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So my wife is the Queen of Poshmark app. She knows all about recycled universal energy and the string theory. She sells stuff that was decaying in our closet and uses earned money to buy someone else’s stuff we need in a short run (like dog stuff, ect.).

This week she has faced a situation when her self-made perfect 5-star rating was brusquely attacked by her buyer’s choice to give her 3 stars for no reason.

There was no way to contact the buyer to find out what could possibly upset her so much in the appearance of absolutely new American Apparel shorts she got for $7 after a week of negotiations.

There was no way to report this rating issue to Poshmark either.

We applied some creativity left in our minds after a long busy day and approached that buyer on Facebook. Turns out her butt was too big for the shorts and 3-star rating was given to the shorts, not my wife’s excellent service. But that made me think: if someone can give a false rating like this and make seller’s profile appear a few hundred pages lower than it was supposed to be — then why do we still use star ratings everywhere? How accurate are they and what do they represent?

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Poshmark is a serious example, because what started as another used-stuff apparel for sale app, now does $200M+ in sales and has over 700,000 active sellers adding more than $2M worth of merchandise via the app every day.

Same 5-star pattern we see on Yelp, for example.

Back in LA we had a wonderful doctor and everyone we knew loved him just as much. He used to be in the solid 4,5 star fan zone all the time. Until a few hidebound callers couldn’t get through his busy phone line and left their 1-star reviews like dogs leave their poop in the middle of the room without any second thoughts. This act of violence dropped doctor’s Yelp appeal to 3,5 stars dropping his inbound prospect calls from 17 to 8 a day. Wow.

Yes, honest businesses leave comments and respond to unhappy reviewers, but the damage is done: their prospect flow will decrease, because there’s roughly 35–40% of people looking for a service who would ignore your page if your rating is lower than 4 stars.

French company Michelin, apart from making world class car tires, likes to send out hundreds of its incognito reviewers to chef-operated restaurants in the most prominent cities of the world to grant them famous Michelin status: 1, 2 or 3 stars.

1 star — place is very good.

2 stars — if you’re in the area you should definitely stop by. You’d regret otherwise.

3 stars — make your reservation ahead of time (up to a year usually), buy plane tickets, pack your most expensive suit and wait till the day comes. These are places people deliberately travel to.

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Every year Michelin issues its restaurant guide per city. Do we have a problem with this approach? Not really. Even though the review and evaluation process is a company’s secret, in most cases their recommendations are very on point and there’s absolutely zero chance for you to end up in IN-n-OUT after reading their guide (unless you’re in LA).

User-generated reviews are usually make you braindead in the end. 1-star reviews are followed by 3 and 5-star ones and it all comes around and round. You have to waste (sometimes) hours before you accumulate enough opinions to take a leap of faith and finally order those wet wipes claimed to be organic.

Problem with user-generated reviews is they possess the power to:

—influence overall product or service rating

—express their opinion based on their personal preferences (subjectively)

These 2 things influence everyone else and make all products with reviews look average. How can you choose between a Samsung dishwasher and Bosch dishwasher? Vizio LCD TV and Sony? We have too much choice. It’s overwhelming and only smart technology can help in this era of abundance of everything (don’t say these in front of North Koreans).

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We must have more clever filters. They could source their knowledge from AI processes constantly analyzing user reviews. AI could actually do all the work you have to do now in a second and provide you with a short grounded reasonable choice based on your personal preferences.

If I don’t mind standing in line or waiting on the phone as long as it’s worth it I won’t receive results based on reviews that stress waiting time as an issue.

If I like US manufactured products and I hated using that Windows Phone by Sony a few years ago, I should be advised on going with California based hardworking guys from Vizio.

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There should be professional reviewers with niche industry knowledge posting next to regular consumers and I should be able to filter just those reviews or receive a comprehensive analysis with correlation between the two groups identifying things they agree on in their reviews.

Of course this topic is much more complex than what I have covered here, but it’s a start and Techery will definitely be looking into this shortly.

Because we love free market and we love freedom of speech. But we hate phonies, inflated egos and deflated wallets of honest innocent businesses in our country.

Don’t forget to live this post or give it 5 stars. Please.

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