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I was looking at the reviews for an application which was rated as 3.5 stars in the summary.

From reading the reviews, there were few 5's a lot of 1's and very little in between. My "gorilla math" estimate is of the 50 or so reviews I read, it was probably averaged a 2.75 or lower.

How is this rating calculated? All reviews in history? Most recent? Some kind of bad review filter I cannot see?

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2 Answers

up vote 24 down vote accepted

You're missing the ratings of users who did not leave comments. A large, significant number of users do not leave comments, but they do rate apps.

This is what a developer will see in their dashboard, a breakdown of all ratings of their app:

Tippy Tipper ratings, 5 stars x 223, 4 stars x 82, 3 stars x 20, 2 stars x 4, 1 star x 2

So I have an average rating of about 4.57 out of 331 ratings.

However, in the dashboard I only have 6 pages of comments, and each page has up to 20 comments. So I have no more than 120 comments on my app. So you'd only be seeing 1/3 of the ratings for my app in particular.

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Thanks. I guess the iPhone store works that way too, I had used it as well, but never rated anything. Interesting lesson for how you should decide, because most of the 1 stars was complaining about serious Force Close problems... –  benc Dec 23 '10 at 15:50
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Keep in mind, too, the human nature of not speaking up about good experiences. We tend to be much more outspoken when things are not going well. :) I tend to take individual poor ratings with a grain of salt and look at the overall score myself. –  Saiboogu Dec 23 '10 at 15:57
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count of 5 star * 5+ count of 4 star * 4+ count of 3 star * 3+ count of 2 star * 2+ count of 1 star Divided By Number of people rated

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The calculation formula was not really the question here (that most likely was what the OP used). It was rather which reviews/ratings are included – see the accepted answer by Bryan. –  Izzy Mar 4 at 12:36
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