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Somehow 97.4% of Products on Bodybuilding.com are rated Above Average

January 5th, 2017

In 4th grade, most children in the United States are taught how to calculate averages.  Seems someone at Bodybuilding.com skipped ahead that year.  When it comes to product ratings, their notion of “average” is way off.

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We noticed that every product on Bodybuilding.com has a rating accompanied by a single-word description just below it.  The word is based on the rating, and is used to describe how the reviewers feel about the product.  The 4 possibilities are:

  • 8.0/10 or above = EXCELLENT
  • 5.0/10 to 7.9/10 = GOOD
  • 3.0/10 to 4.9/10 = AVERAGE
  • 2.9/10 or below = POOR

This seems like a great idea – after all, it might be difficult for a first time reader to intuitively know if an 8.0 rating is excellent or just mediocre.  A rating of EXCELLENT would clearly be reserved for products that are the #1 fan favorites.  GOOD would be used to describe the products that still get higher-than-average ratings but don’t quite qualify for the EXCELLENT rank.  AVERAGE would be pretty obvious, and POOR would be given to any product that’s below average.

However, out of the 4,100+ products we looked at, here’s what we found:

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NOW Lipotrim which has a 3.0/10 rating and is currently described as “AVERAGE” is actually rated worse than 98.8% of products on Bodybuilding.com.  That’s not what “Average” means.

There’s no doubt that the word “Average” is being used incorrectly here, but it wouldn’t be hard to argue that EXCELLENT and GOOD are also extremely misleading.

One might assume that these words correlate to the form that is filled out when submitting a product rating, however only two of them are used here:

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So let’s go ahead and fix the criteria for POOR, AVERAGE, GOOD and EXCELLENT to be a little more accurate:

First, “EXCELLENT” should only be reserved for the top 10% of products, right?  Well, that will be a little hard since 16% of products on Bodybuilding.com are rated a perfect 10/10.  So the only thing we can do is say that EXCELLENT = 10/10, accounting for the top 16% of products.

Next, let’s divide the remaining 84% of products equally into three groups (28% each).  Doing so would look like this:

  • Perfect 10/10 = EXCELLENT (16% of products)
  • 9.2/10 to 9.9/10 = GOOD (27% of products)
  • 8.5/10 to 9.1/10 = AVERAGE (28% of products)
  • 8.4/10 or below = POOR (29% of products)

So Cellucor Super-HD which has an 8.4/10 rating and currently described as “EXCELLENT” is actually rated in the bottom third of all products and should be more accurately described as “POOR”.

In theory, it wouldn’t be hard for Bodybuilding.com to correct this, however the result might be a little offputting considering that more than half of their products are rated 9/10, and more than half of all user reviews are 10/10.

So next time you’re looking at reviews on Bodybuilding.com, just keep in mind that their “average” product is actually rated 8.7, and may not be so EXCELLENT after all.