Satirical reviews cause mischief for Amazon
09 May 2012 - 14:50 by Graham Miller
Amazon is one of the UK's most popular portals for safe shopping online and part of its success must be put down to the fact that customers can add their own product reviews and find out what others think of the items that are on sale.
However, since Amazon operates a merchant system through which third party vendors can sell virtually any product to people who use the site, some very odd items have been made available.
This in turn has resulted in a growing trend for user reviews which are written specifically for the amusement of other visitors, although they perhaps do not describe the items as accurately or honestly as you might imagine.
This has resulted in certain goods going viral, such as the famous £50 canvas print of TV personality Paul Ross, brother to the better known Jonathan.
The problem that this causes for Amazon is that its automatic algorithms which recommend similar products also bought by purchasers of these much lampooned items, end up leading shoppers on a merry dance through other similarly satirised listings.
Of course the problems being caused for Amazon as a result of these reviews are likely to be outweighed by the growing demand for items that might otherwise sell in very small numbers.
In fact the Observer reports that the cult status of certain products for sale via safe shopping online is actually making it tough for the sellers to keep up with the orders.
While videos, photos and articles can all go viral with relative ease, if they hit in the right place at the right time, it now seems like viral shopping, powered by these ironic reviews, could soon be a feature of the internet which helps entertain users and fill the pockets of retailers.