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Snarky Amazon Reviews Send T-Shirt's Sales To The Top

Mike Musgrove

Can a T-shirt go viral online? Well... of course it can.

There's an informal comedy-writing workshop of sorts going on over at Amazon, where a growing wave of reviewers have latched on to a T-shirt bearing the image of a trio of wolves howling at the moon.

Snarky reviewers at the site are giving the T-shirt credit for everything from psychedelic vision quests to new and intense attention from the opposite sex. Some of the tales are quite elaborate.

"I have been wearing this shirt for about 15 weeks and I have not needed to wash it!" claim's one Amazon shopper's review. "You don't put this shirt on your torso you put it on your soul."

"Rex Creekmur" of Washington, DC, puts a J.J. Abrams-style twist on his review. "If you inadvertently put this shirt on backwards AND inside out, you will cause a tear in the actual fabric of space-time," he warns.

Another reviewer makes a veiled reference to a previous product that somehow became the butt of a viral wave of joke reviews: "I accidentally spilled a glass of Tuscan Whole Milk down the front of this shirt, and my soul was torn from my body and thrown into heaven by a jealous God."

So far the T-shirt has earned 158 5-star reviews, climbed to the top of Digg, and is now riding high as the number-one item in Amazon's apparel store.

That's right. People are not just reviewing the three wolves T-shirt -- they're buying.

"It's nice to see our shirt at number one at Amazon," Michael McGloin, one of the partners at The Mountain, the New Hampshire-based company that makes the shirt. "We're of course, okay with publicity... [and] it's hilarious that you can comment on an Amazon product and push it to number one."

McGloin said that he finds some of the reviewer comments to be hysterical, but finds some of the reviews to be a little meanspirited.

Though the company doesn't yet know what sort of sales uptick to expect from this accidental splash of attention from online jokers, McGloin said that shirts like this were already selling briskly. "Wolf shirts are super hot right now," he said. "It's the year of the wolf I guess."

wolf t-shirt.JPG

By Mike Musgrove  |  May 19, 2009; 3:32 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Perhaps these creative writers moved on from the $500 Denon Cable (only 2 left! Order now!) - http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedicated-Link-Cable/dp/B000I1X6PM/

Posted by: kctipton | May 19, 2009 10:14 PM

James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, explores the concept of how large groups of people can be smarter than an elite few: Better at solving problems, fostering innovation and coming to wise decisions.

Wisdom of crowds? Really?

So it’s just a lot of people getting silly over a shirt, right? Except I saw Jared Spool speaking at a recent Usability Experience conference. He talked about another item on Amazon that had attracted an enormous crowd: Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz. More than 1,000 reviewers offered their opinions. Among them:

* Once upon a mid-day sunny, while I savored Nuts 'N Honey,
With my Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal, 128 fl. oz., I swore
As I went on with my lapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the icebox door.
'Bad condensor, that,' I muttered, 'vibrating the icebox door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

* Has anyone else tried pouring this stuff over dry cereal? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

* Horrible service, I bought my milk and went with the 7-9 day super saver shipping method and it arrived warm and curdled. What the hell?

So maybe it’s not wisdom the crowds are displaying here, but they are showing incredibly, collaborative creativity. Maybe you’ll look at milk differently, or notice someone – in a crowd – wearing a wolves T-shirt. These crowds have built a scaffolding environment upon which others can add.

How will you contribute?

read all about it: harborsights.com

Posted by: tsakell | May 24, 2009 11:06 AM

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