What year did Amazon.com add community reviews?
September 8, 2007 12:52 PM   Subscribe

What year did Amazon.com unveil community reviews?

I'm wondering if anyone knows what year Amazon unveiled community reviews? I don't recall it being there in the first year or so of Amazon's existence (1994).

This is for a presentation I am doing, and my contention is that it was a big deal when it was added. The fact that anyone could add their own reviews -- not just paid critics -- was an important step on the way toward online social communities. I'm curious what year that happened.

Whether you agree or disagree, I'm curious if anyone knows what year this feature was added.

posted by zooropa to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I picked a book that came out in 1994 and went to the oldest review for it. The very first reviews are in early 1996, and are anonymous. The first review by a logged-on customer is in August of 1997. I checked several older books and have yet to see a logged-on customer review dated earlier than Aug. 1997 or an anonymous one earlier than spring 1996.

So the year is 1997 for registered community user reviews, and very likely 1996 for anonymous reviews.
posted by iconomy at 1:22 PM on September 8, 2007

They actually launched in July 1995, and they mention the user reviews in their first annual report in Dec 1997 (PDF) ("Customers entering the Amazon.com Web site can, in addition to ordering books and other products, ... read and post reviews ...")
posted by smackfu at 1:25 PM on September 8, 2007

Best answer: There are definitely reviews from 1995. Give me a moment...

OK, for example: "The Chamber", by John Grisham (which I picked because it was apparently very popular in 1994).

Sort reviews by "Oldest First". The first review for that particular book was September 21, 1995.
posted by Flunkie at 1:30 PM on September 8, 2007

And, to be explicit: Since, as smackfu noted, they didn't launch until 1995, there's your answer:

posted by Flunkie at 1:34 PM on September 8, 2007

Response by poster: Fantastic! Thank you, everyone. I appreciate the quick response and the accurate info.
posted by zooropa at 4:01 PM on September 8, 2007

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