The Lie of Five Star Ratings

A bit of a bug bear of mine if the five star rating system used by many websites such as Amazon for rating products.  While I admit I use the rating all the time when deciding which products to purchase (I even go to Amazon to check the reviews of something I’m going to buy in a bricks and mortar store), I always do so with a pinch salt.  How does that pinch of salt manifest itself:I cover up the first star

This little quirk of mine is based on the simple principle that the five start rating has a major flaw in my eyes in that you cannot give a product zero stars but you can give it five stars.  Now to my mind as the first star is obligatory, it is utterly worthless.  A product with a one start rating gives the impression that its poor but still passable (it got a star after all), a three star rating gives the impression when taking the total amount of satisfaction and diving it by the number of customers that on average rating was three stars.  Unfortunately there is no way to counterbalance extremely pleased (five star giving) customers with extremely disappointed (zero star giving customers), the latter still have to contribute a star and while this will bring the average down a little, not as much as a zero (especially across numerous customers).

So to anyone who like me

Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob is a Founder of Seguro Ltd, a full time father and husband, part-time tinkerer-with-wires, coder, Muay Thai practitioner, builder and cook. Big fan of equality, tolerance and co-existence.

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