I have read a few complaints on line regarding book reviews, specifically, it seems most E-Commerce platforms have given the user carte blanche on entering the rating products, i.e. they have the ability to rate any product, without proof the’ve read / used the product. This approach does encourage the user to have a user friendly experience to add ratings, as users are mostly discouraged to populate any surveys, i.e. time is money, and people just rather do something else, unless they are very motivated. Some of those motivation reasons: they are passionate about a book, for example, with great distain, or passionate about the material, typically passionate readers. Historically, in the early days of E-Commerce platforms, ease of entry of ratings, and encouragement was the mantra to make sure users are able to guide fellow users. We now have matured E-Commerce platforms that don’t necessarily need, en-mass ratings, i.e. sales tool to show potential buyers that people buy from their site. An issue has arisen especially with amateur writers that have spawned up everywhere, or even with mature publishers, and social media, just like we see in negative political campaigns, mud slinging, so justified, some not, or at least may be interpretative, it gives less credibility to the politician, or book, in this case, and not necessarily for the correct reasons.
It sounds like mature E-Commerce platforms should probably start taking the high road, and give confidence and credibility to the reviews, and not just by relying on standard deviation, and outliers on the bell curve being negated. This is also amplified with products that have fewer reviewers, i.e. budding authors trying to get their break.
One suggestion, for a book, for example, an author may provide a list of 100 questions or so regarding parts of the content of the book, and before being allowed to rate the book, the reviewer must answer three random multiple choice questions correctly. Of course, they may have at least two or three sets of questions to press on with the review. The author, especially the startup authors, would probably be encouraged to write the questions, and attempt to deflect invalid mud slinging, i.e. person never read the book.
The other topic I wanted to touch upon was Amazon’s MP3 Cloud Player. I have come to rely on Amazon’s player, and my kids use it on their iPod, iPads, computers, etc. Two small issues I have at least on the Mac Safari browser, I think it also is lacking on my Windows computer, a) I cannot sort any of the columns within any of the filters. I am unable to select Artist, for example, in a playlist, and resort by the artist name, as one example. I may be doing something wrong, but it seems like a basic feature. b) my own personal ratings, like we see on iTunes do not appear as a column that I can sort upon, as well as other meta data available, seems skimpy, both to enter, as well as to sort upon. As this product seems to have matured to the point to justify it’s existence seems only logical these two features must be on their road map. I won’t rip the Cloud Player apart, because all fairness, Apple iTunes had a leap on these folks. It would be cool to actually see lyrics automatically imported with purchased songs. I haven’t checked iTunes in awhile. At some point, Apple made a free form text field where you could copy in the lyrics, but you would need to paste in the lyrics yourself. Yes, there are third party apps that display it, and they actually follow along on the lyrics, which is super cool, but nothing in the cloud player itself. Oh, well, my two bits for the day. Note: this takes into account the premium player only offers additional storage, as implied by their sales and marketing, not features