When you're shopping online, looking for the best products at the cheapest prices, you might be swayed into a purchase thanks to something getting four or five stars in rating.
However, there's a bit of a problem with star ratings.
Someone's done the analysis, and crunched the numbers over 300,000 ratings across 1,300 products on Amazon, and what they found is that there's a "substantial disconnect" between the number of stars that have been awarded by the public, and the quality rating which is given to a product following independent testing.
The report says that star ratings play a big part in a shopper's decision making, even when something has what is regarded to be an insignificant number of reviews.
So, the study saw that consumers can give the same prominence to a dishwasher with two five-star ratings, than they do to a rival product with hundreds of ratings which has an average score of 4.8.
It turns out a lot of people who indulge in star-ratings are more likely to give a product an artificially positive review if something is expensive or from a well-known manufacturer, regardless of quality.
The findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Of course, there's a host of people who are hired in click-farms, to leave good reviews for products, paid for by the companies themselves, but the research didn't cover that.
Either way, the moral here is that, while some star-based ratings can be useful, they should always be taken with a pinch of salt.