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Amazon Will Email You With Users' Questions About Things You've Bought

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By , dealnews Features Director

As some of our eagle-eyed Amazon shoppers might have noticed, the online megastore now provides a question and answer tool at the bottom of every product page, below its popular review section. According to Multichannel Merchant, the tool is unlike those from other retailers because it emails your question to shoppers who have actually bought said item, if Amazon reviews don't already answer it. The site argues that this makes the Q&A format far more effective.

"I just asked questions about two items, one of which had only one review, the other had no reviews," the writer notes, "And yet within two hours I received four answers to one and five to the other!" Sending user queries to shoppers, rather than having a team of Amazon staffers who seek out the answers, theoretically allows for quicker responses. This not only allows the shopper to get buying information while he or she is still in the mood to purchase an item, but it also cleverly allows Amazon to strike while the iron is hot.

But while this seems like a great system, we wonder how many Amazon shoppers will enjoy receiving these email requests, or if the responses have been consistently useful. While the writer points out that the system is great for nuanced questions about utility, there's also the potential for a flood of questions like, "how many HDMI ports does this have?" which could seem irksome to a consumer who knows that all one need do to figure that out is Google the model number. (And although Amazon will filter out questions about "shipping, availability, orders, and customer service," we have seen the aforementioned HDMI query.)

Readers, have you used the Q&A section of Amazon? Have you received emails requesting your help with another consumer's question? What do you think of the system? Sound off in the comments below.


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10 comments
aylee
I always try to write a review for every product I think prospective buyers will find helpful. I even write reviews on my blog where readers can comment and ask questions. Reviews from other people have helped me a lot with my purchasing decisions so I just thought it would be nice if I do my part. So... I don't mind Amazon emailing me other buyers' queries. Besides, the email I use for my online accounts (including Amazon) get spams anyway so I'm used to going through my emails and filtering them. What's another email from Amazon that may end up helping someone?
darthfluffy
I think it's a great idea. I like giving my opinion on things, so I sometimes review items, but I rarely know if anyone reads them (I tend to review obscure products). It'd be nice to have some sort of a payment system like Mechanical Turk, or at least for question answers to influence your reviewer ranking, but even if there's no reward, I think it's a good idea.
bobwhite733076
I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, but haven't noticed this feature yet. Maybe it's only available on certain items? Putting myself in the shoes of one getting the emails, I see both sides to the argument. I wouldn't mind sharing my thoughts on a given item or answering a specific question, but you're right, I'm sure there'd be a lot of dumb questions as well. Especially when buyers STILL use the review section to post shipping or customer service questions. There's a lot of dumb or lazy buyers out there! All that said, Amazon should make it OPTIONAL if you WANT to be available to answer questions on specific items. If they gave me some kind of financial incentive (like free or half price PRIME), I'd do it.
ecvogel
I have not gotten any yet. But, I would expect some kind of payment for doing someones job. Like $1-$5 depending on the question.
MRomacne
As long as my email address and actual name are not shared, I'm happy to help. It's payback for the folks who took the time to write reviews that helped me avoid wasting money on products as well as find good ones worth my $$.

My only other concern is that the questions are from genuine potential customers, and not folks who work for the manufacturers or sellers trying to solicit information they can then use, misuse, abuse.

And, as you pointed out, if people are asking questions that are answered already on the Amazon page descriptions, they will be ignored. (Too lazy to read? Sorry, no time for you. But there is often a lot of stuff left out that only someone who actually purchased can answer.)
dealnews-Lindsay
@TravTech It does not appear that Amazon gives anyone your email address.
TravTech
Depends if the email is coming through Amazon or if they're giving away your email address.

Either way, it can be easily ignored as spam if you're so inclined. Or you can can offer help and advice.

My only concern would be not having them give out my email address to strangers. Last thing I need is a bunch of marketing geeks posing as potential customers pestering me directly so that they can tweak their message to the masses.
tguichar
crowd-sourcing is evil
mfbama
I love it! I try to post reviews about the items that I buy, but as a Prime member I buy so much that I can't. I'd be more than happy to personally let people know how I felt about my purchases, and I'd love to hear what other people have thought about items I'm considering. It's just one more reason of many that Amazon is the best site to go to for a great online shopping experience.
KVT_BK
Wonderful idea.
1. As a prospective buyer it gives the first hand information about the product i am planning to buy from the people who are using it.
2. As a shopper who already brought the product and using it, it's very easy to answer their query. No need of special training.
3. For a second, i am worried of the flood of queries you may get for the product you bought but knowing that amazon filters questions related to "shipping, availability, orders, and customer service", it would be good enough, which means most likely you will be getting product specific questions....
4. For Amazon, they can engage some novice staff who are trained in common amazon faqs like ""shipping, availability, orders, and customer service" and no need to hire / train product specific staff to answer these queries...
Kudos to Amazon's thought process.
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