Do you have a favorite review?

I’ve noticed that over the last few months, right after I’ve given a presentation about online reviews, or when the topic of my research comes up in conversation, people have started sharing their favorite reviews with me. Now wait a minute, you might be thinking, there are people out there who actually have favorite reviews? Trust me, no one was more surprised (or excited!) to discover this than I was.

What this means, I believe, is that while some reviews are informative, others can be downright entertaining. And the REALLY talented review writers manage to both inform and entertain at the same time.

Here are just a few “personal faves” of Amazon reviews that people I know have shared with me in the last few months.

Roach Gel

Pam forwarded me this Roach Gel review, explaining that she loves the review because of the passion that this author put into writing it. She also finds the tone of this review to be totally hilarious. Apparently, lots of other people do too, according to the comments that appear below it. The slang expressions, the vernacular language used, and the pop culture references all work together to make it a pretty entertaining paragraph. (And, living in Florida, I know that insect issues can be very disturbing, so I, too, appreciate how this reviewer managed to turn an icky topic into a humorous text!)

Stone Coasters

Amanda, who shared the stone coasters review, loves it precisely because it’s the opposite of the previous review. The tone of this one is super formal, the main points of the author’s argument are clearly enumerated, and apparently, the author is someone who takes the quality of coaster surfaces very, very seriously. As she explained to me, she is amused by the paradox of this review: it offers such a careful description of what is quite possibly one of the most trivial products imaginable = coasters.

English Grammar for Dummies

Now this last one is obviously a parody. Not only is the content itself totally “over the top,” but if you look at the top of the page, you’ll see that the review has received nearly 6,000 helpfulness votes. 5,944 to be exact. (And let’s face it, while this book *might* have a wide reach, the other 5-star reviews have only received between 3-105 helpfulness votes. Hmmm, that’s a huge difference.)

In fact, the friend that forwarded this review to me via email (thanks Maria!) received it from another person who said that she had seen it on Facebook. This means that people are sharing their favorite reviews not only with me, but with other people, via social networking sites!

Btw, beyond what I’ve already mentioned about this review, it’s also worth pointing out that “Nikolai,” the author, has posted only this one review on Amazon, and has included no other identifying information in his profile. (These 2 characteristics are often given as indicators to look out for in potentially fake reviews.)

I have been fascinated by parody reviews for quite a while now, but that’s a topic for a-whole-nother post! Stay tuned…

In the meantime, if you happen to have a favorite review, please post it as a reply, or email it my way!

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