High quality (not necessarily positive) reviews improve sales

Source: Behind the Enemy Lines blog, Apr 2011

Zappos uses Crowdsourcing (Amazon’s Mechanical Turk) to improve product reviews’ spelling and grammar, which in turn, improves sales.

High-quality reviews improve product sales

A well-written review tends to inspire confidence about the product, even if the review is negative. Typically, such reviews are perceived as objective and thorough. If we have a high-quality negative review this may serve as a guarantee that the negative aspects of the product are not that bad after all. For example, a negative review, such as “horrible battery life… in my tests battery lasts barely longer than 24 hours,” may be perceived as positive by other customers that consider a 24-hour battery life to be more than sufficient.

An online retailer noticed that, indeed, products with high-quality reviews are selling well. So, they decided to take action. The retailer used Amazon Mechanical Turk to improve the quality of the reviews posted on its own website. Using the Find-Fix-Verify pattern, the retailed used Mechanical Turk to examine millions of product reviews. (Here are the archived versions of the HITs: FindFixVerify. And if you have not figured out the firm name by now, the retailer is Zappos.) For the reviews with mistakes,they fixed the spelling and grammar errors! Thus they effectively improved the quality of the reviews on their website. And, correspondingly, they improved the demand for their products.

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