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If you are looking for reliable reviews of recent movies, you may be tempted to choose IMDb as your go-to movie review supersite. However, some IMDb reviews are fake. Here is all of the information you need to know.
IMDb stands for the Internet Movie Database, and it has been in operation for decades, collating movie and TV reviews. The site is also a good resource for knowing who worked on what film, from co-stars all the way down to gaffers. It is generally considered to be a fantastic cinema resource, despite the problem with fake reviews. And it’s a real problem, especially for businesses that have not yet known how to test a new product to gauge public interest.
IMDb stands for the Internet Movie Database, and it has been in operation for decades, collating movie and TV reviews.
Unfortunately, yes. IMDb reviews are not considered to be overly trustworthy, as big Hollywood studios generally dictate the scores and the overall consensus. The algorithm used by IMDb to collate its reviews is generally considered inferior to those used by Rotten Tomatoes and similar sites. When shopping on e-commerce sites, you may also wonder if Fakespot is accurate.
In addition, it’s not always easy to tell if reviews are faked. Sometimes you can spot fake Yelp reviews and even false Redbubble reviews, but typically, unless they blatantly stand out, it’s hard to see them.
There are many ways in which IMDb reviews can be faked. Here are just a few.
Reviews are speculative and opinion-based, so no one review can be singled-out out for this pay-to-play behavior.
The massive press arms of Hollywood studios can easily influence IMDb reviewers, leading to positive reviews for nearly every blockbuster that has been released in the past few years. Even notoriously bad blockbusters like Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice received gushing reviews on IMDb. Of course, reviews are speculative and opinion-based, so no one review can be singled-out out for this pay-to-play behavior. The overall aggregate score, however, can start to look fishy when it comes to blockbusters.
IMDb is split into two sections, user reviews, and professional reviews. This demarcation is similar to how Rotten Tomatoes operates, and it can fall victim to some of the same pratfalls that Rotten Tomatoes experiences. One such problem with this system is the practice of review bombing. A group of people who have a bone to pick with a film for one reason or another will band together and review bomb it, meaning they will flood the user reviews with overly negative reviews. The same can happen with positive reviews, but negative reviews are much more common when it comes to review bombing. There is typically some sort of political machination behind review bombing, such as when folks banded together to review bomb the Marvel release Captain Marvel.
IMDb reviews are not considered to be overly trustworthy, as big Hollywood studios generally dictate the scores and the overall consensus.
Should you ignore all movie ranking sites?
You don’t have to ignore any site, rather, you should combine every site to make an informed decision as to which movie to see. All of the sites have issues, but even the most manipulative review can feature nuggets of truth.
How can you trust a movie review?
Trustworthy movie reviews are written by professional experts that you have trusted in the past. It is unlikely that they would fall into a pay-to-play scenario.
Does Rotten Tomatoes suffer from the same problems?
Rotten Tomatoes does experience some of the same problems with fake reviews as IMDb does, though the algorithm Rotten Tomatoes uses is better at sussing out fraudulent reviews.
STAT: IMDb does tweak its rankings to lessen the influence of particular demographics, but men often make up over 70 percent of the voters for any film. (source)