As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Netflix, the online movie rental site. In addition to making movie selections, I spend time rating movies so that Netflix can make recommendations of other flicks that I might enjoy; it generally works quite well.
After watching one obscure selection online, Netflix asked me to write a review for it. Since there were no reviews posted (which shows you how obscure it really was), I happily reviewed it. After doing so, I was assigned a “reviewer rank.” I started at around 500,000, meaning that there were half a million who has a more favorable rank. This started me writing reviews (60 so far). In part, this was because I enjoy movies and writing, so reviewing them was an obvious extension. However, my competitive nature also wanted to see how low I could push my reviewer rank.
The rankings are updated weekly, and I feel compelled to check mine out. Usually, it moves up or down by a few hundred points. Ironically, the movement doesn’t always track with my activity. For example, I’ve seen my rank improve when I submitted no reviews, and I’ve seen it decrease when I have submitted reviews.
I suspect another factor in the ranking is the percentage of people who find my reviews helpful. But that’s impossible to tell, since there is no way to do a controlled test with all the other reviewers making their own submissions. I’ve also wondered if submitting “Top Ten” lists is a factor (I’ve made 10 so far), as well as doing the social networking thing by making “friends and favs”connections (which I’ve yet to pursue). Again, there is no way to verify that.
Sometimes my reviewer rank makes huge jumps,anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000. I assume that means Netflix tweaked their formula. This is fun when my rank improves, but disconcerting when it drops. A couple a months ago, I had worked up to a rank of13,381, but a month later, it plummeted to 104,010.
That sure made me lose interest. Even so, I’ve worked back to 85,696. But when the rules can apparently change without warning, the effort to earn a good rank looses some of its appeal.