Rotten Tomatoes has had a real problem with review bombing recently, which sees users leave negative reviews on movies in large numbers, with the goal of making the films appear to be received much poorer than critical reviews and box office numbers indicated. Rotten Tomatoes fought back by changing its policy on pre-release audience reviews, and now Dana Benson, VP of Communications for Rotten Tomatoes, has revealed the site is looking into more changes to emphasize real reviews, even adopting Amazon's "verified purchase" technique.
"We've seen it with enough movies that we know we have to evolve our system," Benson said when asked about the trolling reviews. "Anyone that has an open system like we do has received this type of attention. Moving forward, we want to make sure our users can trust our audience score and that we find different ways to verify the reviews."
A verified purchased system isn’t a new idea for companies that thrive on an open-ended, user-based review system. Amazon implemented a Verified Purchase program just a few years ago to push back against swarms of reviews for products that had been provided for free, or reviewers who had been incentivized to review a product well.
Other outlets are changing how reviews are served to users in an effort to combat false reviews. YouTube appears to have begun flagging specific search terms for Captain Marvel differently, allowing more authoritative outlets such as Variety and USA Today to populate listing first.
Rotten Tomatoes has found itself under fire for the last several years, as female-led films such as Ghostbusters and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were bombarded with negative reviews before the films were even out in theaters. Captain Marvel was similarly review bombed prior to release. In response, Rotten Tomatoes adopted new policies, such as not allowing for audience ratings to be left prior to a film’s release.
While the steps taken by Rotten Tomatoes didn’t mitigate all of the troll reviews for the film, they don’t seem to have affected Captain Marvel much. As of this writing, the film is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 79% Tomatometer and 62% Audience Score, and is due for a strong second weekend at the box office.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel is in theaters now and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as the commander of Starforce, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, McKenna Grace as a young Carol Danvers and Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence.