Saturday, October 30, 2004

Am I Helpful?

If you will take a look at my Amazon page, you will see that I have reached a major milestone. After almost 3 years of writing reviews for Amazon, I have reached 1,000 helpful votes. That means that 1,000 times, someone has clicked the little "yes" button next to the question, "Was this review helpful to you?" which is underneath each of my reviews.

You might be saying, "But Amazon has millions of customers. How can 1,000 measly votes be of any significance?" All I have to say is that getting votes on Amazon is not easy. I know that people read the reviews. Authors complain about them. Professional reviewers revile them. And customers read them but ignore the vote buttons under them. And the small group of dedicated Amazon reviewers write large number of reviews, discuss votes and treasure votes and complain on their dedicated forum that no one votes. With a bit over 125 reviews on Amazon, I guess I fall into that group of dedicated reviewers.

The ranking system on Amazon is a little strange. Votes are important, obviously, but ranking isn't based just on the number of votes. How the votes are distributed across your reviews is also critical. Once you achieve a certain number of votes on one item, additional votes don't count towards your ranking, although they do count towards ego stroking. Take a look at John E. Fracisco's Page. He has almost 7,000 votes but almost all of them are for a single review, his joke review of The Story About Ping (see the bottom of his Amazon page). So even though he has more than 6 times as many votes as I do, he is ranked at almost 90,000 while I am in the top 800 Amazon reviewers. Also, too many votes from the same person either in one day or overall don't improve your ranking. Stuff the ballot box and Amazon ignores the votes.

So anyway, let me thank all the people who have found my reviews helpful, especially those who have expressed it with a vote and let me apologize to all the people who have not found my reviews helpful. To them I promise to try to do better. Finally and especially to the authors whose books I have panned all I can promise is that I try to be honest in all of my reviews.

1 comment:

Debra Hamel said...

Being swept up in my own Halloween festivities I failed to notice this milestone of yours. Congratulations!