Millions of customers rely on Amazon customer reviews to decide what item to buy, so simple five stars can make or break a product.

88 percent of consumers trust online reviews, I think most reviewers see through these ones but they affect the biggest factor: the overall rating

Cheers, Jim 🙁

So, let’s take a look at how are they weighted and what factors impact them.

First, let’s look at other companies that rely on reviews and what they do.

I’ve chosen to analyse Airbnb and Booking.com review system, some of the weightings are pretty deceptive!

Airbnb has an enormous review response compared to other platforms. Why? They really push for reviews, they email the host and the guest.

They benchmark the host on how many reviews and how many are positive reviews. To gain Superhost status at least 50% of your stays have to be reviewed, as a super host, you can earn more so a great incentive.

As a guest, you are restricted from instant booking places if you don’t have enough reviews, or you have a bad review.

They also make you blind review, so when one party has written a review, in order to see it the other party has to write a review.

What a tease! Although recent changes now mean that if only one side leaves a review then it shows after 14 days.

I also agree with Molly Mulshine that Airbnb guests are more likely to leave a positive review because their identities are online and they want a good review in return.

Review response rate on Airbnb is between 70%-85%

Over to Booking.com, they charge hotels about 15% for getting a booking for them, and as they book over one million rooms a day they have a LOT of power.

But who would book the hotel with rubbish reviews? Nobody! Booking.com want to get their 15%! and they always include this to make sure you book

First of all, reviews displayed on the first page are “hand-picked”. Yes, shockingly, they are always good reviews. Who clicks and reads the reviews on the second page? Oh wait, they make that hard to find as well.

The rating scale runs 0 to 10. However, on Twitter TQenn points out –

“You missed the fact their reviews are not on a 0-10 scale, but 2.5-10. Every review score is intentionally inflated.”— Tqenn (@tqenn) September 21, 2017

Amazon rating is of stars is from 1 to 5. Not 0 to 5.

They use a magic ingredient to weight reviews, not a closely guarded secret as the coca-cola recipe but not totally transparent either.

  1. The age of the review matters (Most recent, more impact)
  1. Verified Reviews (purchased via Amazon) is stronger
  1. Helpful votes – Amazon gets social. Maybe a products 11,000 reviews they show the ones that get the most social proof.
  1. Does the review have images? Although not confirmed, is probably a plus for higher ranking.

This system can be beneficial if people find the five-star review more beneficial than the one-star review.

Maybe someone just wrote “bad” and gave no details, although I believe that’s a fair and honest way to set up a review weighting, it can be manipulated for or against you.

Amazon are wary of the bad press the fake reviews have been generating and this has opened up the reverse review tactic:

Companies on Amazon have been known to leave their competitor’s lot’s of five-star reviews and then Amazon bans the competition for faking reviews

The Amazon review rate is notoriously low.

An entire industry has been started by companies pledging to increase your review rate from 1% to 3%.

Yes, 1 in 100 people will give you a review.

How do you get 100 sales with 0 reviews?

That is the million dollar question.

What happens when people do leave a review?

Your gut might say that most people leave either 5 stars or 1 star and barely anything in between?

Well, you’d be right, although a few years back I think this analysis from minimaxir still holds.

More than half of the reviews give a 5-star rating. Aside from perfect reviews, most reviewers give 4-star or 1-star ratings, with very few giving 2-stars or 3-stars relatively. minimaxir

Interestingly as well, the more expensive a product tends to have better reviews – maybe it is worth contacting the seller at a higher price point and they resolve the issue? Perhaps.

“People consider negative reviews to be more helpful than positive reviews, possibly because they perceive them as valuable in preventing purchase of an unsuitable product, or because they highlight issues which might be relevant whether or not the customer then goes on to purchase the product. Reviews giving a 1 star rating are on average considered more than twice as helpful as 5 star reviews:”

Credit: quote and image from Mark Chopping

I also believe as a customer can change their name on Amazon they are more likely to leave one-star reviews as this is completely anonymous unlike on Airbnb, so potentially they can be more honest.

Have you never lied to a waiter when asked: “How is the food?”

Amazon doesn’t appear to drive customers to review their products, why?

Only Amazon knows the answer, however, they have a lack of incentive unlike Airbnb guests that need good ratings to book the best places, and booking.com offers discounts to people.

If you are interested in getting more reviews, then check out Nugen Consulting