Category Archives: Research

Isolating Legitimate Reviews for Amazon Books

In the last few months, two new websites have come online in an effort to weed out fake reviews and give buyers an honest view of products on Amazon. First on the scene was FakeSpot, which gives a letter grade summary based on analysis of the words used by reviewers, especially reused across multiple reviews by the same reviewer.

Today, I want to point you toward another free service that recently made a big splash, ReviewMeta. After releasing a video (below) explaining the unsurprising bias of reviews received for a discount (or for free), their site has stabilized and is now usable again.

One of the big features is an adjusted review, based on ReviewMeta filtering. It’s even available directly in your browser when viewing Amazon products, all via their extensions for Chrome and Firefox. I decided to put a book to the test that was new to the bestseller list (#13 at the time of this writing according to NovelRank Top Lists): Home by Harlan Coben. Putting it through ReviewSpot, they found the same rating (4.7), but based on only 4 legitimate reviews out of 18 possible. You can look further down the page for their breakdown of why, so I’ll save you from reading it here again.

So What Can This Do for Me?

First, it should discourage you, so you never use a website that offers to provide you reviews from real customers in exchange for freebies. Secondly, it should also reinforce the value of Verified Purchases when it comes to reviews (for more on this, see this fascinating breakdown of the release of Amy Schumer’s book).

High review counts & star ratings may get customers to click on your book in a search list, but only quality reviews will convert them into customers.

For publishers, before taking on an author you should run every book they self-published previously through this and know whether you’re dealing with a quality author or a charlatan. For authors, you should look at potential publishers before signing on the dotted line, ensuring they don’t use these practices with your books (and your reputation).

Feature image courtesy of ReviewMeta

50 Best Book Covers of 2014

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom RachmanThe Design Observer Group chooses the top 50 book covers each year, and 2014 was no exception. However, I wanted to put the covers to a vote by NovelRank users: authors, publishers, and book lovers. Out of the 50 book covers, ~40 were available on Amazon and were used for this experiment. There were at least 75 votes cast for each cover to generate the results, but first some qualifiers.

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Amazon Book Sales Statistics for 2012 – Time-Based

These statistics are provided as-is and are based on NovelRank’s sales estimates. Any inaccuracies are universally applied and should not affect the overall trends in the data. However, it is limited by the total books in NovelRank’s database, and thus is automatically biased.

TL;DR Grain of salt.

The very first chart was similar in shape across all domains, thus only one was included. All other charts are also summaries of only 2012 data and is shown for the top 3 Amazon domains tracked on NovelRank. Compared to the previous statistics post, these statistics are much less conclusive. For that reason, I encourage you to draw your own conclusions and post them in the comments below.
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