Amazon is testing a complete overhaul of its review system, creating a machine-learning platform in an attempt to show new and more helpful reviews to users.
The new system is currently being rolled out, and while it may not make much of a difference initially, as it goes it will start sorting reviews, giving more value to newer ones and those made by verified Amazon customers.
"The system will learn what reviews are most helpful to customers...and it improves over time," said Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law. "It's all meant to make customer reviews more useful."
Basically, instead of rating an item based on an average of all reviews, reviews that are given more value will make more of a difference in how the item is rated overall. This should help prevent companies from posting fake reviews in an attempt to raise the overall rating of their products, and it should help users be able to make more informed decisions, being able to rely on ratings as being up-to-date.
The new feature will initially be rolled out in the U.S., and there's no word yet as to whether it will be rolled out to other countries. The assumption is that it will eventually roll out across the world.
Customer reviews have been a big part of how Amazon works for at least 20 years, with users often turning to Amazon reviews even when they intend to purchase an item from another retailer. Because of the fact that it is so important, Amazon has to be careful when rolling out new features such as this one in order to ensure that it keeps consumer trust. In fact, in April the company even said that it had sued a number of fake review websites in an attempt to fend off those making fake reviews.
One of the great things about the new system is that it will learn which reviews are more helpful over time, hopefully becoming more useful as time goes on.
"The enhanced system will use a machine-learned model to give more weight to newer, more helpful reviews from Amazon customers. The system will continue to learn which reviews are most helpful to customers and improve the experience over time," said an Amazon spokesperson.
This change should also help combat the issue of companies making changes to their products without reflecting the changes on Amazon. With this new system, changes should be much more noticeable to shoppers when they are trying to buy a product.