Amazon’s Reviews Are Now Searchable

    January 13, 2006
  has made its 10-year-old database of consumer reviews completely searchable!

This is a boon for users. Amazon’s consumer-generated reviews have long been a significant draw. It’s certainly one key feature that keeps me coming back to the site again and again. Now you can search them six ways till Sunday.

More importantly, the reviews are an invaluable tool for marketers interested in tapping the pulse of the Web-empowered consumer. Now you can easily mine Amazon’s mass database for powerful insights. Previously you had to scroll through pages and pages of comments, which was tedious to say the least.

The search feature supports boolean queries (e.g. – “+book +review” returns items containing both book and review). Also, you can search an individual product’s reviews exclusively. This is accomplished either from the product page itself or by entering the Amazon Standard Identification Number (e.g. ASIN:[your ASIN] [your search term]) on the search page. If you enter your search on the product page, you get a Google Suggest-like Ajax interface.

Think about how powerful this is. We’re talking about ten year’s worth of consumer reviews that now can be mined for insights! I found reviews written in 1997. I bet they go back even farther. Just look at how many mentions there are of the word book – 3.3 million! Somebody slap an API and some Firefox plugins on this baby.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.