Friday, June 8, 2007

Amazon's New Format

Has anyone been to the discussion boards lately? Here is a statement from mirasreviews:

"It is kind of funny to see how the comments have evolved>>
What is GOING ON in Harriet's comments!!? Are you following the action? Who is that First Thing's First person? Where did he/she/it come from? Has Barbara really stopped participating? How can this possibly be good for reviews or customers? Any customer who is fool enough to put a word in gets trampled. Amazon could remove reviews from product pages entirely, and these people wouldn't notice as long as HK is still posting and Grady still gets votes.

No wonder they haven't noticed the new format. "

Anyone have a thought on the new format?

18 comments:

Stephanie said...

Here is one of the threads if anyone is interested.

http://forums.prosperotechnologies.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=am-custreview&msg=26350.1&ctx=0

Moderator said...

I'm not sure what 'mirasreviews' meant -- the new format still has comments; no change in that respect as far as I can see. Maybe he means something else? Any other new formats on Amazon? I only noticed the book page is layed-out differently now...

Stephanie said...

Here is a link to a post by Jim Robinson of Amazon. Honestly I can't see an improved book page at all. A few things have moved around, but nothing is really better.

http://forums.prosperotechnologies.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=am-custreview&msg=26301.1&ctx=0

One commenter said something like I wonder if the Harriet Trolls have even noticed? Or are they just concerned about bashing one person and not the entire system. They are so busy argueing amounst themselves they haven't even noticed the new format! I didn't qoute it because I don't have the exact words. It was made by a few people in the first thread I gave.

KG said...

Do they mean the new format where they highlight certain sentences from reviews and the chart on the front of the page?

MK said...

It's relatively unimportant and hardly anxiety-worthy, the new format. If anyone is still seeing the old format, try deleting your browser cache of temporary files, etc. That should allow you to see the new format.

I guess it is a matter of perspective, but I like the new format. Three "most influential" (whatever that means) reviews are displayed, full-text, and 10 or so single-sentence reviews occupy the side-bar. It allows one to view 10 reviews on the first page, without having to scroll around as much. If people think the relatively unchanged new format beats fake reviewers as far as earth-shaking importance is concerned, that's fine with me. I'd say Amazon did well with the new system, personally.

MK

Moderator said...

The only thing I immediately like about the new format is the statistical-summary box right on the top of the reviews.

You can click on any rating value and get all reviews with this rating displayed in isolation: that's great -- I can ignore all the five-star "REAL NAME" phoney garbage and go directly to those 1/2/3-star real readers' notes.

Otherwise it appears to be busier w/o anything of noticeable value given to me as a reader. Oh yeah, the search is good (but it's not new; some variation of it was there before).

PS. About posting long URLs: it appears that only messages (rather than comments) can handle longish URLs. So, it's useless to try to fit a real long one into the comment field: it'll get truncated no matter what. Therefore I suggest you split them into handlable sections and post one after another, one per line. I can then 're-assemble' them when pasting into the browser.

PPS. Messages, otoh, not only display URL in a usable form, but actually take HTML, which is a great feature (for example because you can post a URL of any length at all and not take any screen space).

If you need a brief reference, here's a decent place: http://www.web-source.net/html_codes_chart.htm

The tags I find myself using frequently are URL links, pictures, and unsorted list. Well, along with text formatting (italic/bold/underlined/strikethrough/etc.)

Misfit said...

MK, interesting comment you made about deleting the cache. The new format shows up fine on my home PC, but the two I use at work (yes I cheat at break time) still show the old format, I was wondering why those didn't show the new.

I mostly like the new format, and I do like the ratings chart also. We can't all have the same opinion, but it's worth checking out why someone hated a book. I don't always agree with a negative review, but there have been times when it's saved me from wasting time and money.

I also like the other books you might like that they show before the reviews, but then I've made a habit of checking out similars that Amazon throws at me, and I've found many an awesome read I might never have come across otherwise.

Stephanie said...

I don't understand what you mean by deleteing the cache. If you are saying there is a different format, then I am not able to see it. I am interested in what the rating system looks like. The reviews they show immediately, are they reviews that get a lot of helpful votes?

Misfit said...

Stephanie, I don't promise it will work, but in your browser go to tools/internet options, and then click on browsing history. I think it's options, it will check for new versions of pages anytime you browse or something like that, or you can delete your browsing history (no serious damage done if you do). Maybe that will do the trick.

The new format takes the most "popular" reviews and highlights them on the left side of page and the remaining most recent are featured smaller on the right side of the page. See if you can see it now.

Moderator said...

I think some of the book pages still remain in the old format. Converting to the new format will probably take some time.

It also seems to depend on how you get to a particular page -- for example, some of the pages show up in the new format when I find the book via Amazon Search, but the same book could show up in the old format if I get to it via a previously stored link. Or something like that.

Iow, it is true that not all book-pages show up with this new layout, that's what I mean. This is not because of cache, or at least, not only because of it.

Stephanie said...

That worked. Thanks for the help Misfit!

Misfit said...

Stephnie, now that you see the new format, what do you think?

Stephanie said...

The new format is fine. I like how, for instance, under recommendations, it has them lined across the page and shows the book covers. As far as being an inprovement, it is really just rearranged. Someone at the discussion board said that we are so busy 'bickering' that we haven't even noticed that something WAS done. Do they not understand what we are complaining about??

Barbara Delaney said...

I actually went to the discussion board, something I've sworn I would never do, because mirasreviews seemed to think I had stopped commenting. I expected to be royally flamed but I was not. One person explained to me that it doesn't matter if HK reads the books she reviews, then brought the subject of trade journals into the conversation and said how books reviewed in them are frequently unread. Another person welcomed me and said I could take part in their upcoming boycott of Amazon. They are attempting to change the format back to the old style. They are putting statements at the bottom of their reviews with addresses to send emails, asking people to write to Amazon on particular dates. It will be interesting to see how Amazon responds to their concerns.

Barbara Delaney said...

This is a rather lengthy discussion but worth taking a look at. According to the comments it seems the new format will put reviewers like Grady jfoureur Harp in an even better position due to their reliable vote gathering apparatus. Even though I've always considered the discussion boards to be the dreary location of Amazon's worst liars and bullies, it seems there are other voices as well.

I would urge you all to take a look at what's being said about the potential fallout from the new format.

Barbara Delaney said...

Sorry, here's the link:

http://forums.prosperotechnologies.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=am-custreview&msg=26301.1&ctx=0

Stephanie said...

Barbara,

I received an email from you and am just verifying that it is indeed from you??

Barbara Delaney said...

Stephanie,

It's from me. I wanted to get in touch with you.