YouTube reconsidering the ratings, should we all?

Wed 23 September 2009 14:10, Bas van den Beld

YouTube reconsidering the ratings, should we all?


Ever since the web started to be more about communicating and less about sending there have been options to rate what you find on the web. We our selves have a rating "target" at every post. On other sites you can give thumbs up or thumbs down or just plain numbers. 

This kind of rating can also be done on YouTube. There you have stars which you can give to a YouTube video. One star if you don't like it, five when you love it. On their blog YouTube is now asking their visitors if they should keep the rating system. And maybe we all should reconsider these kind of ratings?

Telling the  world what you think of something is very hot, but also very disputable. As Searchcowboys for example we are currently runners up in a contest on which the most helpful web marketing blog is elected. Where two days ago the difference was one vote, within half an hour the difference was twenty votes. Somewhat suspicious, also because rating systems or voting systems like this can easily be manipulated.


That is something YouTube must be suspecting when looking at their own rating system. They posted a graph showing that the ratings are "all" or "nothing". So people either vote one or five, with five being most popular. So YouTube asks the question:

"if the majority of videos are getting five stars, how useful is this system really? Would a thumbs up/thumbs down be more effective, or does favoriting do the trick of declaring your love for a video?"

Websites like Sphinn and Digg are all about these ratings, though they take the different angle YouTube might be looking for. On these sites you can only vote up or down. And one important thing: you can only vote once, when logged in.

So would that solve YouTube's issue? Just voting something up or down? It could help a little, but it will always be disputable. One can for example also wonder if all the five stars are given by different people, and even if they are, just like on Sphinn or Digg, you can always get multiple accounts or get your friends to vote it up. At this time there doesn't seem to be a completely bulletproof way of voting. 

So what should YouTube do? What do you think?

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