The original driver behind this project was the desire to gain deeper understanding of why so many people provide so much free content to the worlds biggest online retailer.  It just didn't make sense!  Armed with this knowledge, one could then improve online reviews ("right a wrong" in Guy Kawasaki-speak) to benefit everyone involved - reviewers, buyers and retailers.

Our findings covered a lot of new ground and continue to generate press coverage from technology (PC Magazine, Slashdot), financial (WSJ, Business Insider) and general interest media (NY Times, CNN).  The focus so far has been mostly on the negative aspects of what we unearthed such as system gaming, paid, fabricated or dishonest reviews (as they say in the trade, If It Bleeds, It Leads.).

The task ahead is to use the findings and additional not-yet-published data to improve the reviews and the reviewing process itself, and to deliver a trustworthy, objective and measurable mechanisms and tools for all the parties involved, the reviewer, buyer and the retailer.  Stay tuned...

What You Can Find Here

Freelunch.me is a place where you can read about and discuss research on customer reviews.  We will post research here and invite you to comment upon it. We will post links to your research so please tell us what you’re doing and how to access your work. We welcome participation from everyone. If you’re an academic researching product review please tell us about it.  If you’re a reviewer we’d like to hear about your experiences. If you’re a company tell us how you use customer review and what  you’d like to know more about to make customer reviewing a more effective process for everyone.

On the Downloads page you can download a copy of our own research on Amazon top-thousand customer reviewers.  This is the first ever survey of the top-thousand reviewers at Amazon.  You will find out who they are, why they do, and what sorts of reviews they write. The research shows what reviewers think of the ranking system, its rewards, and the problems encountered. If you are a newbie reviewer you will find tips from the top reviewers as to how to review better.  It’s a lengthy document, but it is divided into sections so you can rapidly move between different parts to find what you’re interested in. We hope above all that you enjoy reading this first glimpse into the world of the top reviewers – we’ve tried to make it interesting, informative, and fun to read. 

We’d like feedback on our report so please feel free to comment on the Discussions page.


Trevor and Filip

Creative Commons License
How Aunt Ammy Gets Her Free Lunch by Trevor J. Pinch, Filip Kesler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.