How Many Reviews Are Too Many?

| Does the 3,250th review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows have any influence on an Amazon customer? An Economist article says it does. In fact, says the article, the more online reviews a product has, the more likely people are to buy it. If reviewers know the reviews they write have influence, it may help answer Levitt’s earlier question: Why do so many people post reviews on Amazon? So what motivates blog readers, whose comments often number in the 100’s on this blog? One Freakonomics reader, Conor Lennon, recently emailed to say that he rarely bothers posting a comment unless he knows it will show up on the first page of comments (there are only 25 comments per page). He wonders if other commenters on this blog feel the same. [%comments]


C. Larity

FIRST!

What was the question?

Quin

Yes we do.

Ben

Generally, I only comment if the topic is of real interest to me and if I feel I have something to add that could further the discussion.

Being on the first page helps ensure that my opinion will become part of the dialogue, but I'm okay with the second. From the third page on, returns seem to diminish.

Also: First page!

mkl

I think 17th is the one that goes over the bar of too many.

Bucky

I agree with Conor Lennon. At a certain point, nobody is going to read your comment, so it's not worth the effort. The person who posts comment #387 in a thread (I usually stop reading after the first 20 or so) may really want to get something off their chest and have no other way to do it, but to me, it seems kinda pointless. You could have the absolute definitive comment on an issue, but once it's buried that deep, you may as well just keep it to yourself . . .

Fred T.

Oftentimes, I judge a product at Amazon based on how many reviews it has.

For instance, if a product has 10 reviews and a 4.5 rating, I'm not as inclined to buy it compared to a competing product with 500 reviews and a 4.0 rating. And a product with 5,000 reviews and a 4.0 rating is likely going to get my attention more than the 500 review product.

Basically, the more reviews there are, the more the product has been vetted and the more likely the rating (and comments) are reflective of the actual product and not just what the zealots have to say.

Lorenz

well, if it shows up on the first page or now, the main incentive is often the discussion that involves around the comments imho

Michael Bishop

The article did not say that the 3,250th review would increase sales. Even if their was an association between reviews and sales at these high numbers, the causation probably runs more the other direction. The article did find causality when the number of reviews is small.

Jesse

It's definitely no fun commenting when too many other people have. Unless there's a competition going, there's usually no reason to think anyone will read the comment, and it's harder to track through all the comments to see if your point has already been made. I don't have a strict limit, but usually if one or two pages of comments have already been made, I hold back unless I (think I) have a real nugget.

Jonathan Baird CFP(R)

yep, my limit is about 20 or 30. Anymore than that and I don't comment.

Michael S.

I wasn't going to post, but then I realized I could be on the first page.

I agree with Connor though. I rarelyl post a comment on a blog unless I know it will be one of the first.

Jay Stevens

...which is a long way of saying that some folks feel the "cost" of being buried in the comments is worth the "pay" of the ability to comment...the more prestigious or well-read the source (like, the NYTimes), the more likely commenters are willing to be buried...or something...

doug

Yes we do, also.

Jonathon

I find that most comment threads devolve into something petty within the first 100 comments. If there's still anything interesting to say by that point, it's usually drowned out by the crazy people who somehow end up personally offended by anyone else's opinion.

Jonathon

I find that most comment threads devolve into something petty within the first 100 comments. If there's still anything interesting to say by that point, it's usually drowned out by the crazy people who somehow end up personally offended by anyone else's opinion.

Trevor L

Yes--I only post if I can get on the first page. And even that hasn't gotten me a book deal.

Carrie

I comment whenever I am really interested in the topic- even if I'm the 80th. Although, I'm also the type who skims the comments until they hit 250 or so.

Peter T

If I ever feel like giving up on reading the comments and just skipping to the end, I don't bother because I know most other people will do the same. That is unless the author is asking for a direct response in the comments.

Jackie

I only post if I have something relevant to say about the OP. If there are more than 3 pages on this blog however, I won't post. Chances are someone else said something similar enough to my point.

BSK

I do. Often after the first few posts, the conversation is at a point where it's too hard or too late to add anything meaningful. Most people read the first few and then respond, unless engaged in a specific back and forth