Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers
Amazon ranks customer reviewers:
- Click here to see the top 10,000 customer reviewers ranked in order.
- Click here to see the Hall of Fame reviewers and their accomplishments.
The numbers are impressive. On the first page of the top reviewer rankings, I see:
- Most have written 1000 to 2000 product reviews.
- 10,000 to 60,000 helpful votes on their reviews.
- 94% to 97% of the votes deemed their reviews helpful.
Amazon takes steps to help ensure fair play. For example, suppose you write 100 reviews and get your friends to vote Yes on all 100 reviews. Your friends’ votes won’t count toward your top reviewer rank. If someone votes Yes on most of your reviews, they are considered to be a Fan Voter and their votes don’t affect your reviewer rank.
Amazon Customer Review Badges
Top reviewers earn badges, which are displayed on Amazon.
Here is a list of badges that can be earned:
- Top 1000 Reviewer. If you crack the top 1000 in review rankings, you receive a badge for it (for as long as you remain in the top 1000).
- Top 500 Reviewer. This gives you an incentive to write more reviews once you crack the top 1000.
- Top 50 Reviewer. It’s a large jump from 500 to 50, but puts you in elite company.
- Top 10 Reviewer. Out of millions of reviewers, imagine being ranked in the top ten.
- #1 Reviewer. At this moment in time, you are the very best.
- Vine Voice. Amazon invites selected reviewers into a special program to review not-yet-released products.
Looking for Reviewers?
Many of the top reviewers allow themselves to be contacted by clicking on their Amazon handles. Click on a top reviewer’s name at Amazon and you may find an email address at the left side of their profile page. Many top reviewers make their email addresses publicly visible this way.
Why? Because they love to read books and write reviews. Books cost money. Publishers and authors want to get their new releases reviewed. So it’s a match made in Heaven. The publisher or author contacts prospective reviewers, politely asking if the reviewer is interested in receiving a free advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Here are some notes:
- Browse through the reviewer’s product reviews at Amazon to see which kinds of books that reviewer likes to read. They are likely to turn you down if your book isn’t a good fit. You’re also more likely to get a critical review from someone who isn’t familiar with your subgenre, so it’s in your best interest to find reviewers who read books in your subgenre.
- Top reviewers receive tons of requests from authors. If your book is a good fit and the nature of your request stands out in a good way, this may give you an edge. The higher their reviewer rank, the more requests they are likely to receive.
- Be very polite. Be concise, yet provide all the pertinent info in your request. The last thing you want to do is offend someone who might actually read and review your book.
- Don’t pester the reviewer with repeated requests, updates, etc. Make one polite request, send the free copy, and let it be. If they never review your book, let it go. (If that’s the case, you probably don’t want the review after all.)
- What’s the best way to thank the reviewer? Vote Yes that the review is helpful. Ask your fans to vote on the review. (Some reviewers actually remove reviews if there aren’t enough helpful votes, and especially if the review draws unhelpful votes. Every vote of Yes is an incentive for the review to stay.)
- The review may be critical. Expect an honest review. The reviewer just might not like your book. That’s the chance you take.
- Read the critical reviews that the reviewer has left before making your request. See if any of that criticism may apply to your book.
- If you’re a self-published author, see if the reviewer has ever reviewed other indie books, and, if so, if any are favorable.
- When you give a free copy in exchange for an honest review, the review will not say Amazon Verified Purchase. Many of these may look suspicious.
Amazon customer reviews are helpful in the sense that a large assortment of customer opinions can help shoppers decide which products may be right for them.
Unfortunately, people have abused the review system with both five-star and one-star reviews. Fortunately, Amazon has made great strides in preventing and removing suspicious five-star reviews, such as from close friends and family. However, many customers rightfully approach reviews with suspicion. Even one-star reviews, customers may suspect they were left by someone with an agenda.
An interesting phenomenon with reviews is that very often multiple reviews of the same product contradict one another.
Still, as shoppers, we do like to see an assortment of opinions, we like to decide which reviews to ignore and which to trust, and many of us have learned to check out the Look Inside before making the purchase.
Some authors have gone review crazy. If a book isn’t selling, the first thought seems to be that the book needs reviews. The reality is that if it isn’t selling, it’s probably something else:
- The cover doesn’t depict the right subgenre or doesn’t appeal to the target audience.
- The blurb isn’t engaging the reader’s interest and arousing the reader’s curiosity.
- The Look Inside doesn’t look professional or doesn’t draw the reader in.
- The book idea just doesn’t appeal to a significant audience.
If one of these reasons apply, recruiting several reviews isn’t likely to impact sales.
In fact, having several reviews on a newly published book that isn’t selling may look suspicious to customers:
- Published 25 days ago.
- 12 glowing reviews.
- Sales rank 1,572,049.
- Wait a minute: If the book hasn’t sold, how did 12 people review it? Must be friends and family.
- (Now if the book has been out for a year, that’s different. Maybe it had sold well when it was first released.)
If many of your reviews are from top reviewers, it won’t be too hard for customers to deduce how you went about getting reviews.
Honest customer reviews can indeed be helpful. Just don’t go review crazy.
Thank You, Reviewers
Authors appreciate the time you take to provide honest feedback.
Other customers appreciate the time you take to provide honest feedback.
Whether you’re a top reviewer, or have just started leaving reviews, you are very much appreciated.
Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
- Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
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