Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reviewing reviews

As well as posting my reviews onto the blog, I also record them on Goodreads, and put most of them up on Amazon.  I've just noticed that my Amazon reviewer ranking has fallen out of the top 1000 and had a browse of how people have rated the reviews.  86% of the 'votes' deem the reviews helpful, which means almost 1 in 6 thought them unhelpful.  Interestingly, a review of a book I gave five stars to seems just as likely to receive an unhelpful vote as a three star review.  This, I think, is good as it suggests that the review is being judged on its merits as a review, and not on how strongly is favours the book.  Or at least I hope that's what is going on giving how the reviewing system is often gamed.  It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind 'votes', not so they can be challenged (everyone after all is entitled to an opinion), but to see if there is any useful observations that might feedback into my reviewing.  Reviewers rarely get such feedback beyond 'nice review' comments - well this reviewer doesn't - but it would be incredibly useful input.  So, if you've any observations and constructive critique about my reviews, please leave a note in the comment section.  Thanks!


pattinase (abbott) said...

I think your reviews are very helpful. I don't think you can judge anything by most amazon reviews though. Apparently many are there to either prop or ruin a book. People are being paid to write reviews for everything: restaurants, movies, books. It's a cottage industry. A guy featured on the news here, wrote hundreds a day.

Sarah said...

Interesting. I think your reviews are helpful. As Patti says above, I find Amazon generally unhelpful for reviews. I prefer to come via your blog.

Anonymous-9 said...

Hiya Rob, don't discount the troll-factor of those with a vested interest to pull your ranking down. Patty has a point, and the higher you rise the more muck you attract.

I believe your reviews are written honestly and with the paramount agenda of helpfulness to readers and writers alike. I wouldn't change anything about how you review. But, in your shoes, I would look more closely at these "unhelpful" clicks and where they're coming from. Not to demonize people who have legitimate opinions, but to inquire whether there is a troll factor that can be frogmarched to the nearest off-ramp on the interweb highway.

Rob Kitchin said...

Thanks for your comments. Glad the reviews are helpful. Amazon seems appropriately named in terms of reviewing. I guess I'll keep posting things in the jungle and not worry too much about how they're received.