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April 17, 2011

Does Clean Copy Count More Than The Opinions Expressed?

Journalists know the importance of correct grammar. Even tiny factually insignificant errors can erode the confidence of a reader. One rap about blogs is that because they don't have editors, they can have more errors. So just how important is clean copy in influencing readers? Online retailers have tried to find out. And now they have some quantifiable evidence.

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... 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!
In this test, they didn't change the opinions themselves, merely the typos and grammar. Turns out that even if the user review was negative, fixing the mistakes improved sales.

A review that is well-written tends to inspire confidence about the product, even if the review is negative. Typically such reviews are perceived as objective and thorough. So, if we have a high-quality, but negative, review this may serve as a guarantee that the negative aspects of the product are not that bad after all. For example, a negative review such as "horrible battery life... in my tests battery lasts barely longer than 24 hours..." may be perceived as positive by other customers that consider a 24-hour batter life to be more than sufficient.
April 17, 2011 11:02 AM | | Comments (0)

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