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Review transparency makes industries better, not worse

By Brianna Liestman

No one likes getting a bad review. Not only is it disheartening ­– especially when you feel you have worked hard – but it makes earning future business more difficult when you’re not rated well. But for better or worse, reviews give today’s consumers important insight into your business and they will look for that information before they ever walk through your door. They trust it more than they will ever trust you.

Unfortunately, not every industry embraces this transparency. Take, for instance, the movie industry. Studios have begun “fighting back” against popular rating site Rotten Tomatoes, which collects critic reviews and provides an average score and allows actual moviegoers to do the same. Ever since Fandago’s purchase of Rotten Tomatoes and its parent company Flixster, the visibility of the site’s scores has increased dramatically.

As The Hollywood Reports writes:

“After buying Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango began featuring Tomatometer scores for every movie on its ticketing site, a practice likened to a restaurant promoting a Yelp rating. (MovieTickets.com intentionally doesn't feature any reviews scores on its site so as to not influence a consumer, according to insiders.) More recently, some studios were taken aback when AMC Theatres, the country's largest chain, adopted the same practice on its own ticketing website. AMC's site now only features a score if it is fresh, defined as anything 60 percent and above.”

Studios think this practice “hurts the bottom line” by influencing on-the-fence consumers. But if a product garners such a bad review, was it really worth wasting the consumer’s time? Isn’t it better for the industry’s long-term health to have as many positive experiences at the box office as possible?

When you consider how many younger consumers are more interested in the content being created during the supposed “Golden Age of Television” and binge watching, there is industry risk for movies if consumers aren’t having good experiences. It’s not unlike our own industry and the threat we face with consumers having a bad experience on the water.

The movie industry, like any business, should be embracing the transparency of reviews because it drives businesses to do better, to try harder and to find new ways to appeal to customers. If studios don’t want the dreaded green tomato splat, they need to make better movies, not stifle review access. If we want good reviews, we need to build better boats and provide better service. Taking away transparency will just make consumers less trustworthy of your business.

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