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Here is a puzzle of the digital age: it is now possible and valuable to evaluate the reaction of others before purchasing a product, trying a restaurant, or booking a hotel. But the increased ability to manipulate that response makes it hard to believe.
We already have more information but can be more poorly informed.
recently Academic research paper Checked the comprehensiveness of paid customer reviews on Amazon, and how the company and shoppers responded to them. Researchers found that Amazon was removing a large portion of the ratings for which merchants paid, as these violated company regulations. But Amazon did not act fast in most instances, so people were still influenced by fake reviews.
Customer Ratings greatly affect what people buy online. This research suggests that Amazon can do more to ensure the reliability of reviews, and we need even more skeptical shoppers.
Two authors of the paper, Brett Hollenbeck And Sherry, Talked to me about how they combed groups on Facebook where merchants review flashes on their Amazon merchandise, usually in exchange for a free product, cash or other incentives. In nine months, his team reviewed nearly 1,500 products.
Research found that these paid reviews work at one point. Average ratings and sales of the products increased, but traders stopped buying reviews before the ratings fell for only a week or two. It was often financially worthwhile for traders, he said.
A representative of Amazon told me that the company Dedicates significant resources to vest Stopping outside and needless reviews, and catching them before they ever appear on her site.
Researchers found that Amazon eventually eliminated about one-third of bogus reviews, but usually after an average lag of more than 100 days. Long before then, unhappy customers dropped a significant number of one-star reviews, a sign they did not like what they had bought and possibly felt betrayed by it.
It is impossible to catch all the bad actors. But the fact that Amazon eventually removes a significant portion of purchased reviews indicates that the company is able to spot inconsistent people, but does not have the resources or enough care to catch them before a loss occurs. Does.
“They have almost unlimited resources and this poses a threat to the trust of the company’s people,” said Dr., an assistant professor of marketing at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. Hollenbeck said.
The researchers said their findings had made them more cautious online shoppers and offered suggestions for the rest of us. People should be especially wary of reviews for products that are expensive and for items purchased during the holiday shopping period and in categories where many merchants are offering almost identical products. There are high examples of reviews purchased in those cases.
He also said that it is safe but not to buy from merchants whose names you recognize. In his analysis, in most unknown China, relatively unknown traders were solicited. There are more Online shopping tips from Wirecutter, New York Times product recommended site.
When companies raise people’s doubts
It is bad when companies are not moving forward with their customers. It is too bad when companies are unable to move in ways that wind up fuel intrigues.
Apple on Wednesday agreed to pay $ 113 million, including one by more than 30 states to covertly slow down old iPhones to preserve their battery life, my colleague Jack Nikes. The investigation was settled. Reported. In 2017, Apple admitted that it had relaunched its software to slow down phones with outdated batteries under certain circumstances To prevent them from unexpectedly shutting down.
What Apple was doing was not necessarily wrong, but the way the company communicated with customers was clueless.
Apple knew that people had suspected for years that the company intentionally slowed down people’s existing iPhones when new models were coming out so that people would buy new phones. There is no evidence to this effect, and Apple has raged for years about these rumors.
The problem was that when Apple trained its software to slow down iPhones – perhaps for a sensible reason – it was not sufficiently clear what it was doing. And it gave rise to conspiracy theories that people already had about their iPhones. Apple caused unnecessary controversy for itself.
Similarly, when Facebook admitted to being human, it made a similar error. Reviewers listen to audio clips from people using its services But why not tell properly. There may be valid reasons for people to review audio recordings of people from their Messenger app and other products on Facebook, but the company was not transparent about what it was doing – either to customers or its workers.
Again, this activity was played Long suspected that Facebook was listening to people’s private conversations. Facebook officials have denied these doubts. Facebook is hard to trust, it’s not secretly listening to people when its activists do Really listen to people Without their true knowledge or consent.
My free advice to rich companies: Don’t do anything that curtails their efforts to tilt conspiracy theories down.
Before we leave …
A worker A small owl spotted in the branches of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The owl is now safe in a wildlife center “All mice will eat it. “