The 72-hour waiting period between submitting a review and publishing it was introduced three weeks ago, Amazon told Variety. Only now does the new system really stand out, after the much-watched premiere of the major new series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The system must counter so-called ‘review bombing’. That is the phenomenon whereby disgruntled fans bombard a film or series with negative reviews, for example. Then the star rating of the series drops and other viewers may be discouraged from watching too. Amazon hopes to keep those kinds of reviews from Prime Video with the 72-hour waiting period.
Series still victim
The Rings of Power is still a victim of ‘review bombing’ on public review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and even IMDb, a subsidiary of Amazon. The series receives high ratings from professional reviewers on those sites, but is knocked down by a striking number of negative user reviews.
A group of viewers is displeased with the diverse cast of The Rings of Power, with actors of color playing the roles of elves and dwarves. Also, viewers disagree with the artistic freedom the writers take with the story, even though writer Tolkien’s family has given permission for the series. For example, on Rotten Tomatoes, The Rings of Power has nearly 18,000 viewer reviews, while many other series are stuck at 4,000 user reviews.
Review bombing not a new phenomenon
Amazon set the review delay for Prime Video on the series premiere of A League of Their Own. That series tells the true story of colored and LGBTQ players in the women’s professional baseball league in the US in the 1940s. People who disagreed with the progressive message of the series did indeed try to “review bomb” it, but became on public sites opposed by fans of the series.
The phenomenon of review bombing has been a headache for review sites for years. In 2019, for example, Rotten Tomatoes tried to tackle it with a verification system that required people to attach, for example, a picture of their movie ticket, as proof of watching. With TV series, however, such control is much more difficult to maintain.