As of this writing the Kindle has received a total of 4,081 reviews. Where are these reviews? On Amazon’s website. Certainly a biased source of information upon which Mr. Mahaney sought his clues. However, this apparently, in combination with Popular Electronics, is the main source by which Mr. Mahaney produces his estimates of current and future sales of the Kindle. Using customer reviews to attempt to predict the amount of current and future sales is irresponsible and desperate. It is unclear if Mr. Mahaney actually read all of the 4,081, but it is safe to say that without having read every single review it is impossible to determine, if the reviewer purchased a Kindle, if the reviewer is providing adequate information, and that the reviewer hasn’t duplicated his/her review multiple times, thereby artificially increasing the review number. It begs the question, ‘other than simply looking at the total number of reviews, was there any attempt to prove the number of reviews’?
The quality and tone of the customers has been positive. Mr. Mahaney gather this next clue simply by looking at the ‘Star’ meter in the upper left corner of Amazon’s webpage that accompanies any search of the customer reviews. Specifically, this star rating is a computation by those people who have done a review and selected the star rating of their choice. Here the reviewers are give a 1-5 star rating to select from. The presumtion is that the happier the reviewer the more stars they will select (i.e. 5 stars being the highest). This type of assumption is hardly proof of Amazon Kindle sales. At best, the attitude of the reviewer is known, but how this translates into current or future sales, Mr. Mahaney does not say.
One posters review has received, as of this writing 35,000 views. Many of these indicating that the information provided in the review was ‘helpful’. The review that Mr. Mahaney makes mention of is titled “Why and how the Kindle changes everything”, written by Steve Gibson “eBook lover” of So. California. This review was written on November 25, 2007, 6 days after the Kindle was introduced to market. Perhaps Mr. Mahaney ought to have read ‘ebook lover’s’ review. While the reviewer ultimately gives the Kindle a 5 star rating, he does mention that the Kindle has “warts”. More importantly is his statement that the “Kindle’s average review rating to be dragged down so far by non-Kindle owners”. He makes several other statements worth notice; such as that the Kindle is expensive, monochrome, and not a general media player. All of these “warts” will effect the future sales of the Kindle and the reviewer is already anticipating a needed second generation (for bugs), as he requests to be “first in line”. It is concerning that someone who has had an expensive electronic device for 6 days can’t wait to get the upgrade. And as of this writing Amazon has not release a second generation of the Kindle. How many current owners, or even perspective purchasers, of the Kindle will wait in the same line to purchase newer model Kindle’s? Did Mr. Mahaney attempt to contact eBook lover before he used his review as a critical source of information?
Not really, look at all the options they are selling, especially the CALLs. Even with AUG expirations. They are propping this up enticing people to buy, but rest assured with an $80 max pain on the options it's going to drift to $80. And not just because I am hoping it does, but I cannot deny the technicals.
I spoke with my wife last night about the kindle and she has never heard of it or seen one. She commutes to DC and Manhatten all the time and has never seen a person with one or have anyone ever spoken of one to her untill last night.