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Star Rating System: Why It Should Be Replaced With a Better Rating System

Updated on September 16, 2014
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Do You Know What The Star System Is?

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Why The Star Rating System is Not Accurate!

I personally think that the star system for rating products, services, and people is pointless. It does not accurately reflect how people feel about the person or thing they are rating; instead, it reflects their ego, jealousy, or lack of ability to give credit. Don't believe me?

I am constantly rated on the star system in my line of work. People rate my writing and work every day on some of the ghost writing places that I frequent. But that is not what led me to write this article on the star system.

I was actually doing a review of a product for someone, and I noticed that people using the star system to rate 4 out of 5 stars, generally didn’t seem to have any problems about the product. I guess that is what brought it to a breaking point.

The star system should be utilized like this:

  • 5 star - Perfect, amazing, no problems.
  • 4 star - Awesome except for this one tiny thing.
  • 3 star - Pretty good, but there are a few problems.
  • 2 star - Not good, and I would not recommend this to anyone.
  • 1 star - Really bad, and I wish I wouldn't have wasted my time.

The product is on Amazon and it’s called the Margaritaville DM0500 Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker. Basically it makes frozen drinks by shaving ice from one compartment, shooting it into the blender container, and blending the mixture together. To me, there were tons of good comments/reviews about this product. But the requester wanted a review written with cons – and that’s when I took a peek into the 4 and 3 stars to learn more. Well, on this product there was very little to learn.

Here are a few of the 4 star reviews:

From K. Risen:

This machine does a great job and after using it for a couple weeks I will never go back to a normal blender. The way the ice is shaved makes the margaritas taste like restaurant quality. Machine does a great job and for $200 with free shipping is well worth it.

From Donna Moors

What a terrific product!! We r having a blast making different kinds of drinks The mixer does an excellent job of mixing the ingredients as well as shave the ice.

From Rainbow

If you enjoy all the drinks you get while on vacation this is the product for you. Enjoy having those same concoctions in you own home. You can mix what you want and adjust for your own taste. lots of fun.

From Robert H

This is a great drink maker not only can you make adult frozen drinks in a matter of min and i do mean min but the kids love the smoothies so easy to use my 11 year old can use it with easy clean up no mess. (very) happy with the product

If the product is so great, then why did they use the star rating system to give it less than 5 stars?


This happens all the time to me as well. I will get messages at iWriter such as "Excellent article! Thanks so much!" or "Wow! Great article." and receive 4 stars with the comment. On places such as iWriter, where they use the star rating system and stars equal how much money you make, this can be devastating to someone who is trying to earn some money.

Why Do People Use The Star Rating System Like This?

If everyone used the star rating system the way it was meant to be used, then it would be a very accurate way to tell how good a product, service, or person is. So why do people rate so wonky?

Well, there are two main reasons as I see it

1. There is the type of person that does not like giving credit where credit is due. I've even seen people say things like I don't want to give them credit for doing a great job because it may take away from my success. That's pure crap of course, and only people full of fear would do something like that.

When you give someone else the credit that they deserve, even if it's with something like star ratings, then you do not take away for your success, but rather you add to it through karma, inspiration, and positive direction.

2. Here's an answer I got when I asked the question in yahoo answers:

So according to this guy the star rating system should look like this:

  • 5 stars - Wow! This is something I have never seen before. Excellent!
  • 4 stars - Wow! This was perfect, except I've seen this type of excellence before.
  • 3 stars - This was good; however, I found this problem with it
  • 2 stars - Decent, but there were a few issues.
  • 1 stars - Not happy with this. Would not recommend.

I would assume that this is likely a lot of people's mentality who agree with the yahoo answer guy. But again, this is really not how a lot of people (like people on iWriter) depend on the 5 star rating. It is not what the 5 star rating is meant for when it comes to understanding how good a product, person, or service is.

As I said, if you are happy with the product, person, or service, and have no problems with it - none at all, then you should absolutely be giving 5 stars! There is no reason not to.

And this above answer is why I think the star rating system is not fair and should be either tweaked or changed to something else.

As an extra note: People also give low star ratings, because they are having a bad day, feel bad towards the person or product, or are being treated poorly themselves and are trying to spread the 'love'. All in all - it's just dumb.

How To Make The Star Rating System Better

The only way to make the star rating system more fair (that I can see) would be to add the requirement that 4 stars or below receives an actual reason: such as "The Reason I am Giving 4 Stars and Not 5 Is..." This way the people reading the review can find out if there were actual problems with the product, service, or person or if they just did not get a spectacular experience like the yahoo answer person suggested.

I know that if I saw '4 stars' and realized that there really was no reason for it, I would be much more likely to buy a product than if I saw a consistent 4 stars with no reason at all. I mean who knows what they are not saying, or why?

Also, what are people who consistently give 4 stars going to say "Well, I'm giving 4 stars because - ahhhhh, I don't know why...it's just because I don't want to give 5 stars." Nope. It would make them look like a bunch of jealous yahoos.

Bottom line: Giving a 4 star rating is just an opinion of the person giving it. Someone else experiencing the exact same experience could give a 2 or 3 or even 5. It depends on the person's outlook and mentality, and this is why an explanation will reflect a more honest answer and greatly benefit other people's decisions.

Anywase, that is my opinion on the star rating system. It has become a way of learning what is good and bad online, but I don't think it reflects an accurate statement of a lot of things.

If something pleases me, I give 5 stars. I think it's only fair.

What's your opinion?

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Do You Feel The 5 Star Rating System is Fair?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All valid points; I, personally, don't use a star rating system on anything.

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