Amazon's star ratings are about to get a lot more useful

User reviews get a refresh

Amazon Fire Phone

Do you pay much attention to the star ratings left by previous purchasers when shopping for stuff on Amazon? The e-commerce giant has told CNET that those star ratings are being tweaked to be more useful.

Newer reviews get more priority over older reviews, while ratings left by "verified Amazon purchasers" will also carry extra weight. Reviews upvoted by other users get pushed to the top too.

"The system will learn what reviews are most helpful to customers... and it improves over time," Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law told CNET. "It's all meant to make customer reviews more useful."

Starring role

It means the five-star rating you see next to an HDMI cable or Game of Thrones Blu-ray disc may change more regularly as newer reviews and ratings arrive.

The updated system has already begun rolling out in the US - as yet Amazon hasn't confirmed if it's going to appear on other regional sites. Presumably it's going to wait and see how it does first.

For a lot of us, user reviews play a major role in purchasing decisions, and Amazon has thought long and hard about how to make them more effective. The most valuable ratings and reviews should appear first in the queue from now on.

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