Wikis on Shopping Sites?

7 comments

Amazon had been testing using Wikis on their site. Apparently the wikis are no longer a test:

Amazon has taken its ProductWikis feature out of beta, in the hopes that community intelligence can help its customers make more informed purchasing decisions -- and of course, increase customer interest and loyalty.

ProductWikis aren't the only community-based content tool Amazon has been experimenting with, either. Searching for a product on Amazon still yields the usual reviews, ratings, and maybe a ProductWiki. Now, however, users can also "tag" their search results, start a discussion, and find news and reviews. Whew!

Are wikis a good idea on ecommerce sites? Or will the time to manage them outweigh the potential upside?

I have seen book lists on Amazon where people recommended my ebook even though it is not available on Amazon. I have also seen authors create many lists that recommend their own books.

It seems to me that as manufacturers, authors, and artists get smarter about marketing some will offer gifts for feedback and do other manipulative scams that make it harder to separate the recommendations from the noise.

How open can large scale sites with huge exposure be? Especially if they are shopping related?

Comments

Sometimes I think you're reading my mind....

And I can't wait until the day that I actually meet you ... for the "Mind Meld" - lol....

... tonight I had been thinking about how Comaparison Shopping Sites and sites like Amazon could capitalize on CGM and how companies like these could create Viral Marketing Campaigns that would (eventually) build links (especially since they have the staff to create the widgets, applications, etc. to drive these type of campaigns) and then I read this post (yes, this is what I think about at 11:00 EST on a Tuesday night.. while not hoping that the thieves on Thief to get away with the heist - lol). Thanks.

In the post: Wikitravel Gets Filthy Lucre, Cornwall asks "Can you still get the free input of time from posters is you are a commercial site?" I think the answer is, "Yes." But only if it is easy to use. Because everyone wants to have their say and everyone thinks the can be a personal stylist... whether it be for a home, clothes, etc... especially where shopping is concerned...

I think Wikis are a great idea for commercial sites, because they allow for user input (come on, the amount of user generated reviews, content, etc. at Amazon should already be an indicator)... as well as editorial control of user generated content that a wiki would provide.

You ask "Or will the time to manage them outweigh the potential upside?" No, especially for large scale sites where the "bodies" are in place to manage such content - which would be similiar (I imagine) to having forum moderaters. Similiar to how large brands are now (finally) incorporating "Blog Editors" into the ranks... I think smart brands will incorporate "Viral Managers", "Viral Scouts" or "Viral Editors" (ie: Reputation Managers) into the ranks.... Or at least hire a good company to do do this for them....

BTW: OFF-TOPIC... but are you MySpace Man? I only ask because I am such a nerd about these things... and have been researching MySpace... and looking at his "persona" I guessed that it was you. Am I right?

no comment!

are you MySpace Man?

If I was MySpace Man I surely couldn't publicly admit it, could I?

I think my issue with the Wikis are as follows:

  • How loud someone is generally is inversely proportional to the quality of input and / or lack of bias and / or level of intelligence of the contributor
  • When you look at the Wikipedia some talk pages provide better topical information than the associated pages do because editor bias or editor ignorance drives away the best contributions.
  • The reviews already allow a structured way to leave feedback. In some cases that may be limiting, but in many cases I think people offer more meaningful contributions when they are limited in some aspects.
  • For many self help books / products / systems as the feedback evolves it may replace the need and / or demand for a particular product.

Having Worked in Tech Customer Service

... I've always believed that your Loudest Critic is your Best Customer... (in the "Light Bulb Moment" I had regarding New Media a few weeks ago, I've thought that User Response has a bigger impact on the Bottomline than I once imagined.)

re: "The reviews already allow a structured way to leave feedback." Don't you think that a Wiki by a smart company would allow for greater control of that type of content?

re: MySpace Man... you may have answered my question.... Re: "could you admit it?"... I think I would consider it a compliment... expecially since I've seen how MySpace Man has staked a claim on "MySpace Marketing" as well as also purchased the only Google Ads on the term... PM me... since I've followed suit - lol (Muhahhahhah)

sorry to break up the love fest

but I feel the need to comment :-)

Quote:
It seems to me that as manufacturers, authors, and artists get smarter about marketing some will offer gifts for feedback and do other manipulative scams that make it harder to separate the recommendations from the noise.

C'mon Aaron, some of the regulars around here have been into Amazon Reviews 4 Fun & Profit for years. If anything, the wiki will make it harder to keep the spam in the review lists as long as they last now. Which reminds me, will you out there stop spamming the external links in my Wikipedia articles? Your spammy links have drawn so much editor traffic in the past month, my stealth backlinks are getting scrutinized a tad closer than I am comfortable with!

You may have been doing it

You may have been doing it for years John, but most people are not that aggressive yet, IMHO. The ease with which anyone can instantly edit something in a wiki is going to lead to lots of interesting situations.

abso-freakin

lootly.

Quote:
The ease with which anyone can instantly edit something in a wiki is going to lead to lots of interesting situations.

For the record, while I know about it and have friends who do it and have even witnessed it, like most spammy tactics I do not personally practice it. Keep your friends close....

John (my favorite TW commentator) ...

"If anything, the wiki will make it harder to keep the spam in the review lists as long as they last now." I agree... that's why I think for big players like Amazon, Wikis are a great thing. I think anyone in our space has to be able to "switch hit" because as SeoBook says... not many companies are doing this currently....

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