Rotten Tomatoes has massively overhauled the way it collects and handles its Audience Score. As a result, the site will now display aggregate ratings that include only users who can prove they bought a ticket to see it in a theater.
The move is in an effort to fight trolls and bots, hoping to curb co-ordinated ‘review bombs’ aimed at pushing down the Audience Score for films that certain individuals or interest groups have targeted.
In addition, it also helps the site’s owners Fandango sell more tickets as initially the only way users can have their ratings count toward the Audience Score will be through a Fandango purchase.
Fandango adds that it has deals with AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres to participate in the program to let their customers verify their ticket purchases on Rotten Tomatoes sometime later this year.
The company’s chief marketing officer Lori Pantel says the decision came out of research the company conducted over the last year showing users ‘want more transparency’.
Movies opening this Friday will be the first subjected to the new Audience Rating system including Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” and smaller releases “Booksmart” and “Brightburn”. All new releases going forward will be subject to the same requirement of confirming a ticket purchase before their ratings count toward the Audience Score, while scores displayed for previous movies won’t change.
Even with the change, the site will continue to allow all visitors to rate and review movies regardless of whether or not they are confirmed ticket purchasers. Users will have an option to see the ‘all audience’ score for a given movie, which incorporates all user ratings with or without a ticket.
User-submitted reviews – both verified and unverified – will still be listed with those that are verified marked with a ‘verified’ badge. Audience scores for TV shows won’t be impacted by the change, however Fandango’s own five-star fan rating on their site is being replaced with the new RT score.