netflix feature

Thumbs Down – Why the New Netflix Rating System is Terrible


Netflix ruined their ratings system. Here’s my story on it…


Thumbs down. That’s the general consensus on the new Netflix rating system, and with good reason. Previously, Netflix employed a 5 star rating system, with 5 stars being the best. This was great, and it gives users a sense of how good the populace thinks a flick is. High quality movies and shows tend to rise to the top in such a system, even if they’re not to your liking. Likewise, it’s pretty easy to see that a moderately-rated star film that’s in a genre you like might be worth checking out.

Now the new system… all you get is either a “yay” or “nay” vote, and worse… suggestions are made to you by whatever black box mystical algorithm it is that they use to make “recommendations.” Therein lies the rub. THE ALGORITHM SUCKS. Under the new system, you can’t tell what the general populace (on average) enjoys, so you get crap recommendations from the “Netflix bot” for awful production, low-quality garbage simply becuase it’s in a genre you like, or is similar to something you’ve recently seen.

In the last few days I’ve tried to watch over a dozen recommendations that were rated 90% or higher by the Netflix ghost in the machine, AND I COULDN’T FINISH A SINGLE ONE. Most of them I bailed on in the first 5 minutes. I like action flicks, sci-fi, some horror and stand-up comedy. These genres are notoriously filled with garbage. I don’t have time to watch the junk, I’m too old. I want to see the good stuff, but I’m also the guy who doesn’t have any time to pay attention to what’s in theaters (or when), and generally relies on the internet for all my movie and tv viewing. The new Netflix system KILLS their system for people like me.

Essentially, Netflix has made their system useless for finding those golden gems that you used to be able to find, because now you can’t. The vast majority of their recommendations are complete crap, and without the peer review system to bring the good stuff to your attention, you are inundated with B and C list nonsense, especially in the genres I find appealing.

Netflix was wildly successful at transitioning from a dead format to forward thinking format. However, they’ve taken a HUGE step back with their new rating system. I find it a little odd that a company who’s managed to stay ahead of its competition for so long has ruined one of the things that made it so successful.

Netflix, if you’re reading this, go back to what you had. Your AI or whatever it is that determines recommendations isn’t good enough. I’m done with you until you fix it. Either you go back to the old system, or risk becoming nothing more than a site to watch reruns of stuff I’ve already seen and know is good. That would be a shame, because I’ve actually found some really good stuff based on the 5 star system that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.


Netflix did not reply to our attempt to contact them for their opinion on our piece. To better understand why Netflix changed their ratings system, please view their original statement here.


PHOTO CREDIT – Composite of Netflix logo and artwork