Do Non-Verified Amazon Reviews Add To Total Count, But Not Rating?

Bradley Sutton, Helium 10’s Director of Customer Success and Training, is back with more answers to your most sought-after questions. In this episode Bradley is answering the question, “Are non-verified reviews added to total review count, but not counted toward rating?”

The short answer is that non-verified reviews do still add to the rating of a product.

HOWEVER, it’s not a straight average. In fact, it’s doubtful that any reviews on a single listing are weighted exactly the same by Amazon’s internal algorithms.

(Just as a refresher, verified reviews are reviews left by someone who purchased the product through Amazon with the same account they are using to leave the review. Unverified/non-verified reviews are reviews left by someone who has no such proof, and therefore may have purchased the item elsewhere, or who may not have purchased it at all).

In Amazon’s words:

“Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings based on a machine-learned model instead of a raw data average. The model takes into account factors including the age of a rating, whether the ratings are from verified purchasers, and factors that establish reviewer trustworthiness.”

It does appear non-verified reviews carry less weight than verified reviews. Other factors matter to review rating average as well, such as the trustworthiness – that is, does the reviewer’s account seem like a legit buyer, or does their account activity appear suspicious, like they might have been compensated or otherwise incentivized for leaving five-star reviews (whether on their most recent review, or their history of reviews)?

In our second AMA, we look at a couple of live examples on Amazon to see how star ratings are affected by customer-posted reviews.

The first example only has two reviews: one five-star review and one three-star review. Both are verified reviews, so a flat average ought to be a four-star total, right?

Apparently not, as you can see in the video. The average comes out to 3.8, meaning Amazon gave the three-star review a little more weight than the five-star one. As sellers (or customers) we probably won’t ever know exactly why that is, but we can make an educated guess that it has something to do with Amazon’s statement on product ratings.

We also look at a second example with four reviews: three five-star reviews and one one-star review, with only one of the five-star reviews with a “verified” status.

Yet this item doesn’t have a five-star rating, even though the only verified review here is five stars.

Therefore, unverified reviews are clearly still counted towards the star rating, even if they don’t carry as much weight as verified reviews.

That said, don’t forget that Amazon considers factors other than verified/unverified status, as stated above.

And at the end of the day, putting out a quality product and providing excellent customer service are the core of gathering positive and authentic reviews. There’s no way around that!

Director of Training & Chief Evangelist

Bradley is the Director of Training and Chief Evangelist for Helium 10 as well as the host of the most listened to podcast in the world for Amazon sellers, the Serious Sellers Podcast. He has been involved in e-commerce for over 20 years, and before joining Helium 10, launched over 400 products as a consultant for Amazon Sellers.

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