Amazon is currently testing a new star rating system in certain areas, making it more difficult to determine customer satisfaction with a particular product. The experimental system has been observed by Android Police on Amazon’s mobile app in India, as well as its German website and global website when accessed from Germany. Although we were unable to replicate the findings on the US website, it appears that the test replaces the traditional weighted average rating displayed through a five-star image. Instead, buyers are shown a single yellow star next to the product image, along with the percentage of 5-star ratings it has received.
People cannot tell at a glance whether a product has an average rating of 5 or 3.5 because in both cases it is represented by a single yellow star. Also, it is not immediately visible how many reviews the product has received so far, as the new system only shows the percentage of 5 stars. As the publication points out, this makes it easier for sellers to scam potential buyers by ruthlessly finding ways to get 5-star reviews as opposed to negative ones.
However, Amazon has not completely removed the breakdown and details of ratings. Potential buyers looking at the number of reviews a product has received and not just its average score can click through to see a breakdown of its reviews on the product page. It’s not ideal, and picking up an item can make your purchase last longer than it should, but at least there’s an option. When asked, an Amazon spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the experimental feature, simply telling The Verge, “We’re always innovating on behalf of customers to deliver the best possible shopping experience.” However, feature testing doesn’t always lead to a wide release, and Amazon may make changes to this rating system if it decides to implement it.