To say that Rotten Tomatoes has a problem with the authenticity of some of the user reviews on their site is a little bit of an understatement. There have been multiple films on the review aggregation site that have been hit with large numbers of false fake reviews designed to make a movie appear to be far worse than what critics review it as -- the latest being Captain Marvel, which was review bombed ahead of its theatrical release by sexist trolls. Now, however, it appears that the site may be moving towards verifying someone has genuinely seen a film before reviewing it -- by requiring proof of ticket purchase.
According to CBR, Rotten Tomatoes' Vice President of Communications says the company is looking at a "verified purchase" technique similar to Amazon's to ensure that the reviews for films are accurate and not just fans with an agenda.
"We've seen it with enough movies that we know we have to evolve our system," Benson said. "Anyone that has an open system like we do has received this type of attention. Moving forward, we want to make sure our users can trust our audience score and that we find different ways to verify the reviews."
Amazon has had a verified purchase system in place for a few years now following issues with product reviews that had been provided for items not genuinely purchased from the site -- such as products that had been provided for free or when reviewers were incentivized for positive reviews of a product. Now, if you look at reviews on Amazon, the reviews from people who the system recognizes as having purchased the time are noted as being "verified" -- meaning that they can confirm the user at least purchased the review.
If Rotten Tomatoes does change their audience review system to a verified one, it will be just the latest measure it has taken to deal with the false negative review problem. When the issue with Captain Marvel was at its peak, they took measures to attempt to stop it, such as disallowing ratings to be left prior to a film's release. It didn't stop all of the targeted review bombing, but it helps. Verifying that users have at least seen the films -- via verification of ticket purchase -- likely won't be foolproof either, but it's at least a huge step.