helpful. Just have to wait and see, I guess.

As for my future with Amazon review, I think I’ll continue on, at least for now. My goal is to get 100 reviews in by the end of January and without school in the way, I think I’ll reach it. I also want to reach the coveted Top 500 reviewer mark. A lofty goal, I know, but for just one day I want to be placed among reviewing gods. A man can dream. I will try to go more in depth and branch out a little as well, honing my Reviewing skill until, hopefully getting more “helpful” harks to tell me what I should keep on doing.

Amazon Reviews has become a fun little hobby where I can put my general opinions of things, and people will actually read it (hopefully). I would strongly encourage people to participate in these reviews. At the very least, you could find my reviews “helpful” 🙂

Reviewing What is Reviewed and Why

I’ve done five reviews since last I posted, and my rank has been fluctuating. At first, it actually went down 1,000, but the next day went up to around 190,000. then, the day after that, it went up to 162,795. I did absolutely nothing while this was going on, and I got no more “likes”, so the only explanation is that other reviewers were lowering. The fact that it was such a huge change surprised me. I get that I’m still very low ranked, but it’s cool to see my profile rise and definitely encourages me to write more reviews. At the same time, I’m worried about getting “unhelpful” ratings, so my reviews tend to go more with the general consensus.  No, I’m not lying in my reviews. I’m choosing to review either things I agree with the majority about or things I doubt people will care if I am of a different opinion (like bank or toys). Actually, this picking and choosing of what I review is what I want to talk about in this post. Namely, who reviews what and why.

Before getting to far here, I am focusing on the people who are actually reviewing the product. Thus, Fanboys/girls, Haters, and Trolls are exempt. As for the rest, I can only give my interpretation for what things to review. For instance, a majority of my reviews are of films. This is because they are a product I feel confident in my ability to judge properly. While they aren’t as in depth as I’d like due to time constraints, I feel they give a good idea why you would or wouldn’t like a film. I give my opinion while also suggesting why you might like it. sometimes I end my review with “If you liked Herp-de-derp, you’ll like this movie” or “defiantly worth a watch”, implying that even if you don’t like it, you can still appreciate it.

I also reviewed miscellaneous items, such as Yakisoba, a Wolverine bank, and Yano. These reviews are a little less critical and focus mostly on my interactions with these items. Oddly, the Yano review is one of the three people have found helpful so far. Not sure what that says. Maybe you, dear reader, are the kind person who clicked “helpful”. either way, while looking for micellaneous things to review, I cam across some oddly critical reviews. Here is an example:

It’s a review on a kitana umbrella I own (you may have seen me with it. Doesn’t it look snazzy?). I had thought about doing one (and still may), but couldn’t think of anything to say about it. It looks cool, it works, and it’s lasted me a while. This guy or girl seems to be some sort of umbrella expert, being able to make pros and cons of this particular umbrella as if they had an ideal umbrella to compare it to. I’ve seen similar reviews of electric razors, toothbrushes, and batteries. They act as a authority figure from which we might gleam the correct opinion off of to understand the item as a whole. Now, I’m not saying their opinions are invalid or even that they are not authority figures in these “fields”. All I’m saying is it’s bizarre to me that there is someone out there who considers themselves a umbrella connoisseur.

This then leads me to my final point in this post: what I have yet to write about and why I haven’t. The most obvious answer for a lot of the stuff is simply that I don’t feel I know enough about the item to be able to write a legitimate review. That, or the thing doesn’t interest me. Shoes are a good example of this. I’m largely ignorant about computers, so rating the one I’m using right now doesn’t seem right. Finally, perhaps the biggest two reasons I haven’t broadened my review horizons very much is because I’m really not used to writing seriously about them or they take to long. I have beaten over five video games this semester ( Batman:AC, GoW3, Ghost Trick, 3h 3p 3d, Dues Ex: HR, and Super Mario Land 3ds if you were curious (and by god, you were)) , but there are so many different aspects to write about, I’m a bit overwhelmed to do it. Plus, there are already great reviews for most of those games, so writing a review with any depth seems pointless. Similarly, I have a huge collection of graphic novels that I can review (Me being a geek should be of no surprise to anyone who’s read any of my previous posts…). Again, there are so many aspects to a comic to write about and I’m so inexperienced with writing about them, I feel a little intimidated as to what to write.

I will eventually break out of this review funk, but for now I’ll stick to mostly writing about what I’m used to writing about: Films

A Look at Reviewer Ranking and “Helpful” Hits

So I’ve done a few more reviews since last I posted and have gotten slightly higher in my ranking. As of this posting, I’m 251,615, over 200,000 uh…places (?) higher the I was before. Interestingly, none of this is do to the big “Cyber Monday” deals on Amazon that gave my reviews more exposure. I did not rank up at all that week. Instead, it is mostly due to two things: I added four more reviews and got two more “Helpful”s. That’s all.

While I understand my ranking still isn’t very high, it rose considerably with those two things. It’s true that I added more info to my profile, such as where I am located, my birthday, and a very small bio (so far, I have not been murdered despite giving this info), but the “rules” Amazon gives says nothing about that helping my rank. The rules, however, are very vague and confusing. Here they are:

What does it mean “the more recently a review was written, the greater it’s impact”? Does that mean I’m going to go down over time as my reviews get older, or that as long as I have one recent review, I’ll rise in rank? And how does it decide that a ballet box is stuffed? you can’t rate your own reviews, so it isn’t that obvious. I am perplexed.

But ignoring the intricacies, it’s clear that the most important part of reviewer ranking is “helpful” hits. I am always very flattered when someone says my reviews are helpful. It may not be a big deal, but it is sort validation of how well I write as a reviewer. Of course, this feeling of flattery is slightly lessened when I see the “helpful bias” people have. by this, I mean the bias people have of finding reviews that are basically congruent with their own. OK, maybe that doesn’t make any sense. Here is are two examples found next to each other. They are reviews for the film “Plague Dogs” (which, if you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s uber depressing :)! ) :

Now, I hope I don’t come off as a snob when I say these reviews really, really suck. Really. I may have some bad grammar, but these are worse. My reviews may not be the most deep or probing, but these say practically nothing of worth. They say it’s sad….? Yet, despite the suckeyness of the reviews, they both got a “helpful” hit. Clearly, someone was going down the line of reviews and hitting “helpful” on all the positive high stared ones.

This calls into question the amount of weight these “helpful” hits carry. I would actually like it if the people hitting “helpful” had to write why they found it helpful. I suppose there would be a problem there, as then there might then need to be a “Was this explanation of why the review was helpful helpful?” button and then one for that and so on into infinity. Still, it would be nice to know what the people hitting “helpful” are thinking.

In the end, I guess what I’m talking about in this post is, again, the legitimacy of the reviews and more importantly reviewer ranking on Amazon. That, as well as begging you to find my reviews helpful and not “not helpful”. Or at least read them. That would be great! Here, again, is a link to my profile.

Additional Amazing Amazon Activities

While the crux of my Practicum assignment lies with the reviews of specific items, Amazon’s use of Knowledge-based participation doesn’t just end there. It also uses lists, message boards, and social networking sites to help users “get the word out” on things to recommend. While pretty self-explanatory, here is a slightly deeper description of each of these things and how well I’ve seen them work:

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The Interweb Super Highway!

So, this is going to be a pretty boring and dull post, mostly because I did nothing spectacular on the web today. For this reason, I’ll cut off my post here! Read the rest of this entry »

The Man vs The People

Before this assignment, I had never used Hulu in my life. I had known the basics about it, but never had a reason to use it. The Show I ended up watching was a new episode of The Simpsons entitled “The Food Wife” (It was actually a pretty funny episode, confirming the rumor that the show is getting back to being good).  Along with the show I was “treated” to ads for beer, cars, and a extremely bad looking new sitcom.  I think the episode was interrupted 3 or 4 times, with the terrible looking new series making up a majority of the commercials. The image quality was great and the video ran smoothly. Read the rest of this entry »