Online, Everyone's a Critic—but Not So Critical

Customer reviews tend to be positive
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2009 11:19 AM CDT
This screenshot shows the sterling Amazon review stats for one T-shirt.

(Newser) – Online reviewers are a little like T-Ball parents: To them, everyone’s a winner. Though the Internet is laden with snark and meanness, customer reviews are a bastion of the positive, with the average grade sitting at about 4.3 out of 5 stars, according to Bazaarvoice, a company that provides review software. Amazon—whose Jeff Bezos has posted only one non-five-star review on the site—tells the Wall Street Journal that its figures are similar.

“There’s an urban myth that people are far more likely to express negatives than positives,” explains Bazaarvoice’s CEO. But in reality, 65% of reviews are positive, and only 8% negative. Some cynics have tried to fight the trend. Private chef Jonas Luster has urged diners to “quit with the nicey-nicey;” others haven't been so successful in their critical mission: Amazon reviewer “jerkface” was kicked off the site after leaving nothing but 1-star reviews. He called The Diary of Anne Frank “very, very, very disappointing.”