Criticism

Average Online Rating: 4.3 Stars

Internet users may flame each other, mock celebrities, and debate politics with rancor, but apparently they lose their critical eye when it comes to product reviews. The Wall Street Journal reports that according to Bazaarvoice Inc., which provides review software used by nearly 600 sites, the average online review is 4.3 stars out of five. According to the chief executive of Power Reviews, Inc., reviews are "like gambling. Most people remember the times they win and don't realize that in aggregate they've lost money." Web sites such as eBay have adjusted to the trend by switching to a system that counts just the number of one- and two-star reviews. Merchants with 3 to 4 percent low ratings could get kicked off.