Amazon’s Latest Patent

Top Reviewers Concept

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Amazon has been awarded a patent for the concept behind its "Top Reviewers" program. The company apparently filed for this patent back in April of 2001. The abstract goes:

"A facility for rewarding the provision of useful item reviews is described. The facility receives a plurality of item reviews, each from a source. The facility publishes each of the plurality of received item reviews, and assesses the usefulness of the published item reviews. Based upon this assessment of usefulness, the facility selects one or more of the published item reviews, and provides rewards to the sources of these selected item reviews."

Amazon Top Reviewers

As usual, the patent language tends to get a little technical for something as simple as what appears to be the process of rewarding users for providing reviews. "I’m never clear on the specificity of patents, but this one sure looks to me to be specific only to systems that use Amazon’s formula of k(2(A+B+C)-(D+E))," says Read Write Web’s Marshall Kirkpatrick in a comment at TechDirt.

TechDirt (by the way) has this one filed under "(mis)uses of technology". It certainly makes you wonder how this will affect other sites with similar systems in place. Like ebay for one.

Amazon’s Latest Patent
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    So would it be safe to say that they basically patented a mathmatical formula?

    Hmm, if so. Can I file a patent on the entire set of mathmatical formulas that comprise the governing Laws Of Physics?


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