User generated content is a currently a hot topic. Taylor Hawes’ blog Is User Generated Content Right for Your Website? goes on to explain the basics. In simple terms, user generated content (UGC) comes about when businesses opt to have users generate content for them, either in place of or as a supplement to the content they already have. Such content can be: product reviews, guest posts, and customer images, along with others.
My Amazon Experience
Amazon is a prime example of using user generated content, most popularly in the form of product reviews. Every college textbook I have ever gotten along with 99% of items I order online comes from Amazon. While this blog isn’t to brag about them, I can commend them for the way they handle user generated content and it is easy to see that they benefit from it.
Let’s face it, most of us read reviews when we are looking to order something. Some even base their decision whether to order something or not solely off the reviews. In my experience, I have found that Amazon benefits from this. Not only does Amazon offer quality products, but they also cater to the users. They always want users input on their products.
So here, these product reviews are a good example of user generated content. Amazon breaks down these reviews with “most favorable” and “critical” so that you can get two different helpful reviews. Here is another example of user generated content. Many different vendors offer products on Amazon, and Amazon fulfills those orders. When users provide negative feedback, Amazon jumps right on to address it.
In this case, there was a bad experience and Amazon was there to take responsibility. Without this user generated content, Amazon would not have any clue that this vendor sold a defective item. Amazon in my experience is one of the quickest to resolve these negative posts. They have one of the best customer service departments I have ever dealt with.
Why is UGC benefiting Amazon?
It is easy to see that Amazon, the company that sold 306 items per second, or 27 million items on Cyber Monday has a lot of content. These product reviews act as a supplement to the content that they already have. These reviews give them valuable information about their products and promote more business. You can’t tell me you won’t buy a product when you are contemplating buying it and you see a review for it saying that it shipped in one day and was better than advertised. Ultimately, UGC is beneficial for Amazon. They have a loyal fan base (when I look at a product it generally has over 200 reviews) and the content is generally spot on. If for some reason there is a negative review, you can be sure Amazon will resolve it within a few hours.
A few questions to consider:
- In terms of quality of content, how would you deal with user generated content (in this case product reviews) that was not true? How do we know if users are just lying to give the product 5 stars?
- Are there any downsides of UGC for Amazon?