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The positivity problem: why online star ratings are too good to be true

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April 20, 2021 at 06:30PM

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The internet can be an angry place full of cynical opinions but there’s one realm where it’s actually too positive: online reviews

Researchers have found that reviews on websites like Yelp and Amazon are overwhelmingly positive – something they believe renders star ratings unreliable.

A new study published in Nature has shown that upwards of 80% of online reviews rate items with four or five stars. That creates what they’ve termed the “positivity problem” for consumers hoping to use star ratings as a guide for where to dine or shop.

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