Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating System

In recent years, Rotten Tomatoes has become a haven for trolls trying to tear down the audience score for new movies in order to feed into their whacked-out personal agendas. The site has been trying their best to battle it for a little while now, but thankfully, the movie rating aggregator has figured out how to tackle the problem head-on.

Starting today, Rotten Tomatoes will require users to have their movie ticket purchase verified in order to contribute a rating and/or review to the aggregate audience score for a movie.

Rotten Tomatoes announced their revamped audience rating system, which will now feature Verified Ratings and Reviews for new theatrical releases from here on out. Starting today, only Fandango users will be able to verify their ticket purchase, but eventually, AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres will participate by collaborating on a ticket purchase authentication system with Rotten Tomatoes.

However, it should be noted that users who don’t verify their ticket purchases will still be able to rate and review movies. But those ratings and reviews will not count towards the new Verified Audience Score, which will be displayed on both Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango, the latter replacing their previous five-star rating system. All of them will be listed on Rotten Tomatoes, but only the verified ticket buyers will have a badge next to their reviews.

This is the perfect way to combat trolls whose pointless existence relies on them trying to bring down a movie’s reputation to give their life some kind of meaning. They still have their voice on Rotten Tomatoes, but no one will listen to it because their reviews won’t be verified, and their ratings won’t impact the audience score. They’ll be the online equivalent of someone shouting their review of the movie on the subway. No one cares.

Of course, Rotten Tomatoes isn’t coming out and saying that this is what they’re doing. They’re much more publicity friendly about it by saying, “The launch of Verified Ratings and Reviews is part of the Rotten Tomatoes’ overall plan to modernize its Audience Rating System over the next year, making it even more helpful to fans as they make their entertainment viewing decisions.” Paul Yanover, president of Fandango, also had this to say about the Rotten Tomatoes audience rating system update:

“We know from our research that fans consult Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score along with the Tomatometer, when making decisions on what to watch. Having an Audience Score and reviews from fans who are confirmed ticket purchasers, will add even more usefulness to our product and increase consumer confidence.”

However, Fandango’s vice president of product, Greg Ferris, was a little more forthcoming about the change to Variety:

“We think this provides more information, more transparency and more consumer confidence around the score itself. The byproduct of dissuading bad actors from influencing fan sentiment is certainly part of this.”

Since Rotten Tomatoes owns Fandango, this could easily be seen as an attempt to boost ticket purchases through the website. And while that’s certainly a benefit at first, the inclusion of other theater chains later this year will make that irrelevant. Plus, Fandango’s chief marketing office says they’re open to any partner that wants to work with them to authenticate ticket purchases for Rotten Tomatoes users.

The first releases using the ticket verification system through Fandango will be Aladdin, Booksmart and Brightburn, and all new releases going forward will be subject to the verification requirements.

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