Tag Archives: amazon

The Opposite of a Press Release

24 Feb 2021

The Global Online-Traders’ and Community-Hosters’ Association

CAMBRIDGE, UK — Today sees the launch of a new industry body for major technology companies in the online-shopping, social-networking and other related fields. The Global Online-Traders’ and Community-Hosters’ Association (GOTCHA) exists to protect the value of news stories about its members, and ensure fair compensation of those whose activities actually generate the news.

“This is a problem which dates back to the dawn of the industrial revolution”, said William Boot, the organisation’s chairman and CEO. “Newspapers and other media have always been fascinated by the activities of large companies and the personalities who lead them. It is fair to say, in fact, that a significant proportion of their revenues are derived from such stories, and today you can barely open a newspaper or visit a news website without reading about the wealth of an Amazon chairman, the activities of a Facebook CEO, or the supposed iniquities of a Google algorithm.”

Boot, a low-paid former journalist himself, says that he gradually became persuaded of the lack of fairness in the current system and determined to do something about it by joining the other side and forming a campaigning organisation on behalf of those who actually feature in the news.

“Nobody is saying that articles shouldn’t be written about these organisations and entrepreneurs”, he explained. “However, we are clearly living in an unbalanced world when media organisations can make significant amounts of money simply by writing a few words about those who do the hard productive work. These technologists give up years of their life creating services that provide value, products that enrich people’s lives, and platforms that dramatically reduce the friction of global trading. It seems only fair that, when an article is written about a major technology corporation or one of its officers or investors, some portion of the revenue derived from that story should go to the company or individual concerned, since, without their success, there would be no story to write. GOTCHA will be campaigning tirelessly on behalf of its members and will be facilitating the resulting payments made by the traditional media outlets.”

GOTCHA, though founded in Cambridge, England, has yet to announce the final location of its headquarters, though the association has made it clear it won’t be based in Australia.

What I want from Amazon

I buy masses of stuff through Amazon. And I do take note of the reviews left by others. When you do a search, you can choose to order the results by average customer review, which is almost useful, but not quite.

The problem is that if there is only one review, but it’s rated 5-stars, that item will appear at the top. Similarly, an item could be unfairly blighted by a single negative review. I’m not so interested in things that were only bought by the vendor’s cousin, who thought it was great.

So, Amazon, could you come up with something like this, please?

“Sort by the median value where there are more than 5 reviews, and where there are 5 or fewer, by a value somewhere between the mean and the average rating used for all reviews on the entire site, weighted towards the former proportionately to the number of reviews.”

Ideally, a given user’s review would also be weighted to some degree based on the distribution of that user’s reviews for any other products as well. And I’d like to be able to tweak the parameters for my own searches.

Of course, any scheme like this could be gamed, so they’d probably need to keep the actual algorithm secret and change it from time to time, like Google. They could call it Q-Rank; I wouldn’t mind. This would also have another significant advantage:

They’d be able to fit it in the pull-down menu.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser