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Netflix is dropping stars in favor of a thumb-based ratings system

(Photo: Getty Images/WireImage, Ron Galella, Ltd.)

For years, Netflix has asked users to rate the things they’ve watched with a straightforward five-star system. It was simple, elegant, and had a wide enough range that you could decide what rating to give something without needing to get too specific or agonize over the decision too much. Naturally, it now has to change. According to Variety, Netflix will soon be getting rid of the stars altogether in favor of a totally original and revolutionary thumb-based rating system, with users giving a “thumbs-up” to something they like and a “thumbs-down” to something they don’t like.

Apparently, the whole star thing was very crucial to Netflix’s algorithms when it first started, but as the years have gone on, the company has noticed that people will rate something like a documentary very highly but only watch it once, and then they’ll rate something like a goofy comedy much lower and then watch it over and over again. In a statement, Netflix’s Vice President Of Product Tod Yellin quietly stated that they “made ratings less important because the implicit signal of your behavior is more important.”


In addition to the thumbs, Netflix will be adding a “percent-match feature” that will indicate how close to your tastes a particular show or movie is. So, instead of Netflix saying that it thinks you’ll give some movie a five-star rating, it’ll say that it’s a 98 percent match with your viewing and rating history.

The thumb system was previously tested out on “thousands of members” last year, and it will be rolling out for everyone in the next few weeks.

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