Saturday, May 6, 2017

Netflix’s new thumbs-up, thumbs-down reviews are worthless

Netflix is taking a lot of flak for changing its movie review system, which is tied to its video recommendation engine. Instead of rating movies on a scale of one to five stars, streaming subscribers now are asked to rate a movie as “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.”
While the switch is likely to increase engagement among users, the data it produces will be next to worthless.
Giving a movie a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” provides no gradation that would help a good video recommendation algorithm. It does not distinguish between a movie you love vs. one you kind of liked. The same goes for movies you hate vs. those you just didn’t think were very good.
I suspect one of the reasons that Netflix made this change was to take away an indicator of how much lousy content the service has. With star ratings gone, every video is on equal footing when it’s presented to the viewer.
Fortunately Netflix’s U.S.-only DVD-by-mail service is still using the five-star rating system. At least for now.

Related reading:

Netflix users already hate its new rating system (New York Post)

Angry Customers Give Netflix Thumbs Down (Seeking Alpha)

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