Author Topic: Amazon needs to handle reviews better  (Read 509 times)

Bill Hiatt

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Amazon needs to handle reviews better
« on: March 06, 2019, 03:39:36 AM »
I was browsing movies today and wondered why the the Anniversary edition of My Fair Lady was getting so many one-star reviews, so I looked.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that several of them were actually reviews of chargers for an Apple watch.  :shrug One review like that could be the reviewer posting to the wrong place by accident. That there were several suggests that Amazon is aggregating the reviews incorrectly. (I remember on the other place a thread posted by someone with a bunch of book reviews describing how the product got their teeth clean.)

Most of the other one-star reviews were complaints about a specific version of the movie--but in most cases they wouldn't be applicable to the current product, which was just released. Most of them are a year or more old and complain about incorrect region labeling, poor audio/video transfer, poor service from 3rd party sellers, etc.

With regard to the second problem, Amazon needs to distinguish between reviews of the technical aspects of the product and reviews of the product's content. It's not that a complaint a DVD won't play isn't relevant, but those need to be segregated from the content reviews. Also, they need to be tagged more clearly, so that reviews of completely different editions, in some cases even by different companies, don't all get lumped together. While this problem isn't as likely to occur for books, there are situations, documented in another thread, in which paperbacks get printed with pages missing. A one-star review focused on that kind of technical issue, over which the author has no control and which has nothing to do with the content of the book, needs to be handled separately, as do delivery complaints and other kinds of things.

Of course, people actually reading the reviews will notice these kinds of discrepancies. Star-counters, however, may bypass a product without even knowing some of the reviews were based on something other than content, and people filtering searches by average rating may not see the product at all.

On a different, but still review-related note that will make some of you smile if you've gotten bad reviews recently, The Favourite, with all kinds of award wins and nominations, currently has a 2.2 average on Amazon. The film is apparently quirky and has sexual content to which some viewers would object, so I can see why it would have attracted divergent reviews. As writers, our works are likely to attract divergent reviews as well, especially if we experiment with creative approaches. Unfortunately, we don't have universally recognized awards or sources of critical opinion to balance customer reviews with another perspective. (The Favourite has a metacritic score of 90 on IMDB.) Sure, we can pay for editorial reviews, but that's not quite the same thing. This probably isn't a solvable problem, but it would be nice if there were a way for books to get the benefit of a wider range of opinions. (Of course, there are movies and trad published books that do really well with customer reviews but not as well with critics. However, in those cases I'm guessing the creators wipe their tears as they go to the bank.) :cheers


« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 05:01:06 AM by Bill Hiatt »

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Re: Amazon needs to handle reviews better
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2019, 11:57:57 AM »
It should be possible for Amazon to separate book reviews by version number. And this would be important too. A lot of first time authors get bad reviews for editing and proofreading mistakes, which get fixed later, but still remain prominent on the review list when no longer the case. Likewise a 2nd edition, where the book has been re-edited completely, should not be showing all the original editing issues reviews at the top. Putting reviews made after the most recent edition was uploaded, and then sorting them down the list by edition number, would give readers a much better idea of the book. As well as proving the author does fix problems, and so any goofs in the next one are likely to be fixed.

I'd like to see this happen.
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