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Five Stars Dominate Ratings

By Shiva Rajaraman

Group Product Manager

This graph fascinated us and so we wanted to share. It shows the number of videos that receive specific star ratings: one star for when you loathe something, five for when you love it. Judging from this chart, it looks like some of you are moved to rate videos when you don't like them, but the overwhelming majority of videos on YouTube have a stellar five-star rating:

Seems like when it comes to ratings it's pretty much all or nothing. Great videos prompt action; anything less prompts indifference. Thus, the ratings system is primarily being used as a seal of approval, not as an editorial indicator of what the community thinks about a video. Rating a video joins favoriting and sharing as a way to tell the world that this is something you love.

We're glad there are so many awesome videos on YouTube, but all of this begs the question: if the majority of videos are getting five stars, how useful is this system really? Would a thumbs up/thumbs down be more effective, or does favoriting do the trick of declaring your love for a video? These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves as we look at data like this and think about how to build the best, most efficient site for you.

What do you think? How useful are ratings? How do you use them? Please leave a comment below.