Amazon as Issue Engine: Islands of Weird


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A project by: Anne Helmond, Erik Hekman, Kate Miltner, Molly Kalan, Bazilah Talip, Sarietha Engelbrecht (thanks Bernhard Rieder & Erik Borra!)

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Amazon as Issue Engine: Islands of Weird

  1. 1. Amazon as Issue Engine: Islands of Weird Kate Miltner, Molly Kalan, Anne Helmond, Sarietha Engelbrecht, Erik Hekman, Bazilah Atalip (thanks Bernhard Rieder & Erik Borra!)
  2. 2. Research Questions: 1.To what degree is there overlap between the various mock commenters in Amazon? (Is there a mock review culture?) 2.Is this activity being generated organically or through organized activity? Can we trace this? Tools • To collect and process Amazon reviews and corresponding data we built our own scraping software (node.js). This tool collected information about 31 Amazon products which were later used for various data analyses. • We used Gephi for data visualisation • Google Refine was used to filter and analyze data. Data Set • We worked with 31 products and their reviews stored in 1,915 separate html files.
  3. 3. Results Overview Two mock review spaces in Amazon: - Political issue space - Amazon Reviewer Community (“LOLReview”) space Political Space: - One-off comments - Largely driven by news LOLReview Space: - Performance of community through core product corpus and intertextual references - Heavy involvement from Top Reviewers
  4. 4. Why These Products? - Extremely expensive - Political - Gendered - Absurd/Obvious - Culturally ironic - Intertextual/Referential
  5. 5. Community via Recommendation Engine?   “I've been thinking for awhile of upgrading my 570 Banana Slicer to the 571, but first I need to know if it is compatible with non-chiquitas, and also what are the advantages of the 571 over the 570? Oddly, when I did a search for banana slicer, it came up with (besides a couple of banana slicers) an album called the Best of David Hassellhoff. No joke! Maybe he has a song about banana slicing in it.” “I own these pens and they are great. They are pens. They work. But what really interests me is this: under the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" title, the number one choice is (the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer): Now, that's a bit Freudian for me, but power to the ladies! Buy your women's pens, and get that banana slicer while you're at it. And enjoy!” - Luv2Teach (Southern California)
  6. 6. Amazon product recommendations
  7. 7. Amazon reviewers community
  8. 8. jazzfan 007 Amazon reviewers community bella ricci (scotland) million random digits pike beloved david zimmerman (baton rouge, la usa) (vine voice) microwave cooking cranky yankee (boston, ma) d. r. thayer "heavenly_uu" (los angeles, ca usa) herr tarquin biskuitfa "aka tarquin f'tang f... (luton) carl m. rabbin (olney, maryland usa) stuart cunningham h. scharnberg (dorf, germany) a customer j c. f. hill "cfh" margaret dybala "too many books, too little time" a. trotter (new hampshire) (vine voice) j. hermida "lover and fighter" chairman of the board "smith board of directors" (w. sacramento, california) nas (ca) jonathan c. pike (canton, ma) (vine voice) with Amazon top reviewers catinahat "catinkaty" (gulf coast, tx) matthew cayenne "mwcayenne" (indiana) the wolf master "mac the wolf" (awesome, wis the us of a) handy man "dog lover" (northen indiana, usa) s. d. boraston (radstock) mexican wolf boy (mexico) damon peter shipley (berkeley) sadpickle david luzader (phoenix, az) mike (providence, ri) s. "strap" (honolulu, hi) michael a. duvernois c. nekritz (new york, ny) j. laury "zombie killer" a apoem "apoem" h. perry mie ishii "russian doll" barry gilbert (boulder, co united states) blue6 coffeegurrl "coffeegurrl" (oregon) e. verrillo (williamsburg, ma) j. arena jeh (i -10) melanie l "writer" (minnesota, usa) r. m. nordstrom "chel" (vancouver, bc canada) lutwidge (san francisco) joe zyzyx (maryland, united states) mcbowlerpimp (w. syracuse, ne) general zorg (planet ksadjlak g) joanna daneman twal (uk) m. loy "c. d. ward" (miskatonic, me) jagadeesh k. venugopal steffan piper t. alan taylor lola the man in pants "nad" elbatcho della vente bic medium desdecardo gil gildner (little rock, ar) kal-el rollin' deuces on da blinga' "sidekick me at ... ( khati teofisto (san diego, ca) m. leeds (huxley, ia) dee a brooke bigdog renee gilbert (united states) cyphis liza sauls "thingamajig" (rancho cucamonga, ca usa) m. smith (powell, ohio usa) a. rosenberg (lost somewhere in ca) dustin downs gordon d. (brooklyn, ny united states) rock fan "fan of classic roc guy the gorilla (virginia) northcutt bailey eric ufo detector tamara thorne (california, usa) (vine voice) elias k. meeks robin lee josh (deep in the woods) oh captain awesomeface "my captain awesomeface" (usa) william bradford toilet seats thomas justin stanchfield (wise river, montana united states) g. jones "rj357" (vacaville, ca) georgestark michael paul moskowitz sam jeff m bubba krissskrosss "kriss" laurie krickerprof (kirksville, mo, usa) h vikkitikkitavi " avid rea joh tom mille gilbert glib (los angeles, ca) t. wayne (los angeles, ca) b. yoder "realist...." (7th level of hell...) rich meyer "rich" (st. clair, pa usa) p. vanzo "dr who" (new zealand) yankee2ny (usa) carol sheppard "grandma" (fla) david "dmb" (the south) john griffin (ireland) pete travis pelt "freelance guru" (kayaking through dc) bachelier ""1004"" (ile de france) alon a. aloni "im a plethora of useless infor... (my pants) brett o. de frias "realmadrid2727" tweedy (scotland, uk) scott b. macdonald (ny) m "cultofstrawberry" patricia "a reader" i. guch (va) m. mcnully "fantasy reader/writer." (texas) david stupid_hurts kevin s. (new jersey, usa) kevin m. derby chris coffman (st. louis, mo) nerdhammer kristen e. bogren "kristen bogren" (los lunas, nm usa) (vine voice) m. heiss (usa) coffee catholic (planet earth) brian w. kunkemoeller "kunkembw" (cincinnati, oh usa) e r (brooklyn, ny) cat feet (united states) (vine voice) mad gremlin sol rosenberg "sol rosenberg" (groom lake, nv) rico mountain youth three sleeve modern blue argonaut lynn a. kendall "bibliophile, -phage, and -ma... (silicon valley, ca united states) (vine voice) eager reader k. patterson "disgruntled citizen" a. dent "aragorn" rahul p. kamath "carbon-based life form" (madison, wi) p. breakfield iv "tom steele" (greenville, sc united states) (vine voice) d. elson "moomooo !!!!!" (moo moo, moooo) c. bleakley (central illinois) damnably rarer ilk (tucson, az) bob dobbs (washington, dc usa) georgina (portlandia) dre reviewbot george takei john hedley (san francisco, ca united states) scott (nj) beatle23 "beatle23" (evanston, il usa) danaful (north branford, ct) y. r. wu "the will to win is nothing without" abreo anne 50 shades of bic j. a. konrath j. clark jason kirkfield "the pride and sorrow of chil" sarah stegall (california usa) (vine voice) s. j. steimer houston aggie (houston, tx united states) "rocketeir" (erie, colorado usa) j. goebel (il) v. zhirinovsky "vlad the mad" (virginia, usa) lex10 "" (nj usa) morrigan alexandros "the opinionated me" (vine voice) b. burgdorf (in united states) brutus "momofthree" big pens (women) barbara (tulsa, oklahoma) cordyceps johannes hansen timboliah pantsonfiyah "timboliah pants on fiyah" (usa) gordon steven l. siddharth firechill (allentown, pa united states) nick spalding (united kingdom...the warm bit in the south) voiceofnoone kevin "kp 2001" (annapolis, moldova, republic of) bartok kinski "a casual stroll through the lu... (prague) noname absolut_me d. williamson s. fisher (los gatos, ca) freestateracer (laurel,, ms. united states) kid's review marajadelotus kort "art, music, book and movie enthusiast" tank kane gruber (tallahassee, fl united states) t. elliot "t. elliot" (uk) neurosplicer (freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) ilovemydrummerboyfriend "a do it diva" (the district, usa) ethan brehm a reader (salt lake city, ut) ij reilly casey mr. nowhere (las vegas, nv) peary perry thespeedytomato e. jackson clark jj tyler durden "camdenc" (little rock, ar) cybermurph (new york, new york) frank perkins (ct, usa) andrew f. (philadelphia, pa, usa) karl pedorski (somewhere else) cohaagen queenb (nyc) barlow sickly child "the sickly child" (fort thomas, ky usa) travis the impaler jack l. aiello road apple "who brings the mustard?" whole milk paul bellefeuille (new hampshire) bob spankymonkey (pukesville) overlook1977 (raleigh, nc united states) p. lacho "travel hawk" ben winegard (columbia, missouri) cat emma d. hayes a new fan! (newport news, va) acedetective matthew barchok s. j. huse (rehoboth, de usa) tarheelcoin d. hobbs "lordboots" (seattle, wa usa) butch ___ ___ _ (brooklyn, ny) r. blais "lol wut" (fernley, nv usa) (vine voice) chief wiggum (kettering, uk) keith french over the river (washington, dc)david a. james (fairbanks, ak usa) marsha s. mayo (vine voice) uranium ore supercow (pasadena, ca) zachariah "zachariah" a. courie "treb" (freedom's fortress) ken a. earle (bellevue, wa) suzanne c (vienna, va) mike tiburon "d" (colorado springs) songbird (houston, tx) dr. c. (washington, dc, usa) liz mb "mb" (edison, nj usa) bob josh agito boston bluestocking (cambridge, mass.) andrew reverend (denver, co usa) nathan beauchamp "consumeradvocate" e. dillinger stevie michael l. giro (sacramento, ca) r. moses (new hampshire) catherine swinford (raleigh-ish, nc) (vine voice) screenwriter morgan mark twain d. jones seblick (pennsylvania, usa) lisa james thiele myron d dornic (dallas, tx united states) princess k. bolivar b al cuthere broblu "illiterate" (m bridge, ns can) jaime gomez ashley diane emmie (oregon) cletus (cooterville) admiralissimo voodoo (ohio) richard nadine saubers "my view" (san diego) sonja jonathan erin sick of it all (suck city) jeff in tucson (tucson, arizona) sarah (kent, uk) christopher brown nobel prize winner nicholas provenzo (virginia, usa) joseph t. webb (lake mary, florida) min byong chang "mbc" (uijongbu south korea) kevin michael king (worcester, ma united states) rob lisette baxter (brisbane,australia) eric shaw (united states) jesus of amazon "the lord your savior." (heaven, earth) marc b. walker "marc walker" (austin, tx usa) m. lucas "mlucasone" (lima, per) s. regn j. e. bornstein "thehal" paul pearson spamx harmless gryphon (nowhere worth mentioning) randall peek will javier del bosco r. carroll wheelmate lollie dot com "i love my bicycles" (in tahlequah, ok) g. kline "art and technology" (hoboken, nj) terry barker (seattle, usa) yan c. staab james o'brien navy bean "navy bean" (amsterdam/dayton, oh) attorney man papa vic "papa vic" (hollywood, ca) kevin michael j. edelman mark ej "ej" (boston) alex daniel a. garcia (orange county, ca) c. hill (wasilla, alaska) spinky (wv usa) anonymous alexander e. chatfield tfinch g. mattione "avid reader" (englewood, co united states) j. green michelle alex delarge morley dotes "morleydotes" emily hall (tuscaloosa al) parent child testing george bungle hippoguy (illinois) darby powell god jon miller "jon acua-miller" (austin, tx usa) shady ave reader (arlington, va) j. steinhebel "js" d. stephenson "danfish24" nathan bonsal "nathan" (rio rancho, nm usa) susan adamo baumbach m. booda "legally bland" (anytown, usa) tpo (bora bora) bob dog (boondocks, nc) denon cable capt a. braidy mrliar catbird grazzidad adelmar edison sutra "reality observer" (kissimmee, fl) gigi virginia window maven (boston ma) warren redlich jon socrates brad maria richard nightwood (republic of assyria) el fuego no fault lawyer "no fault lawyer" (new york, ny) me velodog (doylestown, oh) moritz reichelt "moritz r" (berlin, germany) big jim debra (newnan, ga) billy boy jonathan p clarke confused r. chambers "ras" (tx) electric fred "fred hy." (san francisco bay area) james snape "page-zone" (ohio) barry (pnw) patrick vicki b. casey (los angeles) ben delia (eugene, or) chana_s stormdog17 a. koebel (canada) lynb362002 ellen lopez teddifish chap gmunderson (seattle, wa united states) huge penis hank j. pyron amish ninja tom martin m. rosenbluth (nc) gen. jc christian, patriot nicole no james este blondebananaslicer brion l. boyles "zardoz" (woodbridge, virginia) g john s. harris "the voice of reason" (memphis, tn) (vine voice) miguel denice bee "denicebrown_2000" (detroit, mi united states) sara gwbush liam sweeny h. meigs "happy customer" (san francisco, ca) a. sargeant "sarge" dave goldenberg "yodaveg" (ridgefield, ct) aj robert d. moses (sayville, ny united states) ollie bobo d j conway kc john c. gardner (reno, nevada usa) jeff daly trevor joe tonigh adammongothetrucker jamesvreitano f millsjon doeringer usa) (se texas)(ny, elise r. jersak (coon rapids, mn united states) cas marino (new york states) punksten dante bacani (chicago, il, unitedcity, ny) captain feathersword boomdiada j meyers bardofbyte loyd e. eskildson "pragmatist" (phoenix, az.) (hall of fame reviewer) bargain hunter (grand rapids, mi) jillybean t. mackaythisdude (manhattan beach, michael brown "screemincheese" (new york, ny united states) ca usa) sloop emmell seasmith "barely literate" janet mountainwalt magical unicorn madeleine b. (boulder, co) lightsleeper (chicago) gml (austin) pmsteve steve donald sensing (fairview, tenn.) woolery don bigdave guy ricky cilantro (texas) jamie m. j. green "mj." (southern usa) george katie penname fred gardening fool "kindsoul" (southern california) charles bittner "disabled comedian and gamer!" guy from pasadena "mel" (pasadena, ca usa) music_geek playmobil jake r. herschler dindy robinson (arlington, tx united states) (vine voice) sergei chernov (los angeles) pteechka "pteechka" (nc) rashelle jones eric (bloomington, mn, united states) jason captain shipdodge randolph mcfoo john hlinkocaitlin (washington, dc, usa) "jhlink" jt rick sybilla goodall (greater boston area) therosen "therosen" (new york, ny united states) (vine voice) jeff rambler "willat" (morris county, nj usa) psychanalyst717 (new york, ny) emmbee "emmbee1962" (kansas city mo) ronny marshall (los angeles, ca) richard crystal "baltimore native" (baltimore, maryland united states) jim chris (new york city) m. block (australia) d. maurillo "bella mia" (san jose, california) mark r. hoffman "highplainsdrifter" (college park, md) birth control zachslow jerome albertson (topeka, ks) joe lippeatt (texas, united states) mm andy mountain man drew woody bonzo wolfman grubmeister j. sykes "mr. s" craig jimmy nathan gary pat kight "pat" (oregon, usa) cjmccarthy chen k e. bradley "luckylady1978" (new york city) b. jolliff rich consumer mc andrea nancy post ol' smoky "loki in the smokies" (tennessee) md s. tkacs (dallas, tx) jer jd moviegoer lori patrick odanielt. sanders (providence, ri united states) southcbishop douglas page free speech lover "free speech lover" (los angeles, ca united states) hen yen s. armstrong (sc) frank todd jim, durham eric hamen "governor of texas" (hilliard, oh united states) michael r. medwith shawn anderson "shawn" (geneseo, illinois usa) bssgrl "bssgrl" (hamden, ct) s. venable (pasadena, ca united states) slobodan cruthirds amazonian djm (jungle) c. battersby ig black_unicorn (pennsylvania) rob (your head) christopher barrett "cmbadass" blueskid (usa) rachel tsoumbakos "barefoot.writer" (melbourne, australia) tammy happy customer beth apologiaphoenix (corryton, tn) al a'quiver leftfoot (florida) cletus robert gwentech "rickp" (usa) brian c. stoneham (texas) james coursey mediocre films "" (los angeles, ca) sean o. emily just ask me! "bronxgal" (brooklyn, ny usa) (vine voice) dan matthew holzmann d. speer (west palm florida) rinner joey jp patrick carroll "winebibber" dan (minnesota) dave jess karrieal jc poephreak the maestro jason (x) (vine voice) nomorenicknamesleft "nomorenicknamesleft" (k space) kate mcintyre (toluca lake, ca united states) bp bradley d. mcdevitt "boudreaux gros" (chapel hill, nc)(texas) vince "deal finder" phil ryan e. bonheim (ct) rachel scott j. hammerling "beer drinker" leon dekelbaum "process613" (santa monica, ca) karen robert lassiter jr (kinston, north carolina) omar "abu ahmad jihad" robert g crane paul brett "bret_p" (beaverton, or usa) wayfinder (usa) p. wang jesper (highland park, tx) sadie flam larry carnes paul foster (austin, tx) sally c. b. manges (westsylvania, pa united states) dawn gagnon "dawnella" (sc) unicorn horn john buzzn "more than this" (marin county, ca usa) stephen anglojen (d.c.) jimbob sursk73 crafty is asstephany (austin, tx usa crafty does mam121 (baton rouge, la 420 the taminator "there's no going"marzipanda" ... (the people's r a. tran back. you've (palo alto, ca) mr. anchovy "he reads books!" (new pinkie micah tim pen name matthew ravenskya "princess of horror" (vine greg bb gail three deep (hickory holler, ar) batman peter "franken" (strugglesville) kyle j. von bose "kyle von bose" (anchorage, alaska) patrick w. crabtree "the old grottomaster" fozzetti (nevada) fred kepler "fredrock" (portland, or usa) wandrwoman "wise as aphrodite" alphadog "sapienza" (rome, italy) nick james k polk "napoleon of the stump" furiouss (georgia) deb farvel newvan "farv" steven j. hoffman (takoma park, md usa) matt greenguy (chicago il) avid reader mn ghosthunter (mn) brian torrence (overlook hotel) chester huffy (north stripper pole, nv) wally michael s. edwards (oahu, hawaii) ford prefect "gargleblaster" (arizona) t. finan "tman" (west coast) william avoid huge ships j. craft "luvs2shop2much" cap'n stoob "stoob" (usa) paul bright "paul bright" (near san fran) sar
  9. 9. Amazon reviewers community with Amazon top reviewers
  10. 10. Amazon reviewers community reply networks
  11. 11. LOLReviews are intertextual/cross-referential  
  12. 12. Top Cross-Referenced Products  
  13. 13. Avoid Huge Ships Banana Slicer BIC Cristal Black Birth Control (Book) David Hasselhoff Denon Cable Million Random Digits Mizuno Shoe Badonkadonk Tank Three Moon Wolf Tee Toilet Seat Outlook Tuscan Whole Milk UFO detector Uranium Ore Wheelmate Laptop Desk Wandrwoman Robin Lee Paul Moskowitz Michael A. Duvernois M "CultOfStrawberry" krissskrosss Kort Kevin M. Derby J. Arena J. A. KONRATH George Takei Dre C. F. Hill Amazon top reviewers commenting on multiple products in our product set Charles Bittner Review as performance of community
  14. 14. 7/5/13 TagCrowd: make your own tag cloud from any text able (98) best (109) better (104) full buy (129) color (102) cook (102) cover (324) getting (106) going (94) love (121) (155) dinner (127) enough (110) fit (134) found (128) hold (166) home (150) husband (105) job (110) keep (325) life (121) looking (127) man (170) mitt (195) needs (147) office (115) open (103) pages (171) paper (119) pay (100) people (112) product (213) purchase (99) qualified (101) really (200) rings (270) romney (190) sure (102) thank (164) things (100) think (189) thought (95) used (172) view (124) white (171) woman (278) pockets (101) women (1414) work (270) years (153)