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_Ratings_ versus _Reviews_ (1)

Why does Amazon show more “Ratings” than ReviewMeta shows “Reviews”?

February 24th, 2020

UPDATE JULY 2020: Amazon has taken even more steps to hide the true number of “Reviews”.  You’re now required to click through to the reviews page to see how many actual written reviews there are.  We’re making some changes and will be updating this guide soon.

Ever since Amazon’s addition of the “One-Tap Rating” feature back in October ’19, I’ve been seeing more and more questions asking why our original review count is often lower than what is being displayed on Amazon.  The key to understanding is paying attention to when Amazon uses the word “Ratings” versus when they use the word “Reviews”.  Most shoppers conflate the two, and I don’t blame them.  However on Amazon, there’s an important distinction.  A “Rating” is simply the number of stars someone gives to the product (1 through 5).  A “Review” is an actual piece of text that are written about the product.

On October 3rd, 2019, I posted an article criticizing Amazon’s update: Amazon’s One-Tap Review System: Another Step Backwards.  The summary is that Amazon now allows people to submit “Ratings” without writing an actual “Review” (of course you can still write “Reviews”).  Unfortunately, this one-tap rating system makes it impossible for us (or anyone else, including everyday shoppers) to see any detail on the ratings and thus makes it impossible to get any sense of whether or not these ratings are real or not.  We can’t see the dates the ratings were submitted, which users submitted the ratings, what other products those users rated, etc.  This has already led to abuse:

So let’s take a look at an example and see how it could be a bit confusing.  Say you are looking at an Amazon product, and you see:

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.52.00 AM

1,321 Ratings.  (Note that it says “Ratings” and not “Reviews” here.)

You run the report through ReviewMeta, and you see this:

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.50.43 AM

Wait!  What’s going on?  ReviewMeta is only showing an original score of 475 Reviews! (Note that it says “Reviews” here, not “Ratings” – we’re trying to stay consistent with Amazon’s terminology.)

Now you flip back to the Amazon product page, scroll down about halfway (most shoppers will overlook this) and see:

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.52.40 AM

Ok! There’s that 475 number and it says “Reviews” this time.  Let’s continue.

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.52.12 AM

Back up to 1,321 but has the “Ratings” label again.  Now if we scroll ALL the way to the bottom, we’ll finally get some clarification:

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.51.26 AM

If we click the link to see all reviews, it will become even more clear that there really are only 475 Reviews that one could actually read:

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 9.53.06 AM

So it seems Amazon is technically differentiating the “Ratings” and “Reviews” terminology, but it’s easy to see how the average shopper might not notice the slightly different wording.  Again, Amazon does NOT show any data behind their one-tap ratings, so it is impossible for us (or anyone else) to analyze these ratings and estimate their authenticity.  The only thing we can look at is the “Reviews”, so that is exactly what we will continue to analyze.

 


  • regnor

    Thank you for the explanation.
    I’ve just stumbled over this when looking at a rather cheap product and wondered how it could get a 5 star rating with over 1000 reviews. Later it noticed that it were about 1200 ratings and only 6 reviews. You couldn’t trust the reviews before but now it’s senseless at all…at least we can now easily sort out products with fake ratings 😉

  • Marieluise

    This is just a brazen-faced new idea of amazon to increase their business! They don’t know how much they damage their own reputation.
    I always gave a sh … to simple stars. Some people even don’t know that a One-Star-Rating is not the same like the schoolnotes where a 1 is the best note in Germany. Ratings are so easy to fake, and there are millions of Chinese people to help.

    The only method is to read thoroughly and carefully what the users write and sometimes conspiciously look up their profile. Your help is very useful though I don’t always agree with you. But that is normal. I can work with intuition and common sense, you have only your KI. :)

    • treesap

      Ya know, I think it’ll take a lot more reputation damage than that to hurt Amazon. What percentage of people even use review analysis sites, much less actually investigate the reviews as we do?

      Of course, for quality, Amazon should make it harder to rate/review a product, not easier. I’d be fully in favor of the reviewer having to take a short test before reviewing a product, that shows they at least read the description of the product and have the most basic understanding of what they actually purchased. Or perhaps make it an optional component, and use this to make a separate score & enable viewing only “trusted reviews,” of people who demonstrated this.

      I’m grateful that I at least have the ability to properly (I think) sort the reviews and analyze them to the extent that I can get an honest appraisal of a product, but it is certainly time consuming.