Netflix has removed every customer review ever written on the platform.
The reason? As per the official help page, the review featured was removed due to declining usage (from Netflix’s help page).
But most importantly, reviews stopped impacting decisions.
“the reviews and our redesigned ratings system (thumbs up/down) never contributed to how we approach personalizing recommendations for members and writing a ‘bad’ review never had any bearing to whether a title was recommended to another viewer or not.” (Netflix).
TLDR; Your Reviews do not matter. Anymore.
Plus, Reviews do not help in Sale$
As per Neflix, recommendations to members are always personalized based on what we think that specific member will enjoy watching based on what they have watched before.
That is, reviews which were meant to help in decision making (and also sharing feedback with creators) is now being taken over by personalization which is a function of your interest / of what you have enjoyed on the platform.
And it doesn’t matter if a product is bad – if you are bombarded with ads / selective positive reviews (thanks to retargeting), anything can be sold to anyone.
The sales funnel has moved away from ‘let me show you something good (based on user reviews)‘ to ‘let me show you more of what you already like‘.
Not just reviews, comments on Internet are dead too
In general, comments on Internet is dead. People either agree or they disagree. There are very limited places where they engage, debate and learn.
We at NextBigWhat decided to close down the commenting system as we have noticed that most discussions are being moved to social platforms (esp Twitter/Facebook); and native commenting system (i.e. just fill in your name/email id and write comment) was attracting trolls (the side effects of enabling ‘anonymity’).
Where do we go from here?
Internet was a lot about the freedom to voice one’s opinion / review / feedback, but as Netflix says – at scale, all of this can be replaced by a better personalization engine.
But then, there is another side to personalization.
Personalization kills discovery – for instance, the more you watch songs from Bryan Adams, the more Youtube will show you music from the same genre.
And you will never ever get to know Metallica (or even Pink Floyd or even Jagjit Singh).
In short, you will stop developing new perspective and very soon become a slave to personalization algorithm. Slave to the platform (and their choices).
Curiosity? What’s that?
TLDR; You stop growing different perspectives.
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. [Donald Rumsfeld]
The magic starts with unknown unknowns. Sadly, it is being killed by Internet and personalization.
That begs an important question – do you see a need for an open platform which surprises you with content across different genre/categories with negligible personalization? Is there even a point? Let us know (in your social feed. I am @cnha on twitter).