Zappos hires Mechanical Turk to proofread product reviews

After concluding that well-written, well-punctuated, grammatical reviews increased sales, Zappos hired the Amazon Mechanical Turk to proofread the reviews on its site, correcting errors without changing the content of the reviews. They claim to have seen a "substantial" revenue increase as a result.

An online retailer noticed that indeed products with high-quality reviews are selling well. So, they decided to take action. They used Amazon Mechanical Turk to improve the quality of its reviews. Using the Find-Fix-Verify pattern, they used Mechanical Turk to examine a few millions of product reviews. (Here are the archived versions of the HITs: Find, Fix, Verify… and if you have not figured out the firm name by now, it is Zappos :-) ) For the reviews with mistakes, they fixed the spelling and grammar errors! Thus they effectively improved the quality of the reviews on their website. And, correspondingly, they improved the demand for their products!

While I do not know the exact revenue improvement, I was told that it was substantial. Given that the e-tailer spent at least 10 cents per review, and that they examined approximately 5 million reviews, this is an expense of a few hundred thousand dollars. (My archive on MTurk-Tracker kind of confirms these numbers.) So, the expected revenue improvement should have been at least a few million dollars!

An ingenious application of crowdsourcing: Fix reviews' grammar, improve sales

(via O'Reilly Radar)