Amazon launches Themes, a feature for filtering Customer Reviews by popular terms

Amazon has quietly launched a new feature called Themes, designed to make it easier for shoppers to navigate a products customer reviews. Now, in the Amazon mobile app, youre able to see which words have been used the most frequently across the reviews left by other customers, and then tap a button to hop straight to a filtered selection of reviews that include that term.

To find a products themes, as these terms are called, you first scroll down to the Customer Reviews section on the products detail page. Here, just above the Top Reviews, youll notice colorful buttons that highlight the words that have been mentioned by previous buyers in their reviews.

At the top, the buttons are larger and are shaded with a blue-ish green background, indicating these terms have been mentioned the most often. Further down, the buttons and the font is smaller. Those buttons are also displayed in gray, which means these terms havent been used as frequently.

For example, a review for handheld vacuum has buttons that point to keywords about the product like suction and battery.

However, the system also seems to pick up other terms that may not be as helpful, like vacuum or various superlatives, like good, or great.

At launch, the feature simply picks out terms based on how often they appear in a products reviews. Its not currently being augmented by some sort of advanced algorithm or A.I. technology that could make it smarter about which terms people would want to see here.

When you tap on a term that interests you, the app will immediately take you to a page with reviews where its mentioned. The term will also be highlighted in yellow in the reviews themselves, making it easier to spot at a glance.

This feature is especially useful when a product has a lot of reviews associated with it, but there are only a couple of aspects to the product that you really want to read more about.

The change comes following a big push on Amazons part to clean up its product reviews by removing bad actors from the review ecosystem, through both legal and technical means. It sued sellers who bought fake reviews, websites offering to provide fake and paid reviews, and individuals offering to review products for cash.

It also banned incentivized reviews meaning those that are tied to free or discounted products given to people in return for a review.

The actions seem to have worked, according to a third-party analysis last year that found Amazon had made good on promises to delete incentivize reviews, even retroactively.

Now the retailer is looking at how the review system itself can be upgraded with more useful features, and the launch of Themes plays into that larger goal. The idea here is that when customers are presented with a large volume of text, they dont want to have exert so much effort just to understand what reviewers are saying.

The Themes feature is available now on the Amazon mobile app on both iOS and Android devices.

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