Friday, October 24, 2008

Cracking the top 5,000

It’s actually been quite a while since I reviewed anything for Amazon — but somehow, overnight, I’ve gone from a rank of 7,740 to 4,354, cracking the exalted ranks of the top 5,000 reviewers. How is that possible? I was wondering the very same thing.

Amazon has changed the way it ranks its reviewers (it turns out that the ranks had grown rather, well, rank). Many abuses of the review system had come to light, and so Amazon decided to change how it promotes its reviewers. The Amazon Customer Review Team posted an announcement last night:

You may have noticed that we’ve recently changed the way top reviewers are ranked. [...] Here's what’s different:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 look forward to hearing what you think about our new top reviewers list.

This seems to me like a step in the right direction. As you’ll observe from the graphic above, Amazon is actually still reporting the old rank (labeled “classic”) alongside the new rank. So, whatever secret sauce they’ve thrown into the calculations seems to have cut my reviewer rank almost in half, catapulting me into the top 5,000. Hm, think I’ll celebrate by stopping by Amazon and writing a review. :)

By the way, a side-effect of these new change is that Harriet Klausman, long-time Top Reviewer (with a ridiculous 17,531 reviews written!), has dropped from the top spot down to #442. Interesting.

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