Barely recovering from the pushback it received after forcing users to watch ads during their binge-watching sessions, Netflix has voluntarily put its head on the chopping block once again by removing all user reviews.
Those new to Netflix probably don't know that long before the "thumbs up or thumbs down" rating system became standard, the streaming service used to solicit reviews from its subscribers — written ones like those found on Rotten Tomatoes, not just vague star ratings.
Netflix Removes All User Reviews
The removal of user reviews doesn't come as much of a surprise, though. Netflix announced a while back that it was going to get rid of them entirely. But now it's done purging all the reviews, and several users on the internet are either complaining or reminiscing fondly about that time when Netflix still cared about subscribers' opinions about movies and shows.
It's not just a matter of people a platform to air their thoughts, though — users reviews offered a clearer, more defined metric through which movies can be judged, instead of wordless stars or a thumbs up/down.
"Netflix customers were able to leave reviews on Netflix.com until mid-2018, when reviews were removed due to declining use," it now says on Netflix's Help Center page, under the question "How do I post reviews on Netflix?"
"To learn how Netflix suggests TV shows and movies we think you'll love, visit our Ratings & Recommendations article."
Users who have mostly used Netflix on mobile in the last several years probably won't even notice the change. Reviews were only visible on the web anyway, which is probably why usage declined in the first place, as Engadget opines.
Netflix should not be wholly faulted for this, though. Keep in mind that while user reviews were helpful most of the time, there were also various instances where trolls would "review bomb" a particular film or series to affect its overall rating. The company probably decided reviews don't lead to enough views to waste resources on running them.
Netflix Percentage Match System
Currently, Netflix employs a "percentage match" system that recommends new titles based on the content a user has already seen. According to a number of people, however, this doesn't always appear to be accurate. At times it would suggest something laughably unrelated to the title it's basing the recommendation on, and ultimately, a thumbs up/down system isn't enough to represent the nuances of preference.
Perhaps in the future, Netflix will come up with a better rating system. For now, users just have to suck it up.