Can This Tool Really Make Sifting Through Amazon Product Reviews Easier?

Can This Tool Really Make Sifting Through Amazon Product Reviews Easier?

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Melissa Massello
Dec 16, 2017
(Image credit: deandrobot/Shutterstock)

If slogging through product reviews before making a purchasing decision takes all the joy out of buying something new, then you may want to try this new artificial intelligence (AI)-driven product review consolidator. It says it will save you time and money when shopping for electronics and technology by digesting thousands of Amazon reviews into a dynamic, at-a-glance infographic. We give it a test.

Reading product reviews before purchasing anything online these days is a must — and, most importantly, figuring out how to verify whether or not they are legit. The Review Index is a clever product review hack that uses a neural network to scan thousands of product reviews and then redisplay them as a simple, clickable visual infographic.

(Image credit: The Review Index)

The free web-based tool uses an AI neural network to index thousands of Amazon reviews into a simple, visual yes/no recommendation status bar and promises to makes shopping by peer product review a breeze. At least, as we found out by testing it ourselves, after they work out some of the kinks — meaning when the artificial intelligence gets better at "learning" how to properly categorize complicated review copy syntax (and gauge snark and sarcasm).

The AI tool also attempts to improve the trust factor of online reviews, by looking for spam reviews through a simple count of number of reviews per reviewer, looking for unverified review streaks, high amounts of reviews in a short amount of time, and other factors, according to Lifehacker.

We tested it for ourselves using a new tech product we've seen a lot about — the Samsung Frame SmartTV — by grabbing the Amazon product link for the 55" model (60 reviews) and dropping it into The Review Index toolbar.

(Image credit: The Review Index)

In seconds, The Review Index crunched the data to display a sample of 10 out of 43 of the reviews (removing 33 reviews as "unverified"). The much-hyped "spam test", however, which gives a set of product reviews a PASS or FAIL never completed: it continued to show a progress bar for the duration of our review period, though an email box was provided offering us the option of being updated when it had successfully made it through the tool's server queue.

The reviews were then broken down into three feedback categories: Software, Picture Quality (picture), and Service (picture). Sadly, after wading through all 60 reviews on Amazon.com the old fashioned way, we were surprised to see that only the Software category seemed to match the mixed feedback of the original Amazon Customer Reviews and Questions.

(Image credit: The Review Index)

One of the biggest pieces of negative customer feedback on the Samsung Frame pilot model on Amazon were reviews of the picture quality when the SmartTV is in "Art Mode" — aka the "frame" part of the product. The review summarizer displayed a 100 percent approval for the Picture Quality (picture), even though three out of five of the sample reviews were digs of the product for failures in its Art Mode technology — most pointedly, the fifth review selected, which was simply "... You wouldn't 'trick' anyone to think it looks like a natural picture ..." Not exactly a glowing thumbs up.

Overall, the Review Index did match the high-level Amazon rating, however, which gave the product 4 out of 5 stars (67 percent of reviews) — and the approximately $2,000 television was chosen as one of "Oprah's Favorite Things 2017," if you're the kind of person who uses those kinds of metrics, too.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bottom line: give The Review Index a beta test for yourself and compare its results against the original Amazon rating, or bookmark the tool for later and wait for its AI network to get a little more sophisticated. Maybe by next gift-buying season.

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