Wow. I just read over on the Micro Persuasion blog that Amazon seems to be experimenting with user-editable wikis for product listings. If true, the trick will be in convincing individuals that adding information to product wikis is worth it. If enough do, however, this could seriously change the way many of us make future purchase decisions.
I would imagine that a lot of product managers are quaking in their boots at the idea. Certainly there is the danger that competitors may sabotage each other’s wikis, planting rumors and probing at weak points, but the bigger issue willl revolve around user input. Suddenly complaint desks will sit out in the open for all the world to see. Diplomacy, transparency, and a thick skin may turn out to be much more important qualifications for the job than a PhD in spin.
Too bad the wikis won’t be in place in time for holiday shopping. I’d very much appreciate hearing from other customers that the interface on the camera I’m thinking of sending my mother is too complicated. Like all wikis, however, it will take some time and a great deal of input before the database is truly useful and reliable. Maybe they’ll be ready when I buy her that home gene-splicer next year.
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