The Hits Keep On Comin’…Amazon makes ANOTHER change (customer reviews)

space_103111_002_617x416Another Bezosteroid has landed!  Well, I don’t care. I really don’t. I lost a whole week of productivity to Amazon’s bullshit. I finally got nearly 3000 werewords this morning, so I just can’t lose focus AGAIN.

And TBH I don’t think this will hurt me. But, yeah, as if one massive change wasn’t enough, hey! Here’s another one a week later!

Enhancement to Amazon Customer Reviews
June 19, 2015 3:06 PM

Starting today, Amazon is enhancing the customer reviews system, adding a few changes we hope will help make product feedback even more useful to customers. The enhanced system will use a machine-learned model to give more weight to newer, more helpful reviews from Amazon customers.

[We probably licensed IBM’s Watson technology, or, more likely we’ve been toiling in secret on our own version to compete with it, which we’re now going to try out on you hapless authors.]

The system will continue to learn which reviews are most helpful to customers and will improve the experience over time.

[Being a new software rollout, some authors will probably wake up to see their 4.7 star titles given an overall 1 star rating overnight, as it “learns” what the fuck it’s doing.  The rest of us can only hope it screws with James Patterson or somebody whose wrath will actually matter.]

This change will present itself in two ways:

Star rating: A product’s overall star rating will now consider factors including the age of a review, helpful votes by customers, and whether reviews are from verified purchasers.
Review ranking: Similar machine-learned factors will help determine a review’s ranking in the list of reviews.

[So delightfully vague!  “Similar factors”! I’m guessing that the shortest, least detailed reviews are going to be worth bupkus.  If it even looks like a Fiverr review, it’s going in the dustbin.  The damned thing is, we’re lucky to get people who spend the time to rate our books at all, but nope, looks like every reviewer better be a Tolstoy from now on, whose eloquence inspires other readers to find their reviews helpful…

Also, advance review copies?  Well, those reviews are worth bupkus to Amazon unless your advance readers now also buy a copy on publication.]

Authors can benefit from the enhanced reviews system by actively listening to customer feedback. For example, if a book has a low star rating due to formatting or grammatical errors, the author can fix those errors, republish and see the book’s star rating improve as new reviews are more favorable. All reviews that comply with our policies will still be visible on the site.

[DUH.  What the hell is different there?  Right now, you get a shitty review for bad grammar, and you repost the book with corrections, and then people stop giving you shitty reviews for bad grammar.  What’s the New Improved Benefit there?

**EDIT OK I GET IT MATH CLASS IS HARD, the newer good review counts for more than the old bad review.  But setting aside these kinds of fixes, I still don’t get why a new review is inherently better than an old one]

We understand that some books, particularly older books, may not generate a lot of new reviews. Lack of new reviews will not devalue the old ones.

[I should hope not!  And yet, a new, bad review could kick my overall stars in the ass, right?  Because it has more weight than any of the old five star reviews? Possibly! Who knows!]

Our goal is to help customers make even more informed purchasing decisions.

[“Attention! Your attention, please! A newsflash has this moment arrived from the Malabar front. Our forces in South India have won a glorious victory. I am authorized to say that the action we are now reporting may well bring the war within measurable distance of its end…”]

Yeah, fuck it.  Tug my forelock, right you are, guvnor, back to the salt mines…

5 Comments on The Hits Keep On Comin’…Amazon makes ANOTHER change (customer reviews)

  1. They have already changed the reviewing system by asking a series of questions before you put your written review in. I don’t give a shit, going to continue to write my reviews like I want to, which is to give my feelings about how it made me feel, not detail descriptions of of character motivations, or psychology or WTF, like I see with some reviews. I want a review that tells me how you felt, what got to you when you read the book. If I want wordy analysis, I’ll go back to college

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