Author Topic: Review glitch portends algorithm change?  (Read 233 times)

Joe Vasicek

Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« on: February 17, 2020, 03:01:34 PM »
When I log into my Author Central account to check my latest reviews, it only shows two pages, and the most recent one is from 2017. At first, if I clicked the "next" button, the true second page would show up, with sixty some other pages… but then I tried the other sorting options, and it went back. Also, it's not showing all of my reviews up to 2017: only a few of them.

Amazon recently published a research paper that suggests some of the changes they're planning to roll out (possibly including product categorization) may involve customer reviews. Also, this paper from August 2019 suggests that they're trying to fix the broken review system.

Could this glitch portend an algorithm change to the review system, or is author central only broken for me?
 
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B. Anés Paz

Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2020, 05:32:20 PM »
When I log into my Author Central account to check my latest reviews, it only shows two pages, and the most recent one is from 2017. At first, if I clicked the "next" button, the true second page would show up, with sixty some other pages… but then I tried the other sorting options, and it went back. Also, it's not showing all of my reviews up to 2017: only a few of them.

Amazon recently published a research paper that suggests some of the changes they're planning to roll out (possibly including product categorization) may involve customer reviews. Also, this paper from August 2019 suggests that they're trying to fix the broken review system.

Could this glitch portend an algorithm change to the review system, or is author central only broken for me?

Interesting read, thanks. Are we surprised though? It still boggles my mind that Amazon bought Goodreads and pushes it as the "book place" but doesn't use nice heavy chains to bind their store to Goodreads. There really shouldn't be a split in reviews; either Goodreads and Amazon reviews should be 1:1 across both sites or remove the ability to vote on Amazon and link to Goodreads when someone tries to leave a review, or just send it automatically to Goodreads.

Seems like Goodreads usually results in more and better reviews when they do come in, and that's where I go to read book reviews, not an Amazon page.

But you're right, the review system is kind of broken right now. Actually, a lot of things seem broken, as Alley said... It'll be interesting to see what changes Amazon comes up with over the next decade, if any.
 

Gerri Attrick

Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2020, 12:43:49 AM »
Author Central.com seems seriously borked right now. I've always found the ranking feature next to useless, it is so laggy, and now the reviews are, as you say, glitchy. I have 20 books and it is only showing reviews for the first one I published back in 2011. If I select any of the others from the drop down menu, it says there are no reviews.

I wish Amazon would get its act sorted on this review/ratings issue. It's annoying for AC to report 12 (say) reviews on a book, when the product page says 10 reviews and 12 ratiings.  I wouldn't be surprised to see them scrap AC altogether.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2020, 01:23:01 AM »
I wouldn't be surprised to see them scrap AC altogether.

That won't happen. Too many things are linked to it. Especially author home pages listing all their books.

I just checked, and it seems fine to me. But I had to click on 'Full' to get all 1701 reviews.

The default display is 'short' and only had 48, mostly from the same couple of quite old books.

Click 'Full' and see what happens.
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2020, 01:47:01 AM »
When I log into my Author Central account to check my latest reviews, it only shows two pages, and the most recent one is from 2017. At first, if I clicked the "next" button, the true second page would show up, with sixty some other pages… but then I tried the other sorting options, and it went back. Also, it's not showing all of my reviews up to 2017: only a few of them.

Amazon recently published a research paper that suggests some of the changes they're planning to roll out (possibly including product categorization) may involve customer reviews. Also, this paper from August 2019 suggests that they're trying to fix the broken review system.

Could this glitch portend an algorithm change to the review system, or is author central only broken for me?

Interesting read, thanks. Are we surprised though? It still boggles my mind that Amazon bought Goodreads and pushes it as the "book place" but doesn't use nice heavy chains to bind their store to Goodreads. There really shouldn't be a split in reviews; either Goodreads and Amazon reviews should be 1:1 across both sites or remove the ability to vote on Amazon and link to Goodreads when someone tries to leave a review, or just send it automatically to Goodreads.

Seems like Goodreads usually results in more and better reviews when they do come in, and that's where I go to read book reviews, not an Amazon page.

But you're right, the review system is kind of broken right now. Actually, a lot of things seem broken, as Alley said... It'll be interesting to see what changes Amazon comes up with over the next decade, if any.
I suspect the reason Amazon doesn't try to comingle Amazon and Goodreads reviews is that the scales are different. Amazon has the basic love it, like it, it's okay, don't like it, hate it descriptions for the star ratings. I don't remember the specifics, but Goodreads is more complicated, and a five is basically the same as saying, "This should have won a literary award." I've had people give me a five-star review on Amazon and a four-star on Goodreads for that very reason. Also, a three-star is a positive rating on Goodreads and a negative on Amazon. There's no way to accurately rescale the old Goodreads reviews, so the two systems shouldn't be combined. They aren't comparable.


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Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2020, 01:53:59 AM »
Author Central.com seems seriously borked right now. I've always found the ranking feature next to useless, it is so laggy, and now the reviews are, as you say, glitchy. I have 20 books and it is only showing reviews for the first one I published back in 2011. If I select any of the others from the drop down menu, it says there are no reviews.

I wish Amazon would get its act sorted on this review/ratings issue. It's annoying for AC to report 12 (say) reviews on a book, when the product page says 10 reviews and 12 ratiings.  I wouldn't be surprised to see them scrap AC altogether.
Just the other day, I noticed different numbers of reviews listed in search results and on the product page. The discrepancy was that one showed the actual reviews and the other showed reviews plus ratings.

The thing that really irks me, though, which I reported in another thread, is that Amazon doesn't just weight the average (which we've known for a long time). It apparently also doctors the number of reviews of each rating to make them support the average. I noticed on a book with two five-star reviews and one one-star review. That should be 67% five-star and 33% one-star, but Amazon lists it as 48% five-star reviews and 52% one-star to match the 2.9 average it assigns to it. While I don't agree with the wisdom of weighting averages using somewhat dubious criteria, misrepresenting the actual number of reviews seems more like outright falsification. It would be noticeable on a book with so few reviews, but no customer is going to go through and count; they'll all just assume Amazon is displaying the number of reviews correctly. That probably isn't a bug, but I wish it would be changed.


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TimothyEllis

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Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2020, 01:58:16 AM »
Talking of bugs, they recently integrated international reviews with US ones, and non-review ratings as well.

There is a 100% likelihood some serious bugs were introduced because of these changes.

So the issues will probably work out as the bugs get identified and fixed. Except that Amazon's track record on bugs is about 6 months each.  :icon_mrgreen:
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Gerri Attrick

Re: Review glitch portends algorithm change?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2020, 04:24:27 AM »
Talking of bugs, they recently integrated international reviews with US ones, and non-review ratings as well.

There is a 100% likelihood some serious bugs were introduced because of these changes.

So the issues will probably work out as the bugs get identified and fixed. Except that Amazon's track record on bugs is about 6 months each.  :icon_mrgreen:

That sounds about right - and even clicking on "Full" only gives me the same five reviews for that very first book. (And it's set to All Books)

No doubt they'll fix it - eventually.