Ali Julia may or may not be her real name. But to the complex and influential world of Amazon reviews, Ali Julia is a name to be reckoned with. The mysterious Boston woman with an affection for computers and battery chargers is the number one ranked reviewer on Amazon. She sounds a little quirky, too.
The Boston Globe just profiled Ali Julia, offering a peek into that weird word of Amazon's power reviewers. Although Ali Julia wouldn't let the paper interview her for the story, her 2,866 reviews sort of speak for themselves. Ali Julia publishes several reviews a day — she's published four since the Globe story was published less than 24 hours ago — and is known for being straight forward and fact-oriented, both key skills for any good product reviewer. While she describes herself as a computer-lover in her bio, the enigmatic woman reviews it all from books to tablets to the Long Reach Comfort Wipe, a device that helps you, well, wipe.
What's perhaps most intriguing about this strange subculture is the idea that the top Amazon reviewers are pretty powerful people in the online retail business. The Globe did get to interview Mandy Payne who says she gets as many as 30 free products a day from companies hoping for a positive review. It's not all fun, though. "It's a weird, creepy subculture," said Payne. "I get hate mail. I've had death threats. But then I also have fans who seem to follow everything I do. It's bizarre."
That's the internet in a nutshell: a bizarre realm of human interaction where millions of dollars hang in the balance at all times. It's a world where a woman who loves battery chargers can affect companies' bottom line. This internet is a wonderful weird place. [Boston Globe]
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