Amazon receives customer reviews patent

Amazon.com received U.S. Patent number 6,963,848 this week for “methods and system of obtaining consumer reviews.” Amazon has the full purchase data for an item and can determine when a user has enough experience to review the product. The patent covers the solicitation of a review and what metrics might be used to determine the right time to solicit a review. The patent was originally filed over five and a half years ago in March 2000 and seems to be focused on better competing with a site such as Epinions.com.

Some interesting snippets:

  • The predetermined amount of time may be independent of the length of the book or the type of book.
  • The predetermined amount of time may be greater for a relatively longer book or for a non-fiction work, as opposed to fictional work.
  • The review request may be sent or presented specifically on weekends or holidays, when people are more likely to have free time to provide such reviews.
  • If the customer has previously ordered a new book on the average of once a month and/or previously submitted reviews an average of one month after ordering a book, then a review request may be sent to the customer one month after the purchase or delivery of a new book.
  • The merchant or other review collector can identify and verify that the review comes from an actual purchaser or user of the item being reviewed.
  • A reward or incentive may be offered to further encourage the customer to provide a review.
  • The reminder or request may be presented to the customer when the customer visits certain web sites, such as a web site associated with the merchant which sold the item to the customer.

Sending reminders to customers based on their visits to partner websites was the biggest surprise to me. Perhaps Amazon is conducting some behavioral targeting beyond their own sites.

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