Amazon is reportedly testing a confusing star rating system

'Android Police' has spotted the experimental feature in specific regions.

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Amazon has started testing a new way to display its star rating system in specific regions that makes it harder to gauge how buyers are liking a specific product. Android Police has spotted the the experimental system on the company's mobile app in India, its German website and its global website when accessed from Germany. We couldn't replicate what the publication has seen on the US website, but it looks like the test system shows a product's weighted average rating as a single yellow star next to its image in search results. It also shows the percentage of 5-star ratings it had received. In an account where the test feature isn't active, search results show ratings through an image with five stars along with the number of reviews products have gotten.

People wouldn't be able to tell at a glance whether a product's average rating is 5 or 3.5, because it's represented by a single yellow star in both cases. It's also not immediately visible how many reviews a product has received so far, seeing as the new system only shows the percentage of 5-star ratings. As the publication notes, this makes it easier for sellers to dupe potential buyers by unscrupulously looking for ways to get 5-star reviews to counteract the negative ones.

That said, Amazon hasn't completely removed ratings breakdown and details. Potential buyers who look at the number of reviews a product has gotten and not just its average score can click through to see its ratings breakdown on the product page. It's not ideal and could make picking a product to buy longer than it should take, but at least the option exists. An Amazon spokesperson has confirmed to us that the company is conducting an experiment on a new way to display ratings in its search results. They said: "We are always innovating on behalf of customers to provide the best possible shopping experience." Testing a feature doesn't always lead to a wide release, though, and Amazon might make changes to this rating system if it does decide to implement it.