Thursday, January 5, 2012

C. Temple doesn't understand. Let's help.

Poster "C. Temple" wrote in a comment under a Klausner review:
Posted on Jan 4, 2012 7:55:18 PM PST
C. Temple says:
Two things I do not understand -
1. What purpose does a person get out of posting fake reviews? Honestly I do enjoy writing reviews but only after I finish reading the books.
2. WHy does Amazon seem to "reward" an obvious fraud?
Well, C.Temple, let's think of it. We'd have to guess 'cause they won't tell us, but what if, say, Harriet were paid under the table for posting her ever-positive blurbs? Let's be conservative and say it's, um, $20. This is beer change as far as promoting books; official review mills charge hundreds. Back-of-the-envelope reckoning follows: let's assume she dumps 250 blurbs a month (far from her peak; for exact numbers see previous post by our awesome statistician "buck210"). And so, $20 x 250 = $5,000 a month. Not shabby, is it? In yearly terms, it's $60,000. A lot of people work at honest jobs for less than that.

Your second question, why does Amazon "seem to reward" the notorious, obvious fraud Harriet Klausner? Again, Jeff Bozos didn't tell me that, but if I were to take a gander, I'd say, well, he sells stuff, and so I suppose he likes five-star reviews of the said stuff — after all, positive reviews improve sales, that's a scientific fact — see Six Degrees of Reputation: The Use And Abuse of Online Recommendation Systems by Shay David.

See? How hard was that. Of course, those are hypotheses; if you, Dear Reader, have other ideas, feel free to share, we're quite interested in alternative explanations.

A shapshot, as usual, just in case, click image for full size.

PS. Sorry, the link to David's paper seem no longer valid; I'll leave it as is in case it "comes alive", but for now, here's a google search on the paper's title and author name.

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