Vamsi Gadey

Improving Trust on Ratings & Reviews

UGC was previously mostly perceived as a driver for same session conversion. This has prevented the team from doing the right thing for all the players in the ecosystem: consumers, contributors, merchants and Groupon. I helped reposition the UGC team's mission, framed the discussion on why Groupon should invest in it, and what we should build. I also helped redefine the success criteria for this project around long-term metrics than short-term metrics.


  • PM (me)

  • Engineering team

  • Lead designer

  • User researcher


  • Defining product mission, vision and strategy

  • Defining success metrics

  • Planning and iterating with team

  • Motivating the team


UGC (User Generated Content) team’s mission is to provide customers with a medium to share their Groupon experiences to:

  • Instill shoppers with confidence in buying Groupon deals

  • Provide merchants with actionable feedback to provide better customer service

  • Create a neutral and trustworthy marketplace that rewards and promotes quality merchants

Players and their motivations in UGC ecosystem


I found out from user research and App Store reviews that users don’t trust Groupon’s ratings and reviews, and hence navigate outside of Groupon (e.g., to Yelp) to seek additional information. Not only does this make the shopping experience time-consuming, but also increased the risk of users abandoning deals on Groupon.


Of all definitions of trust given in several articles, reliability, confidence and willingness to depend are the most important components of trust (Rousseau, Sitkin, Burt & Camerer, 1998).

Considerable literature has shown that trust has three dimensions: cognitive trust, affective trust and behavioral trust. The type of social relationship among trust protagonists is likely to determine the relative importance and strength of the cognitive versus the affective elements of trust (Lewis & Weigert, 1985). While emotion-based trust (e.g., judgements about trustee benevolence, feeling of likeability) is most influential in long-established primary-group relationships (among members of a kin), cognitive-based trust is more extensive and contributes more to the development of trust in relationships with secondary group (e.g., unknown individuals, social systems).

Based on past UX research and literature review, I identified three aspects of cognitive trust in the context of ratings/reviews for UGC

trust in ratings & reviews.png


In 2018, one of the key goals I set for the UGC team is to improve perceptions on trust with the hypothesis that improving trust on ratings and reviews is going to help conversion, repeat visits, purchase frequency and customer lifetime value.

To do that, we have to isolate trust and find a way to consistently measure trust as we make changes and conduct experiments for ratings and reviews on Groupon. Working with user research, we came up with a reliable, measurable and repeatable measure called Trust Score.