Case Study: “It’s Perfect, Four Stars!”

Chapter Written by Leonora Shell, M.A.T.[1]

Editor’s Note: This chapter is written from a first-person perspective by a woman who owns a business that sells products on Etsy. It is intended to highlight her personal experience as a woman.

Learning Objectives

  • Critically analyze the impact of review systems on e-commerce platforms, particularly how they affect small business owners and vulnerable populations.

  • Gain an understanding of how algorithms and automated systems can both support and hinder the operation of online marketplaces, influencing the livelihoods of the sellers involved.

  • Develop the ability to evaluate the ethical implications of review and rating systems in digital commerce.

  • Analyze the effects of review systems on power dynamics and societal inequalities through a feminist lens.

  1. This chapter was written based on a guest lecture that was given to both the undergraduate and ALFA sections of the Data & Society course. In the spirit of full disclosure, Leonora Shell is the wife of volume editor J.J. Sylvia IV. To avoid conflict of interest, the shop referenced has not been disclosed, either here or in the guest lectures.