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Why amazon's ratings suck

 
mister krabs
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It seems to me that the number of stars a book gets on amazon is useless information. I have noticed more and more that technical books are getting what appear to be phony good reviews. I'll see a book with 3 or 4 bad reviews and then 10 good reviews all within a few days of each other (the author's friends?). I suppose that amazon can't do much about that but it means that you really need to read the reviews and not just go by the number of stars a book gets to figure out if the book is worth buying.
 
Ranch Hand
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i feel the same. What i usually do is go to B&N and spend a little time reading them. I also read the bad reviews. When you are reading the first or second chapters of the books u will know if the reviews are true or not. It is quite easy to find out the true.
 
High Plains Drifter
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Some patterns can be pretty obvious. I interpret a string of Anonymous or "A Reader" 5-star reviews as pretty fishy. Some reviews are genuinely naive, or rah-rah. And some people like to take a crap in their reviews so they can see how mean they are.
It becomes an open marketing forum for certain products. Tech books in particular are competitive and the stakes are relatively modest; people get vicious about it because it's safe and easy. The obvious "go buy X book instead" is one thing, but when you can tell the person never read the book in the first place, that's pretty amateurish. Let's face it, if Amazon is screening them like they say they are, what's on the reject pile must be unrecognizable as language.
 
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Deja vous. Walking to work this morning, I was just thinking about a website I'm working on (car club) that will have a place where drivers can recommend panelbeaters or garages, for instance. I then realised that the same thing Thomas is speaking of, might happen, some people recommending their own businesses or a friend's. Of course, I remembered Amazon and rested at peace that, if it works there, it's obviously not a problem. Until I arrived and read this .
I guess that's why Amazon now posts some preview pages. I don't see any foolproof control mechanism that is going to prevent/remove the posting of, shall we say, otherwise-inspired opinions. What I do know is that I tend to trust books recommended by recognized persons/parties/forums?
 
LadyMahler
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Good thinking, cowboy.
Risking being grilled for cross-posting here - if you think Amazon rating has failed, this is so bad, it's quite entertaining: The Microsoft Soap Opera
PS: Any ideas on what you will do on sites that don't actually sell the product?
[ January 26, 2002: Message edited by: Adi du Toit ]
 
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Total 1415 votes LoL !!!
 
Ranch Hand
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In amazon I allways search for the 1-3 star review. These give a much clearer picture about the really quite expensive book.
Because I dont belief in the average star and actually read some posts, amazon reader voting still is a help, although not the most important. In my city we have big bookstores with nice sofas, where I can test the book, before I am going to spend my 30 - 50 Dollars to buy it (if amazon is much cheaper, I use Amazon).
We all know that the result of the dot.com crisis is, that everybody inteligent is looking to have more quality and a better risk management in everything he is doing (negotiation with customers, thinking and doing design, thinking and doing programming, getting information (books).
Heard this week that a guy who once worked with me in a LotusDomino project and who drove me crazy, because of copy-and-paste programming attitude, had a heart-attack at the age of 34.
Dot.com euphoria has long passed like every economic bubble.

Axel
[ January 26, 2002: Message edited by: Axel Janssen ]
 
ersin eser
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I actually go to the local B & N, get a cup of coffee and get comfortable with the JAVA section, then I grab the books and go thru them. If I see anything that I like I order it from bookpool.com If the difference between bookpool and amazon is not that big then I order it thru amazon using javaranch 's link.( if javaranch does not have a link thenn I make my own by typing
/ASIN/isbn number/ref=ase_electricporkchop
$0.02
 
LadyMahler
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Comfortable couches, coffee, books... Sounds like heaven. I think Bruce Eckel still has the best idea - publish the whole thing online. His motivation for doing this is really excellent.
PS: Domino Rules. (at its own pace, yeah yeah, I know, I know. Don't know how anyone can burn out trying to open complex Notes views and copy/pasting VisualBasic-like code...probably had panic attack when the database went over 200 Mb)
 
Axel Janssen
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New icon on my desktop.
amazonLink.txt
content:
/ASIN/isbn number/ref=ase_electricporkchop

 
Let's go to the waterfront with this tiny ad:
Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
https://products.aspose.com/total/java
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