Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is testing a new way of displaying product ratings that has raised some eyebrows among customers and sellers. The new system replaces the familiar five-star average rating with a single yellow star and the percentage of five-star reviews a product has received. This change, which has been spotted in some regions and platforms, could make it harder for buyers to compare products and easier for sellers to manipulate ratings.
What is the new star rating system?
The new star rating system is a way of showing how well a product has been reviewed by customers who have purchased it from Amazon. Instead of showing the average number of stars out of five, based on all the reviews, the new system shows a single star and the percentage of reviews that gave the product five stars. For example, a product with 100 reviews, 50 of which are five stars and 50 of which are one star, would have a search page rating of “50% 5-star”, with the average 3-star rating next to it.
The new system also removes the number of ratings from the search page, making it harder to tell how popular or reliable a product is. To see the breakdown of ratings by star count and the total number of ratings, customers have to tap or click on the product and go to the reviews section.
Why is Amazon testing the new star rating system?
Amazon has not officially explained why it is testing the new star rating system, but some possible reasons are:
- To simplify the user interface and make it more consistent across different platforms and regions.
- To highlight the positive aspects of a product and encourage more sales.
- To reduce the impact of negative or fake reviews on a product’s rating.
- To experiment with different ways of calculating and displaying ratings using machine learning models.
Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti said in an email to The Verge that “We are always innovating on behalf of customers to provide the best possible shopping experience.”
What are the implications of the new star rating system?
The new star rating system has some potential benefits and drawbacks for both customers and sellers. Some of them are:
- Customers may find it easier to spot products that have a high percentage of satisfied customers, especially if they are looking for a quick purchase without reading detailed reviews.
- Customers may also find it harder to compare products based on their overall quality, popularity, and reliability, especially if they are looking for more nuanced information or have specific preferences or needs.
- Sellers may find it easier to boost their products’ ratings by generating more five-star reviews, either by offering incentives, soliciting feedback, or using fake accounts.
- Sellers may also find it harder to compete with products that have a high percentage of five-star reviews, even if their products have better average ratings or more ratings overall.
The new star rating system could also affect how customers perceive Amazon’s credibility and trustworthiness as a platform for online shopping. Some customers may appreciate Amazon’s efforts to innovate and improve their shopping experience, while others may feel misled or confused by the new system.