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article imageAmazon's reviews system is now intelligent and able to learn

By James Walker     Jun 21, 2015 in Internet
Amazon has launched a refreshed reviews and ratings system which will make the overall customer consensus on a product clearer. The intelligent system will be able to give ratings priority depending on certain factors, creating a better average.
The update will be trialled in the U.S. initially and is intended to make customer reviews "more useful." A critical component of Amazon's strategy since its launch, today many buyers question the accuracy of reviews and ratings amid reports of fake commissioned reviews planted by companies.
Reviews will now be subject to a weighting system that will generate more precise average star ratings. More weight will be given to newer reviews, reviews rated as useful by other customers and reviews submitted by verified Amazon purchasers. These relative priorities will then be used to give each review more or less credence in the overall average rating for a product.
The 5-star rating was previously a simple average of every submitted review, making it easier for bogus reviews to influence it. The new system will aim to make genuine and helpful reviews more prominent though and will turn the star rating into a more representative measure of the general feelings on any one product.
The system will allow the rating to change more frequently because of the higher weighting of more recent reviews. This means that if a company updates a negatively rated product based on customer feedback then the new version may be able to acquire a higher rating more easily when purchasers review it positively and find the flaws to be fixed.
Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law told CNET in an interview: "The system will learn what reviews are most helpful to customers… and it improves over time. It's all meant to make customer reviews more useful."
The U.S. trial began last Friday and has already begun intelligently ranking reviews on product listings and adapting star ratings to fit. There is no word on when the system will expand to other countries but it seems likely that it will if it works successfully in the U.S.
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