Study: Vast majority of Amazon’s top reviewers received free products

A report says PR firms might be influencing user-generated content on commerce sites, which inspired one writer to suggest that Amazon reviews are ‘corrupt.’

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It’s the others—the uninformed masses—that we worry about. And the reason we worry is because, as Cornell sociology professor Trevor Pinch reveals in a recent study, the people creating those reviews are not always average Joes. Sometimes they’re reaping benefits from publishing companies’ PR people.

Finch and Web entrepreneur Filip Kesler conducted an online study of 166 (one-sixth) of Amazon’s top 1,000 product reviewers.

The Cornell University Chronicle highlights the findings:

The researchers found that of the top reviewers:

• 85 percent had received free products from publishers, agents, authors, and manufacturers;
• 78 percent of these often or always reviewed such free products;
• 70 percent were male;
• 40 percent are writers themselves;
• 11 percent, one of the largest occupational groups of reviewers, are retirees.

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