Tech entrepreneur Filip Kesler and Cornell professor Trevor Pinch, found that more than 80 percent of the reviews on the site were positive all because 85 percent of prolific reviewers receive free stuff to review. (Hey, everyone loves a freebie.)
"Amazon's top reviewers do receive some sort of direct material reward, however small, for their endeavors," wrote the authors.
This was particularly true in the book realm. Reviewers in the top 1,000 rank told the authors they received a large number of Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) of books from small agencies and self-published authors. Those in the top 500 rank said they received even more, and so it went up the totem pole.
One member of Amazon Vine, the site's members-only review program, described how his rank attracted more freebies in the study:
"I started getting offers at about rank 800 (Classic Rank). When I got to 500, the offers increased, but I did not get many until I got to about 250. Under 150, it increased some more. At that point is was an average of one offer per week (not including Vine). When my New Rank appeared, placing me in the 50s, I started getting several offers per week, mostly for books."
For consumers looking for a deal and great products, it might be better to go the old-fashioned route, i.e., asking family and friends for suggestions.
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