When Rating Something Great, Give It The Maximum Number Of Stars

When Rating Something Great, Give It The Maximum Number Of Stars

“This Uber/Airbnb/restaurant was really great,” you think to yourself, as you sit down to write a review. You type up everything you loved about the ride/apartment/meal, and then you hover your cursor over the star ratings. “Well,” you think, “there’s always room for improvement!” or “This was great, but not literally the best ride/stay/meal I’ve ever had” and then you give 4/5, or 9/10 stars.

Don’t do that!

It may seem counterintuitive, but rating services is not the time to impart your always-room-for-improvement mentality. For Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers and many other people, star ratings are a huge part of their business and anything less than perfect ratings looks subpar.

I spoke to an Airbnb and VRBO host who’s been frustrated by glowing, 100% positive reviews that come with four-star ratings. Both services give hosts perks for strong ratings, and those perks, in turn, help her attract more business. On Airbnb, it’s not just a high average rating but a high proportion of 5-star ratings that contributes to “Superhost” status, which is an important part of enticing renters to choose a given listing.

She said, “I really don’t think people realise how much those 5 stars matter to hosts and also Uber and Lyft drivers.”

For Uber and Lyft drivers, ratings just a few tenths below a perfect 5.0 can mean probation or even termination. The disconnect between how riders and rideshare companies interpret star ratings can be dangerous for drivers caught in the middle.

Gig economy ratings are not a place to fight grade inflation. If things were great — all satisfactions met, nothing wrong, perfectly nice — then leave a perfect star rating. If you have feedback or small quibbles, you can share those with your host or driver, or leave qualifying information in the body of your review. Perfection is unattainable in practice, but should be common in reviews and ratings.

Oftentimes, someone’s livelihood depends on it.


  • I’m sorry, I do not agree with giving 5 stars for an average transaction. Ebay started this rubbish and now a 5 star rating has become meaningless apart from whatever algorithm uses it to rank sellers (and probably screw them anyway). Really, it’s just a transaction and if the buyer and seller each fulfill their end of the deal, is there a need to gush over the “perfection”, trying to find superlative adjectives to describe a simple buying/selling experience? What if everything becomes 5 star? How would you differentiate then?

    • Yeah, I agree. If something isn’t perfect, it’s not getting a perfect score from me. Doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s great, I’ll give it a nice high score, but not a perfect score. Perfect scores should indicate perfection.

  • 5 Stars – Decent service
    3 Stars – My Uber driver is stalking me
    1 Star – The Airbnb comes with it’s own serial killer who is so rude with his murdering

  • Keep giving everything 5 stars for average service and soon you wont be able to differentiate the actual stellar companies from the lemmings.

  • Maybe these companies need to understand how ratings have always worked and not try to push their systems onto consumers.

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