Monday, June 2, 2014

Amazon Changing its Customer Rating System?

This seems like a good time to discuss Amazon’s ratings because The Shut Mouth Society has reached 100 Amazon customer reviews. Amazon appears to be in the middle of changing its rating system. (Ratings are the number of stars that customers give a product.) Or at least I presume it is in the middle of a change because the calculation for print/audio and Kindle ratings is different. At the top of the page for print/audio editions, there are now two numbers associated with the star ratings. The first number is the number of ratings without reviews and the second number is the count of reviews. The new rating appears to be a weighted average of these two numbers.

For example, The Shut Mouth Society has 100 reviews for 4.3 stars. The print/audio editions also display 162 ratings without reviews. There is a nifty roll-over chart which shows a combined 4.1 stars with a bar graft and sample review comments. (A roll-over chart is displayed automatically when you roll the cursor over the review count.)

suspense thriller
100 Reviews for 4.3 Stars

Some authors seem upset with the new system because their ratings declined. Mine did as well, but I favor the new system. I believe a larger sample size adds credibility to the quality assessment. I suspect those most upset were gaming the old system and their bogus reviews were diluted under the new system.

Amazon rankings and ratings

My remaining question is what is the source of these additional ratings. Amazon acquired GoodReads over a year ago, but the numbers don’t correspond to their ratings. I suspect these new ratings come from Kindle readers, who can assigned a star rating upon completion of a book.

Whatever the case, as far as I’m concerned, the more, the merrier.

Update, 06/04/14:

Ratings seemed to have reverted back to their old selves, so ... never mind.

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