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November 22, 2005
Amazon's customer collaboration
One of the biggest retailers in the world has opened the door to citizen marketing in a big way.
Amazon has launched ProductWiki, a route for "customer editable product information" to appear alongside most, if not all, of the items the company sells.
This looks like a big move in several ways:
* It should help Amazon sell more because each product listing can have vastly better levels of information.
* It provides shoppers greater depth of content that bypasses marketing spin.
* It provides checks and balances to what can be seriously flawed product reviews.
* It introduces the emerging concept of customer collaboration to a massive audience.
Of course, it also introduces new levels of complexity to product marketers, who will need to keep a close ear to their product wikis and participate in the collaboration.
Update: A number of people have reported they're unable to see the feature, so it must be part of a random beta. I updated this post with another screenshot with some new thoughts here.
Other blogs that reference Amazon's customer collaboration:
» Amazon Launches Product Wikis from Micro Persuasion
The Web 2.0 news doesn't stop. Ben McConnell discovered that Amazon has launched a new feature called ProductWiki. The e-commerce giant nowo allows for “customer editable product information” to appear right alongside most, if not all, of the items the... [Read More]
» Amazon Launches Product Wiki from Mashable*
Interesting - Amazon has debuted Product Wikis, allowing customers to edit product descriptions. This is one step beyond the consumer reviews theyre so famous for. The Church of the Customer writes: Amazon has launched ProductWiki, a route... [Read More]
» Wikizon from Tech Beat
Amazon.com doesn't blab about it much, but it clearly gets the Web 2.0 Power of Us participatory thing. For years, it has had customer book reviews, customer-produced product lists called Listmania, product photo uploads, and something called Purchase ... [Read More]
» Amazon goes Wiki from TomorrowConnecting.biz
Church of the Customer reports that Amazon.com has built wiki functionality into a new customer-editable product information offering. Theyve called it ProductWiki and it will allow consumers to edit the description of the produc... [Read More]
» Web 2.0, Law Style from The Wired GC
Following up from last week, a few thoughts about what Web 2.o might mean for the law. First, a bit of a refresher: heres two attributes of Web 2.0 courtesy of Wikipedia: a transition of websites from isolated information silos to so... [Read More]
» Google Launches ContentBlocker Beta from Daily SEO news
Ads being the only thing holding the Internet together currently, Google has gone out of its way again to put their applications where there money is... [Read More]
This sounds great!
A nice feature for consumers to use, for their decisions, and for companies to use, as a feedback source.
Do you think there could be a risk for abuse by unscrupulous marketers?
Risk? Certainly. But for the very popular items, I imagine that truth will prevail.
Yeah, the wikis have been really good sources of information so far, so let´s hope it stays that way! =)
Oh, the abuse I can see from unscrupulous marketers taking the time to post wrong information about their competitors.
That's the real worry, and I wonder if Amazon realizes the can it opened. Let's not forget the LAT wiki.
There's abuse and then there's usability. Just posted a brief wiki comment for a book but no ability to link directly to the very excellent NPR page featuring a reading of the entire (children's) book. Is it a wiki if you can't link to other content? Is Amazon trying to create too much stickyness? YMMV...
I added a bit of content to the wiki associated with "Creating Customer Evangelists" and discovered two things:
1. It automatically added my name as having edited the wiki.
2. That Amazon must be conducting this as a beta test because the ProductWiki does not show up on another computer of mine.
Hello Ben, I wanted to blog about this as well, but simply could not find the wiki feature. First I checked a marketing book - no ProductWiki there. Then I looked up Harry Potter 6, no wiki feature either. Then I did a Google search: "ProductWiki site:amazon.com", again nothing. Where IS this thing? Cheers, Martin.
Martin -- For books, it's under the "Customers who viewed this book also viewed" category. That you're not seeing it and that I didn't see the feature on another computer leads me to believe it's part of a random beta.
Thanks for the info, but I could not find it, even in "customer who viewed this also viewed". It seems Amazon removed it. Maybe it is because the name "productwiki" is already taken. Try "productwiki" on google and you'll see that a service under that name is to be launched Nov25.
Man, this all looks a bit like we are seeing the Beta-ization of service delivery in real-time action here... ;-)
individual's control of their preferences is what we all want and should require. we should be looking for a 'usercentric' not a 'vendorcentric'model to express and transact our preferences.
Can you give us a link to some particular product pages that have been wikified?
How about a link to an actual product listing with the wiki? Huh? I see this too much. -- bloggers so self-interested that they forget the basics.
That's partly why I suggest to Amazon it create an index page of recently modified wikis -- so we know what's being updated. An RSS feed for all of this would be nice, too.
Other than the wiki update I did for my book, whose URL I posted in a follow-up post, I'm unable to find any wiki updates. I imagine the reason for the paucity of examples: Amazon launched this feature in a random beta a few days ago.
Just to cover the "basics" for you, Chris:
I can see it from some browsers (Firefox, IE) and not others (Mozilla). So I'm not sure about the random beta theory.
This could be a big success for Amazon, assuming they have proper safeguards in place i.e. can stop the hordes of potential commercial spammers, or stop those same people from producing biased reviews.
For those interested in the use of wikis for consumers, you can read an interview of Erik Kalviainen, co-founder of the "real" ProductWiki, here:
Hmmm. Somehow I missed this back in November. It would be useful to see a follow-up post on this from you detailing whether or not it as ultimately been a success for Amazon, whether large companies have followed suit and how it has impacted marketers, as you allude to in your post.