Review Site Series: 5-Star vs. Alternate Rating Scales

In this installment of our Review Site Series, we wanted to focus on the rating scales used by different review sites. Most review sites use a 5-Star rating scale, but others, such as Zagat use an alternate rating scale. (Zagat uses a 30-point scale.)

We at ReviewInc feel that having a scale other than the standard 5-Star rating scale can be a little confusing for consumers. People generally associate leaving reviews with a 5-Star system and it seems to be the simplest form of rating scale.

Interestingly enough, although Zagat operates on a 30-point scale, it’s still almost as if they operate on a 5-star scale.

Zagat Rating Scale

Essentially, ‘5 Stars’ would be “26-30 | Extraordinary to Perfection”, ‘4 Stars’ would be “21-25 | Very Good to Excellent”, ‘3 Stars’ would be “16-20 | Good to Very Good”, ‘2 Stars’ would be “11-15 | Fair to Good, and ‘1 Star’ would be “0-10 | Poor to Fair”.

Zagat, who was bought out by Google, used to aggregate its scores towards Google+ Local listings. However, Google has now switched back to the 5-Star rating scale.

Another example is a percentage rating scale used by sites such as Citysearch, which is determined by a simple ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’. (Or a 2-point rating scale, if you will). While this scale is far more simple than the 5-point rating scale, it’s important to note that when you have a scale like this, it takes a lot of people to participate in order for the data to be truly meaningful.

Citysearch Rating Scale

What do you think? Do you think that a 5-Star rating scale is the best form of rating scale? What are others that you think are more beneficial or accurate? Let us know in the comments below!

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