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Old 08-22-2011, 10:35 AM   #1
L.J. Sellers
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How Aunt Ammy Gets Her Free Lunch

(If there's another thread for this, I apologize. I haven't seen it. )

This is the title of a detailed report of a study of 166 of Amazon's top reviewers, which are typically male, middle-aged, and educated. The report also has some interesting background information about Amazon.

http://www.freelunch.me/filecabinet
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:22 AM   #2
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Thanks LJ!

I'm still reading through it, but I'm stunned...STUNNED...to see that Amazon has patented the Online Customer Review.

Edit: Also interesting -->

"70% of our respondents are male and 30% female. Given that surveys consistently show
women read more books than men, the predominance of male reviewers is highly significant."

"people who have plenty of time on their hands, namely retirees, feature prominently. 11% of our respondents describe themselves as retirees. Many of them say that reviewing for Amazon is a fulfilling retirement hobby. As one told us, “It’s a good hobby for an old retired geezer”. Clearly writing reviews is a satisfying new hobby for some retirees (several of the retirees were also retired writers and professors). Again this is a finding with some potential significance. If the predominant age profile of the reviewers is very different to the young consumers who are assumed to populate eshopping, then the experiences of significant numbers of the Amazon product reviewers are liable to be out of sync with the majority population of shoppers. For instance, it seems likely that retirees would have very different shopping habits and purchasing requirements than the rest of the population."

"90% of our respondents are located in the US and the rest are distributed between a range of countries including Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Guyana, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Japan. Most of these countries are English-speaking countries or ones with a high level of English fluency."

Last edited by RockdaMan; 08-22-2011 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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Wow, 90 pages! Looks really interesting, can I get an epub version to put on my reader?

Just kidding (sort of). I work in ecommerce and several of our sites have started doing customer reviews so I'm very interested in this. Thanks for the link.

eP
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J. Sellers View Post
(If there's another thread for this, I apologize. I haven't seen it. )

This is the title of a detailed report of a study of 166 of Amazon's top reviewers, which are typically male, middle-aged, and educated. The report also has some interesting background information about Amazon.

http://www.freelunch.me/filecabinet
I can't access the article at work, but it's worth pointing out that I'm #106 at Amazon in their reviewer ranking scale and I only fit one of those three descriptions.

MOST of Amazon reviewers are relatively anonymous. I'm skeptical that they were able to collect demographic information for 166 "top reviewers" unless they're pulling from a big pool like the "top 1000".
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
MOST of Amazon reviewers are relatively anonymous. I'm skeptical that they were able to collect demographic information for 166 "top reviewers" unless they're pulling from a big pool like the "top 1000".
The full title is:
"How Aunt Ammy Gets Her Free Lunch: A Study of the Top-Thousand Customer Reviewers at Amazon.com."

So I think that they are pretty up front and specific on that aspect.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.p.s View Post
The full title is:
"How Aunt Ammy Gets Her Free Lunch: A Study of the Top-Thousand Customer Reviewers at Amazon.com."

So I think that they are pretty up front and specific on that aspect.
Ah, thank you. (I can't access ANYTHING at work, it seems. Except Mobile Reads, thank goodness!)

I'm not terribly surprised that a majority of 15% of the top-thousand they could survey are middle-aged, male, educated, and presumably middle- or upper-class.

The review system depends a lot on getting a LOT of reviews out there and quite a few of the top reviewers got there on electronics reviews -- you do have to have a tidy disposable income in order to sample and review a lot of electronics. (Look at me: I have 4 eReaders. Spoiled much?)
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:21 PM   #7
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I have 4 eReaders.
Can I have one?
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
"70% of our respondents are male and 30% female. Given that surveys consistently show
women read more books than men, the predominance of male reviewers is highly significant."
IMO that's somewhat like pointing out that fat people eat more. Sure, but remove ice cream and donuts from that count and the disparity shrinks.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:01 PM   #9
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fat people eat more
Not always.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:06 PM   #10
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Not always.
True enough. I'm kinda fat and I don't eat a lot so much as I eat badly. And of course there are all sorts of other reasons for different folks.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:30 PM   #11
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Thanks LJ!

I'm still reading through it, but I'm stunned...STUNNED...to see that Amazon has patented the Online Customer Review.
Amazon's patent actually just covers a particular formula used to rank online reviewers. Not online reviews generally.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:56 AM   #12
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Thanks for the link. This was funny:
Quote:
Some of the gadgets reviewed are totally bizarre – for instance our most prolific reviewer has one of her most recent reviews for a remote-controlled fart machine!
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:01 AM   #13
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70% of our respondents are male and 30% female. Given that surveys consistently show women read more books than men, the predominance of male reviewers is highly significant.
This is really only interesting if you think of Amazon as a book company, or if you assume that their ranking system favors book reviews over, say, video games or computers or speakers.

There is no reason to believe that fat people eat more ice cream than skinny people. I highly recommend Linda Bacon's Health At Every Size for more discussion on the topic. I know quite a few fat vegetarians. Bodies are unique and they don't all work the exact same way -- it's not as easy as assuming that the fat person you're looking at inhales a tub of ice cream every morning.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
This is really only interesting if you think of Amazon as a book company, or if you assume that their ranking system favors book reviews over, say, video games or computers or speakers.
Very good point.

Also I retract my generalization about fat people and ice cream. It was downright silly.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:41 PM   #15
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Thanks.

There's a conspiracy theory floating around the Amazon boards that the Amazon ranking system favors electronics reviewers for a reason -- because it encourages reviews of/for and purchases of high-ticket items. (Especially since the Amazon Verified Purchase badge which encourages the REVIEWER to buy from Amazon as well. )

I don't know how much truth is in it, but it's possible.

There's also a theory that the ranking system is also tied to sales tracking -- i.e., if someone votes a review helpful and then purchases that item, the reviewer gets extra Amazon clout for making a sale. This would be easy enough to do with their current system, so again -- it's possible. And it would account for the favoring of the high-priced item reviewers.
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