Zappos Uses Mechanical Turk To Correct Spelling/Grammar Errors In Reviews… And It Increases Sales

from the fascinating dept

Boing Boing points us to a fantastic story about how Zappos uses Mechanical Turk to fix grammar and spelling mistakes in product reviews. You see, research shows that if a product has well-written reviews, that helps sales — even when the reviews are negative. The more well-written the reviews, the more people trust them. But, of course, on the internet, you get all sorts of grammatical and spelling errors (I should know, I make both all the time). So, to deal with that, Zappos runs its reviews through Mechanical Turk and lets the “crowd” act as its editor. There’s no specific data, but apparently Zappos claims that this resulted in “substantial” revenue improvement, for a cost of a few hundred thousand dollars (across 5 million reviews). The corrections never change the actual intent of the content. They just make sure it’s in proper English. I wonder what would happen if we did that for all posts and comments here…

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Companies: zappos

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Comments on “Zappos Uses Mechanical Turk To Correct Spelling/Grammar Errors In Reviews… And It Increases Sales”

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40 Comments
Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: My guess

My presiction is that darryl’s head would finnally (sic) explode after seeing the extensive rewrites of his allways (sic) thotful (sic) expositions. But I digress…

The first thing I thought of when reading the last sentence of Mike’s post was, “Don’t do that, then people might actually think Darryl has cognitive reasoning!”

Squirrel Brains (profile) says:

I am an Turker

I will admit that I am a Turker and I have seem a couple of HITs for Zappos. I don’t need the money. I am just fascinated with the concept and am interested in seeing out people use it. What a better way than to join up? It is like small mini-games you play in your favorite RPG… well… tedious mini-games that aren’t really that fun. Everyday I see some new and interesting ways people are trying to use the tool.

I have also noticed that if anything offers more than a $1.00 to do, it is probably a scam (yes, there are a lot of scams on there for the unsuspecting Turk).

The most fascinating one I have run across is one for a jewelry auction site. You’re suppose to go to the site and bid up three actions. If you end up winning, the requester will compensate you up to $20.

Sambo (profile) says:

I am sure that the RIAA and MPAA are working on a similar program.

It will work something like this:

The words ‘share’ & ‘copy’ will automatically become ‘steal, stolen or theft’.

‘Community’ becomes ‘thieving criminal bastards’

‘Fair use’ becomes ‘child abuse/r’

All negative comments will be permanently changed to:

‘The RIAA/MPAA are your family. File sharing hurts your family. You are putting corn farmers out of work and
with the reduction of revenue available for our hand-picked, talent-free (but good looking don’t you think? Have you seen that little girl Justin Bieber? Whoa!) Pop superstars – the makers of Autotune are struggling to survive.

Resistance is futile’

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