If anyone is on the fence about whether or not to binge the entire Jim Varney collection of “Ernest goes somewhere or does something” movies while perusing the Netflix catalog, there’s some bad news. Netflix has removed every user review that was ever posted to the site, according to Indiewire. That means if someone wants to see how a movie has been rated, why people did or didn’t like something, or wants to leave a review, their only option is to go to Google to find some answers or a place to post.
Netflix hosted a wealth of reviews, some useful and some horrible, but for anyone that had interest, they were available. For many users, Netflix was the “go to” destination for reviews. Some reviewers were so good, that they built up followings who chose shows and movies for their queue list based on those recommendations. Many users cited that they really enjoyed being able to do everything related to their viewing on one site. Now, that’s all over.
Netflix posted on their help page that use of the review section was declining. On their blog, they stated the same, saying it no longer made sense to allocate resources to hosting and maintaining it. Not everyone is buying that as the real reason, though.
Netflix began tinkering with the review system last year when the ability to rate programs on the 1-5 star scale was scrapped, and ratings solely became thumbs up or thumbs down. That was a fairly unpopular move that was heavily criticized, but it fits in with the theory that what is really behind all the changes to the rating system and scrapping reviews is about trying to eliminate as much negativity on the site as possible.
As Indiewire discussed, Netflix appears to have concerns that low star ratings or bad reviews would sway people to not watch something. The line of logic is that if something is good, people will watch it without the need to see ratings or reviews. If something is bad however, there is no need to emphasize that and people should watch and draw their own conclusions. It’s all about keeping people on the site as long as possible. Not all fans are in agreement with this.
#Netflix getting rid of reviews actually makes the site harder to use. It’s like Netflix and chill by a DJ at a rap concert. All those cuts. 5mins in, “nah this movie sucks. Try another”. It’s like having to pick a book by its cover. With no info on the back— Jeremy A. Riley (@JAR187) August 16, 2018
There have also been rumors that some production companies have been less than thrilled about their products getting bad reviews, which they feel are unfair and hurt their brand. While there is no proof that some have requested the rating, and now review system, be scrapped, in order to continue having access to their catalogs, it is the running theory on movie review blogs. As Indiewire said, “we may never know the answer.”