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Customer Discussions > Top Reviewers forum

Most Helpful Disappears When Most Recent Becomes the Standard

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Showing 1-19 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 6, 2012 4:42:32 PM PDT
I'm not sure I can explain this, but here goes. I have several items where my reviews have been in the top three "Most Helpful." At times, I've even updated the reviews. After 6 weeks, although the #1 Most Helpful slot remained, the next 2, 3, 10 were "lost" because the standard set by Amazon (?) became the "Most Recent." Mind you, the #1 remained even though it was 6 months old.

I don't know why this bugs me. It's not as though I'm playing a game and get to come home with a gold star or certificate of achievement (my dog will wag his tail anyway 'cause there's not a biased bone in his body). Ah, wait. It bugs me because I spend A LOT of time writing balanced, fair, and non-technical reviews.

Am I just wasting my time?


#328 yesterday; #340 today. Huh?
Your reply to Ethan Winning's post:
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 5:03:45 PM PDT
Bryan Byrd says:
Hello Ethan -

I'm not sure from your post what it is you are seeing. Are you talking about the three spotlight reviews that are prominently displayed on the product page? If so, I do not see where Amazon has replaced the most helpful with the most recent. Could it be that one of these more recent reviews simply displaced one of the older ones? Otherwise, this may be a tweak that isn't showing up on my browser.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 5:21:56 PM PDT
Enjoy your day in the sun while it lasts. Unfortunately it rains now and then.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 5:35:11 PM PDT
I'm seeing the first 3 reviews on the product page. For one camera, I have the second greatest "ratio," 116 of 120 found it helpful, but after two months, it disappeared into the 3 month old reviews unless you click "Most Helpful First." What took "my" place is a review with 2 out of 3 helpfuls after the #1 which is 201 out of 226. Yes, a more recent - but less helpful - displaced a more helpful older review.

P.S. I had answered 73 email regarding that camera, and almost started an on-line forum because of the questions. Then, when the review "disappeared," the email stopped, kind of a blessing in disguise because of how time-consuming emailing had become. But I have a blog, and added answers to the most frequently asked questions and it seemed to have served its purpose.

Still, why hide a most helpful review for a new one with 4our "votes?"

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 5:37:07 PM PDT
Oh, Rebecca, if writing reviews for Amazon is my "day in the sun," I'd hate to think what a gloomy day would be like. ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 5:51:43 PM PDT
If reviewing doesn't make you happy why do it?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 6:10:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2012 6:14:46 PM PDT
I didn't say I was unhappy, but reviewing as the be all and end all?????

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 6:28:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2012 7:36:01 PM PDT
Lynne E. says:
EAW, On the product page, a customer gets different review sorts, depending on where he/she clicks. A click on the histogram link for "xxx reviews" brings up "most helpful"; a click on the histogram "x-star" brings up "most helpful" for the reviews that awarded that number of stars.

If you scroll to the bottom of the product page, and click on "see all reviews", you get a display showing the "spotlight helpful" and "spotlight critical" reviews, followed by a list of reviews sorted by "newest first". I think that this may be the display you are looking at that makes you think your review has been relegated to the lower pages.

However, on all the review display pages, there is a sorting toggle at the top of the list of reviews. There are two links: "most helpful first" and "newest first". Clicking either one changes the listings. On the "see all reviews" display, if you click on "most helpful first", you will see your review in its proper place as one of the most helpful reviews.

As for the "most helpful" sorting itself, on any given product page, you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how Amazon is doing the sorting. The sorting happens more or less by percentage until a review collects some minimum quantity of votes (e.g, 5 helpful, 10 helpful); then it seems to be something like percentage among the reviews that have attained the minimum. I stopped trying to make sense of this long ago--maybe someone else has some ideas on how the "most helpful" sorting works?

My apologies if you know about all the different sorting options already. When someone first pointed this out to me, it was a real eyeopener.

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 6:58:07 PM PDT
Lynne, let me put it another way: If we're here to help prospective buyers, shouldn't the default be "Most Helpful Reviews" first? The most helpful are usually the ones who have had the product the longest, and many - including myself - add notes to reviews after a month or so.

I did know the options, but I've been an Amazon customer for 14 years! Imagine if this is one of the first times you've been to Amazon - yes there are such people - and the third review says "This is a terrible tablet. I ran my car over the package, and it broke! It's not worth even one star!" You know you've seen reviews like that. :-)

No apology on your parted needed, and I do thank you for your input.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 7:41:44 PM PDT
Lynne E. says:
Well, Amazon probably mixes up the sorting to give some "air time" to newer reviews. Most of the default sorts are for "most helpful", and the one "newest first" sort lets people know about that option.

In fact, after I found out how to get "newest first", I began using the toggle when I was shopping for electronics in particular. "Newest first" often reveals serious product flaws!

My guess is that the majority of customers click on the histogram at the top of the page, which produces a "most helpful" sort. Part of why I think that, is that Amazon recently added the "customer review quotes" that show up when you hover over the histogram.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 9:37:01 PM PDT
Ethan - For some of us reviewing is a lifestyle. Sometimes I keep my computer on all day just in case I might have something to review. I review, therefore I am. The most fun I've ever had...except for say swimming in a river in getting out my Kindle and sitting in bed reviewing book after book of poetry. To some it might be a waste of time but to me it is bliss. Just to completely be immersed in words for hours at a time. But even then...if I really think about it...I'd rather be on a beach in Africa. Maybe I read so much to stop myself from being homesick.

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 1:58:03 AM PDT
Chandler says:
Most helpful is the default setting
You have to click on "most recent" for it to change

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 10:32:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012 12:36:14 PM PDT
Justin D. says:
Changes to the product can occur over time. Adding weight to newer reviews does have the potential to bring recent manufacturing defects (or recent helpful revisions) to people's attention. I'm not sure if this is the reason it happens, but it does appear to me to be a reasonable idea.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 10:48:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012 10:50:35 AM PDT
Amazon has an unique way of weighing reviews. My guess is that your review was displaced by a different review with fewer votes but a higher percentage of helpful vs not-helpfuls. I don't know the exact formula, but if I post a review and I get 3 helpfuls, more than anyone else for that product, I will be in the spotlight, the first review that people see. However, if I get just one not-helpful I drop completely out of the top three and am replaced by someone that has only one helpful vote (or sometime even none.)

This happens pretty often on Vine reviews as other Vine members cast negative votes in order to better position their own review. I'm not complaining (I really like being a part of the Vine program), it just is what it is.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 11:26:17 AM PDT
D. Taylor says:
Very interesting, sounds like being in Vine can also be competitive ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 3:12:40 PM PDT
Ciaran says:
Swinging from vines can be dangerous I hear.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 4:36:18 PM PDT
Ursiform says:
"Watch out for that tree!"

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 4:38:48 PM PDT
Ciaran says:

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 8:22:02 PM PDT
rosie cain says:
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Discussion in:  Top Reviewers forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  19
Initial post:  Apr 6, 2012
Latest post:  Apr 12, 2012

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