Amazon is reportedly testing a confusing star rating system

Amazon has started testing a new star rating system in specific regions that makes it harder to gauge how buyers are liking a specific product. Android Police has spotted the the experimental system on the company’s mobile app in India, its German website and its global website when accessed from Germany. We couldn’t replicate what the publication has seen on the US website, but it looks like the test replaces the website’s weighted average rating that’s typically shown through an image with five stars. Instead of that illustration, buyers see a single yellow star next to the product image with the percentage of 5-star ratings it had received. 

People wouldn’t be able to tell at a glance whether a product’s average rating is 5 or 3.5, because it’s represented by a single yellow star in both cases. It’s also not immediately visible how many reviews a product has received so far, seeing as the new system only shows the percentage of 5-star ratings. As the publication notes, this makes it easier for sellers to dupe potential buyers by unscrupulously looking for ways to get 5-star reviews to counteract the negative ones. 

That said, Amazon hasn’t completely removed ratings breakdown and details. Potential buyers who look at the number of reviews a product has gotten and not just its average score can click through to see its ratings breakdown on the product page. It’s not ideal and could make picking a product to buy longer than it should take, but at least the option exists. When asked, an Amazon spokesperson didn’t confirm the experimental feature and simply told The Verge: “We are always innovating on behalf of customers to provide the best possible shopping experience.” Testing a feature doesn’t always lead to a wide release, though, and Amazon might make changes to this rating system if it does decide to implement it. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at 

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