At Rotten Tomatoes, we’re always working to make our recommendation tools the most useful they can be for movie and TV fans. Today, we’re releasing some enhancements to our Audience Score, which we started revamping earlier this year.
In February we ditched our pre-release “Want to See” percentage in favor of a more straightforward Want to See tally (kind of like the “likes” you see on social media). We also removed the function that allowed users to write comments about a movie prior to seeing it. You can read about these changes here.
What’s next? Today, we’re excited to introduce new features to our Audience Score and user reviews with the addition of Verified Ratings and Reviews.
So, let’s get to it.
Rotten Tomatoes now features an Audience Score made up of ratings from users we’ve confirmed bought tickets to the movie – we’re calling them “Verified Ratings.” We’re also tagging written reviews from users we can confirm purchased tickets to a movie as “Verified” reviews.
You’ll start to see these changes on the main pages for new movies and in the user reviews section for those films. The first Audience Score you see on a movie page – that’s it next to the popcorn bucket just to the right of the Tomatometer – will be the score made up of Verified Ratings. As with the current Audience Score, when the score is Fresh (that is, above 60%), you’ll see a red popcorn bucket; when it is Rotten (59% and below), the bucket will be green and tipped over (you can read more about that here). If you want to see a score that incorporates all included ratings – both verified and non-verified – simply click “more info” where you can toggle between the two.
You’ll see written user reviews marked “Verified” when you click into the Audience reviews section for a particular movie. You can choose to view only verified reviews or read all included user reviews – verified and not – together.
At launch, users can verify ticket purchases through Fandango; AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark have signed up to participate in our verification program, and we plan to introduce other ticket providers as well. Users who want to verify their ratings and reviews simply choose where they bought their ticket when leaving their rating and/or review. If we can match their Rotten Tomatoes account to the account used to buy their ticket, their rating and/or review will be verified. (For more info on this process, and reasons why a rating or review wouldn’t be verified, check out our updated FAQs.)
Why introduce Verified Ratings and Reviews? It’s about giving fans the most useful tools possible when making their entertainment decisions.
We’ve worked for some 21 years to ensure the Tomatometer is a trusted tool for those who want to know what critics think of movies and TV series. But the development of that trust didn’t happen overnight – it was a process. We’ve been consistently evolving the Tomatometer and how we select the critics whose opinions generate it to meet the times.
The introduction of Verified Ratings and Reviews is a similar evolution, one designed to meet different challenges. In the face of increased skepticism about online user ratings and reviews, and greater demand for transparency about how user scores are generated, we’re offering something simple: ratings and reviews from people we can confirm have purchased a ticket to the movie they’re rating, which we think is a strong indicator someone has seen the movie.
We believe an Audience Score made up of these Verified Ratings is the most trustworthy measure of user sentiment we can offer right now – one that gives entertainment fans a genuine audience assessment of a movie they’re considering watching, and one which puts significant roadblocks in front of bad actors who would seek to manipulate the Audience Score.
Today is another phase in a rollout of changes we’re making to our Audience Score, user ratings, and user reviews. As we’ve mentioned, we’re working on bringing other ticket providers into our verification system, as well as finding ways we can verify ratings and reviews for movies that are not theatrically released, for TV series, and for streaming titles. And there will be further enhancements to come.
We’ll be announcing these changes right here in the product blog, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions in the comments section below. We’ll take your thoughts and ideas into consideration as we continue to evolve our recommendation tools.
Thanks for using Rotten Tomatoes – and contributing to it. And don’t forget to let us know what you think of the latest Fresh and Rotten flicks in theaters.