just brew it! wrote:
The Egg wrote:
On a related note, Amazon's overall ratings have become completely useless these days, and almost seem to be intentionally misleading customers. The 16GB version of the aforementioned Sandisk Cruzer Edge
is a prefect example. 30% gave it a worst-possible 1-star, and 11% gave it 2-stars, yet it still manages to pull off a deceptively high 4-stars overall despite close to half of the buyers giving it an extremely negative rating. Ridiculous.
I don't think
it is Amazon trying to be intentionally misleading, I think it is mostly stupid people posting reviews, and (in the case of 3rd party sellers "Fulfilled by Amazon") some percentage of "fake" reviews being posted by people affiliated with the seller.
I've learned that with any
site that allows user reviews, you have to read at least a few of the reviews instead of just relying on the overall rating.
While I don't use overall ratings once the process of narrowing down candidates has begun, I must confess to using it to some degree when beginning my initial search. It's true that many reviewers are idiots (especially with anything related to electronics), but once you get a large enough sample size, the truth about a product should start to emerge. I don't know for certain
that Amazon is doing anything intentional, but at the very least, their algorithm is both extremely optimistic and wildly inconsistent.
In the case of the drive I linked, you've got an item where 41% of the reviews are extremely negative (beyond abysmal for a product), yet it somehow manages to pull off 4 of 5 stars. That's ridiculous, and you can find numerous examples of this. If you get 59% correct on a test in school, you get an F, not a B+.
In many other cases (don't have time to find examples, but they're easy to find), you'll have similar products (with a good sample size) where the number of 1-star reviews swings by 20%, yet the overall product rating is identical. Whatever algorithm Amazon uses, it certainly isn't doing their customers any favors.