Gartner Blog Network

How do you rate reviews?

by Gene Alvarez  |  June 24, 2009  |  1 Comment

An interesting story on a court ruling that enabled students to rate teachers sparked an equally interest discuss discussion around reviewing people performance.

As the e-commerce person here, I have been talking with clients about product rating for years. It has been my belief that with all product review ratings the reader should apply the “grain of salt theory”.

Ratings or reviews are only part of the customer (in the case parents and students) evolution process and are subject to gaming by many parties.

Moreover, one rating alone does not tell the whole story; have you gone to move just because it says “Excellent Movie…” NY Times on the poster – Most likely not.

However as the producer of a product or service once should be aware that people has a public forum to use and that anyone with an opinion can shout it out on the internet. Even if that person never even used the product or service, they may just not like the company for instance. Therefore, I thought I would list some attributes that bring value to ratings.

  • Depth – How detailed is the rating? – Only the word “great” or did the writer provide information on their position?
  • Number- How many are there only one or thousands?
  • Timeliness or the rating – Are the ratings current or three years old?
  • The profile of the rater – Do they do many ratings on these types of products or services? Are they an avid user of these types of products or services? Simple things like are the male or female can also help, for example male skiers will rate ski’s differently than female skiers, also rating can vary by age of the reviewer.
  • Belief in the rating quality – Ever read a rating the looks like the product manufacturer wrote?

Therefore, product reviews are only a guideline they are not law and with all things – “Caveat emptor”.

Category: web-and-crm  

Tags: crm  e-commerce  ecrm  product-ratings  product-reviews  web-20  

Gene Alvarez
Research VP
11 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Gene Alvarez is a VP in the Gartner CRM Research organization. Mr. Alvarez has more than 30 years of IT experience in business impact assessment, vendor management, project management, software development and delivery of complex...Read Full Bio

Thoughts on How do you rate reviews?

  1. Matt Moog says:

    Gene – consumer reviews are among the most sought after and trusted form of product recommendations. 80%+ of shopper read them and 34% contribute revews. Although some of your warnings apply, I think might understimate their importance in the buying process. “Recommendations from people like me” is what consumers are looking for.

    As far as profile depth, credibility and completeness, take a look at I think you may find our profiling system addresses some of your concerns.

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