Amazon is currently testing a new method of displaying product ratings, which has raised concerns among users and observers.
Traditionally, Amazon displayed product ratings using a five-point scale, with yellow stars visually representing the average rating beside the product's image. This rating was calculated as a weighted average of all the star ratings a product received. Factors such as the recency of a rating and verified purchase status were taken into account in this calculation.
However, Android Police reports that Amazon is experimenting with a different approach. Instead of the weighted average star rating, products now display a single yellow star alongside a percentage indicating the proportion of five-star ratings out of all reviews. For instance, a product with an equal number of five-star and one-star ratings would display “50% 5-star” with the previous average rating mentioned before it.
Concerns Over the New System
This new system has been criticized for potentially misleading consumers. By focusing on the percentage of five-star reviews, the system might not accurately reflect the overall sentiment of the reviews, especially if there are a significant number of negative ratings. This could also incentivize sellers to accumulate fake five-star reviews to offset genuine negative feedback.
From a user experience perspective, the new display is not as immediately understandable as the previous five-star system. While the weighted average rating is still mentioned, the emphasis on the percentage of five-star reviews could confuse or mislead users, especially those unfamiliar with the change.
Regional Testing and Future Implications
The new rating display has been spotted on Amazon's platforms in India and Germany. It remains uncertain whether this change is a permanent feature or just a test. The fact that it hasn't been implemented in Amazon's US market suggests it might be a regional experiment.
Amazon has not provided an official statement regarding the change. However, given the potential implications for product perception and seller behavior, many are hoping for further refinement or clarification from the company.
The issue of fake reviews is not new to Amazon. The platform has been grappling with this challenge for years. Automated tools, including AI text generators like ChatGPT, have been used to craft fake reviews on platforms like Amazon. The company has taken legal action against entities offering fake review services for payment.