Sunday, October 26, 2008

Comment on New Amazon Reviewer Ranking System

I just happened to notice a change to my reviews page. If you look at the image on the left, you'll see two numbers: "New Reviewer Rank: 481" and "Classic Reviewer Rank: 434". I found the following explanation:

You may have noticed that we've recently changed the way top reviewers are ranked. As we've grown our selection at Amazon over the years, more and more customers have come to share their experiences with a wide variety of products. We want our top reviewer rankings to reflect the best of our growing body of customer reviewers, so we've changed the way our rankings work. Here's what's different:

  • Review helpfulness plays a larger part in determining rank. Writing thousands of reviews that customers don't find helpful won't move a reviewer up in the standings.

  • The more recently a review is written, the greater its impact on rank. This way, as new customers share their experiences with Amazon's ever-widening selection of products, they'll have a chance to be recognized as top reviewers.

  • We've changed the way we measure review quality to ensure that every customer's vote counts. Stuffing the ballot box won't affect rank. In fact, such votes won't even be counted.

We're proud of all our passionate customer reviewers and grateful for their investment of time and energy helping other Amazon customers.

On my overall profile page I found a second statistic, shown at left, which says that 90% of my votes are considered "helpful." That's cool! I appreciate any helpful votes I get. It's the main feedback for reviews I write so I am glad anytime I see someone logged into who votes for my reviews.

Apparently you shouldn't vote too often for me, because under the new system you're considered a fan voter and ignored!

Fan voters are people who consistently appreciate the author's reviews. These votes are not reflected in the total vote count to provide our customers with the most unbiased and accurate information possible.

Right now I have 131 "fan voters," so that's another reason my ranking dropped from 434 to 481.

The proof for me, however, regarding the new ranking system would be the effect on someone I know writes a dozen or more "reviews" per day, most of which I consider worthless. 4437 "reviews" (i.e., books read) since October 2002? That's two books per day -- no way! As you can see on the right, this person has fallen from the number 11 system using the Classic Ranking, down to 521. Ha ha.

Looking at the profile statistic, you can see a 75% rating. That's higher than I expected, but it definitely had an effect on the overall ranking. I think what really hurt this guy is his "fan voter" count: 892. I have a feeling believes these fans are fake accounts under the control of the reviewer, so has decided to just ignore them. For someone like Mr. 521 with "892 fans," I could see how that would affect his rank.

There's a hot debate in the forums about this topic now. Some people are really bent out of shape over these changes. Take it easy -- it's just


james said...
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Dan W. Bridges said...

Reviewer rank: 1,656,155
what does that mean??