The Abuse of Online Review Systems

A very inter­est­ing art­icle flagged up by Steve Clackson over on his Sandstorm blog sug­gests that online reviews may be sub­ject to more abuse than their hosts would have us believe.

This paper reports ini­tial find­ings from a study that used quant­it­at­ive and qual­it­at­ive research meth­ods and custom–built soft­ware to invest­ig­ate online eco­nom­ies of repu­ta­tion and user prac­tices in online product reviews at sev­er­al lead­ing e–commerce sites (primar­ily We explore sev­er­al cases in which book and CD reviews were copied whole or in part from one item to anoth­er and show that hun­dreds of product reviews on might be cop­ies of one anoth­er. We fur­ther explain the strategies involved in these sus­pect product reviews, and the ways in which the col­lapse of the bar­ri­ers between authors and read­ers affect the ways in which these inform­a­tion goods are being pro­duced and exchanged.

I think this con­firms the com­mon wis­dom about Amazon reviews: take them with a pinch of salt. Unless they’re writ­ten by Debra Hamel.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

One thought on “The Abuse of Online Review Systems”

  1. Thanks for the rider!

    And for men­tion­ing the art­icle. I’m print­ing it out for a care­ful read.

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