Amazon was a pioneer when it came to a retailer offering shoppers the opportunity to leave product reviews, including negative ratings. It was a gamble that paid off - that practice is credited with helping boost the popularity of the marketplace in early years, since shoppers used reviews to help them decide whether to buy a particular product sight unseen, something we now take for granted.
But these days, Amazon has been battling the problem of fake reviews left for products on its marketplace. A consultant noted this week a change Amazon made in September and highlighted the pros and cons of the new system and its impact on sellers.
Marketplace Pulse founder Juozas Kaziukėnas explained in this December post
that customers can now leave a star rating for a product without having to write an accompanying review. "The overall star rating now includes feedback from customers who simply rated the product as well as the traditional reviews with text, images, or video," he explained.
Because it makes it easier to leave a rating, it boosts the number of ratings for products, Kaziukėnas said.
However, he noted, "without a written review to decide why the shopper left the rating, or if it is even relevant, the new system makes shopping involve more guesswork. A one-star review can capture many different problems, yet it is now simplified to a number."
It has an overall positive impact for sellers, he believes, since the people taking time to write a review are more likely ones who have had a negative experience - making the rating system often skewed negatively. The new rating system improves that, he said.
However, it may not be as good for shoppers - Kaziukėnas said the it makes a product's star rating more opaque without making them any more trustworthy. Check out his post, and let us know as a seller what you think.