The Flaws in Starred Reviews

When people express an opinion online, it's often not middling.

Most of the reviews on Yelp fall into one or five star categories. Think about it, how often do people feel compelled to write an online review of a casual, normal experience, a 3? Beyond Yelp, the Internet as a whole has made it so that our judgments are made faster, our stronger reactions are amplified louder, and our attention spans last as quick as we scroll our screens.

Numbered rating systems are designed to feed off hyperbolic experiences that are either extremely pleasant or terrible, but are they representative of how every customer gets treated? Are the reviews a proper sample of the businesses' customers? And isn't one person's 4 another person's 3, making the final rating arbitrary? The Internet has made starred and numbered rating systems subjective, and potentially devastating to the people affected by bad reviews.

Our company, Brush Hero, made an appearance on the television show Shark Tank that greatly popularized our product. We quickly sold out of stock as as our sales increased, and the amount of cheap and poorly made direct copies of our patent swiftly appeared and took control our own listings Amazon. While counterfeiters stole all the sales, we in turn soaked in the reviews.

As customers purchased fake Brush Heroes that broke easily or stopped spinning, their negativity eventually reached our Facebook page and Amazon listings, criticizing a phony product with our name. Prior to the knock-off problem, our pages were overwhelmingly filled with positive feedback on all the different ways consumers used our product, but as the fake products persisted on Amazon, our stars plummeted. It can take about fifteen 5-star reviews to negate one 1-star experience due to Facebook's weighted rating system.