Take Negative Reviews At Half Value For More Accurate Ratings

Take Negative Reviews At Half Value For More Accurate Ratings

We recently discovered Yelp’s hidden “filtered” review section, and Lifehacker reader DragonPhyre lets us know of another good method for making an informed decision: take angry, negative reviews at half value.

I take bad reviews at half-rating… and I take good ratings at slightly more than normal. Why? It has been my experience that I am far more likely to leave a scathing negative review than a positive one because if I am happy or content, I forget to tell anybody online about it. If I feel slighted or I feel that people should know about a particularly negative aspect of something, then I leave reviews.

Now, everyone’s different, but I’ve found that negative reviews — especially when there are only a few reviews to pick from — tend to be less trustworthy. Plus, a lot of people seem to think that if a product has any cons, it deserves a one-star rating… which makes no sense (see the image above for an example).

Of course, you could expand this tip to include positive reviews that seem fake or planted too, or anything else you generally want to filter out. If nothing else, it will help you get a better idea of which reviews you trust and which ones look like baloney.


  • Weird, I find positive reviews tend to be less trustworthy. You stated the reason in the next paragraph – fake reviews. People are less likely to post if they are happy with a product than if there is a problem with it. I always look for the negative review first. Should never trust a rating anyway – read the review. Lastly, positive reviews may be the result of incentives e.g. win an ipad, so may be inherently untrustworthy in these circumstances.

    • i find negative reviews way more helpful. Positive doesn’t really tell you anything you don’t expect, it’s the information that you can get from the company website, whereas negative will highlight specific flaws in a product. However, if it’s just a rating it’s useless.

      Another factor is that people will try to justify their purchases. If people buy something that isn’t great they may overlook the flaws to justify their investment. Nobody wants to waste money, buying a crap product can make you feel like an idiot. I certainly used to stick up for crappy tech, nowadays i’m much less forgiving.

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