When Rating Something Great, Give It the Maximum Number of Stars.

This Uber / Airbnb / restaurant was really great, you think to yourself as you sit down to write a review. You enter whatever you liked about the trip / apartment / food and then hover over the star ratings. “Well,” you think, “there is always something to improve!” or “It was great, but not literally the best trip / stay / food I have ever tasted,” and then you give it 4/5 or 9/10 stars.

Do not do this!

It may sound counterintuitive, but rating services is not the time to instill a mentality that requires constant improvement. For Airbnb hosts, Uber drivers, and more, star ratings are a huge part of their business, and anything below ideal looks like it’s not up to par.

I spoke to the host of Airbnb and VRBO who was disappointed by the vivid, 100% positive reviews with 4-star ratings. Both services give the owner incentives for high ratings, which in turn help her attract more business. On Airbnb, not only is it a high average rating, but a high proportion of 5-star ratings contribute to superhost status, which is an important part of enticing tenants to choose a particular listing. She said, “I really don’t think people realize how important these 5 stars are to the owners, as well as to the drivers of Uber and Lyft.”

For Uber and Lyft drivers, a rating just a few tenths below the ideal 5.0 could mean probation or even firing. The discrepancy between how riders and hauliers interpret star ratings can be dangerous for drivers caught in the middle.

The gig economy ratings are not the place to fight rating inflation. If everything was good – everyone is satisfied, nothing is wrong, everything is fine – then leave the perfect star rating. If you have reviews or small quibbles, you can share them with the owner or driver, or leave relevant information in the review text. Perfection is not achievable in practice , but should be commonplace in reviews and ratings. Often someone’s livelihood depends on it.


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