21.09.2023 | by Lili
Stars in the sky are constant companions of our world, and so are stars on Amazon product pages. The more of them, the better: this is true for a beautiful summer night as well as a product you wish to buy.
At least, it was true until now.
Don’t worry, the sky is not about to change - but the Amazon product rating system just might.
Rating systems are ever present features of almost any online marketplace. No wonder: they’re perfect to translate the old word-of-mouth type of customer feedback to the digital age. The aggregated experience of previous buyers is a great basis for new customers to decide if the product or service is worth their time and money.
Amazon uses a very easy to understand rating system. When viewing a product page, shoppers can quickly spot the outline of five golden stars and a number right below the name of the product. This data is the aggregation of all customer reviews.
When you buy a product, you have the option to place a review. On a scale of 1-5, customers can choose how satisfied they are with their purchase with 1 being the lowest. If, for example, you find the product almost perfect, you can give it a four-star rating, meaning that you colour in four of the five hollow stars. Amazon then adds all the reviews together and displays the average (not the perfect mathematical average but a number calculated with machine learning) as a number as well as a five-star scale coloured in according to the average rating.
Screenshot of a random product listing on amazon.com with the rating system highlighted
Should shoppers wish to read verbal feedback as well, they can click on the link right beside the stars to see what previous customers have written about their experience with the product.
Moreover, if you want a quick glance at all the ratings in detail, you can let your mouse hover over the stars and a window will pop up with the percentage of the different star ratings.
Screenshot of a random product listing on amazon.com displaying the detailed ratings
While this system is not perfect (which one is?), it’s quite straightforward and easy to understand. For example, a 4.3 rating like the one in the above screenshot indicates that people are generally very satisfied with their purchase and it would be quite safe to buy the product.
Instead of the usual five stars in various stages of hollowness, Amazon now wants to display only one star, and the number that used to indicate the average of all ratings should now only show the percentage of five star ratings to all the other ones.
Reports have noted that Amazon is currently testing the system in Germany and India. However, when we accessed Amazon from these countries and several others, we only encountered product pages with the regular rating system. This may indicate that Amazon has paused the testing, or maybe even abandoned the new system altogether.
At this point there’s no timeline, nor any official information about the eventual rollout of the system. When questioned about the new ratings, Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti replied, “We are always innovating on behalf of customers to provide the best possible shopping experience.”
While the new display definitely looks simpler (less numbers and stars clutter the page), understanding the meaning behind it is another story. Since it gives you less information at a glance about the total number of buyers, it’s much harder to draw your own conclusion.
For example, a new product with only a couple of buyers may get a few enthusiastic early reviews and thus quite a good rating. On the other hand, an older product with a lot more buyers who had more time and experience with the product may get a more accurate feedback - albeit with a lower rating.
However, since you can’t see the number of reviews, and the other-than-five star reviews aren’t quantified, it’s much harder to get a clear picture about what other buyers think of the product. You can still click on the number to get more detailed information but that takes time and effort, and may frustrate confused shoppers.
And let’s not forget about the opportunities this system gives to fraudsters.
Fraudulent sellers willing to buy fake reviews may stand to gain a significant advantage.
Since the system groups together all reviews that didn’t give five stars, sellers and products possessing a large amount of five star reviews have a chance to stand out more than others. And as fake reviews give almost exclusively five stars, fraudsters can gain a lot with this system.
At this point it’s unclear when, how, and even whether the new rating system will become the norm on Amazon. We’ll keep an eye on the developments and let you know the outcome once it becomes more certain.
However, regardless of the rating system any marketplace employs, it’s best not to give fraudsters a chance to steal your revenue.
globaleyez’s clean marketplace solution and marketplace monitoring service ensures the timely detection of IP infringing product listings from more than 150 online marketplaces worldwide. It doesn’t matter how many and how favourable ratings a fraudulent seller arranges for themselves, we enforce your IP rights and demand the removal of any infringing product listing from the marketplace.
In addition, our state-of-the-art software tool, traxster is able to capture the star rating of a product as well, allowing us to integrate this data into our brand protection and distribution control measures.
Contact us and learn more about our highly scalable solutions perfectly tailored to your brand’s needs.