Does Reviewer Quality Matter?
You can buy almost anything online these days — hotel reservations, books, movies, etc. — but how much does reviewer quality matter to online shoppers? A lot, according to research from Anindya Ghose and Panagiotis G. Ipeirotis. In a previous paper, the pair noticed that “demand for a hotel increases if the online reviews on TripAdvisor and Travelocity are well-written, without spelling errors; this holds no matter if the review is positive or negative.” In a more recent paper, Ghose and Ipeirotis find similar trends for products on Amazon.com.
Even more fascinating, Ipeirotis writes on his blog that:
An online retailer noticed that indeed products with high-quality reviews are selling well. So, they decided to take action. They used Amazon Mechanical Turk to improve the quality of its reviews. Using the Find-Fix-Verify pattern, they used Mechanical Turk to examine a few millions of product reviews. (Here are the archived versions of the HITs: Find, Fix,Verify… and if you have not figured out the firm name by now, it 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!
While I do not know the exact revenue improvement, I was told that it was substantial.
(HT: Marginal Revolution)