Mystery Woman – The Most Powerful Reviewer on Amazon?

Mystery Woman Amazon Reviewer

With 2,875 reviews under her belt and #1 reviewer ranking, Ali Julia* very well could be.

Although Julia refused an interview, one can garner more than enough just by her reviews alone.

Everything from lip gloss to a device called the “Long Reach Comfort Wipe” that aids in wiping duties while in the washroom, Julia has reviewed it all. (Though she does seem to have an affinity for battery chargers.)

29712413_sIn a profile conducted by The Boston Globe, “And in [the reviews], she has revealed much about herself and her tastes. But she remains, even to the other top reviewers, something of an enigma. Her bio on is light on details, other than that she lives in Boston and is an engineer.”

Julia represents the epitome of the strange alternate universe that is online product reviews.

Mandy Payne, who is ranked #10 on Amazon, says, “It’s a weird, creepy subculture. 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.”

These days, “power reviewers” such as Julia and Payne play a very significant role in the success of a business or product. That’s why businesses are increasingly motivated to campaign for more reviews.  (ReviewInc provides services and support to do just that. Contact us for details.) So much so that people like her are receiving free products daily from businesses hoping to gain some positive feedback.

Each day, Payne arrives home to anywhere from 15-30 boxes on her doorstep, begging for reviews. One company even sent her a treadmill. However most often, she gets a slew of whatever item is popular at the time. She claims that she once had so many Bluetooth speakers that she was able to give them out at Halloween in lieu of candy. (Amazon forbids the resale of such free items.)

Not unlike the elderly woman whose review of Applebee’s went viral in 2012, Julia’s reviews are no-nonsense and to the point.

In an age of when a banana slicer can receive over 5,000 reviews, many of which are satirical in nature, it is refreshing to see that the traditional approach is still lauded as valuable.

*May or may not be her real name.

Online Reviews…Over the Phone?


As we all are relatively well aware, online reviews are rapidly on the rise. Be it Yelp, Citysearch, Amazon, Google+, you name it; online reviews are here to stay.

But is there such thing as online reviews..over the phone? Online reviews, over the phone that are…somehow, still online?

Enter Call Me Ishmael.

Call Me Ishmael is a website that gathers and publishes one- to three-minute voice-recorded book reviews from anonymous contributors recorded via telephone and selects one story to post to the site each day.

So it’s like the SparkNotes book reviews. Yeah, something like that.

One of the downsides of the site, however, is that it doesn’t index the text of the reviews. So that factor could possibly cause it to be less pervasive in disrupting the online book review space.

What’s also interesting is what seems to be a shift away from reading, however. Ironic, considering this is a post about reviewing books. But what we mean by that is, the fact that even though these reviews are over the phone, being a seasoned medium, while also still being online, shows a glorious melding of two mediums that both do not involve any actual reading. (With the exception of reading the book that one is leaving the review about.)

Anyway, it just goes to show how the online review-scape is continuously evolving in new ways and even ways that accommodate components of the past.