I have written on my own blog before about how to improve your chances of getting better ratings from reviewers and this is an expansion upon that also going into different areas.
I don’t think I’m shocking anyone here by saying that IMDb is simply filled with trolls. There are people on IMDb who rate movies they have never seen either because they don’t like the title of it, the poster, or just simply because they have nothing better to do than try to ruin somebody else’s day. Unfortunately IMDb is the first site that comes up for a search of a movie and that rating as a result of trolls influences them, and unfortunately other reviewers.
How do you influence the rating on IMDb then?
Use you own social media. If you have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever else sites might be lurking on the internet, many of the people who follow you, especially on Facebook, have most likely seen your film or are at the very least friendly to you. I’ve pointed this out individually before; the best resource you have for upping your ratings is to ask your friends and followers who have seen your film to rate it on IMDb. If you don’t have much of a following, network with other filmmakers and even reviewers to share your request.
You don’t need an IMDb account. If you have a Facebook, Google or even Amazon account you can sign into IMDb with those and rate films. There is a star at the top of the page that can be clicked on to rate a film from 1 to 10. It takes about 12 hours for the rating to be tallied into the total.
Having your friends and followers rate your films on IMDb is not going to guarantee you a good rating, but it will surely be higher than the rating you’re going to get from trolls who have never seen your film.
There are other things you can do that may, I stress MAY, influence ratings on IMDb. I have come to think that it is not a good idea to use a black & white poster on the site. Keep in mind that internet trolls lean toward the young and stupid side, are most likely spoiled, and would probably give a bad rating to something just because they don’t like the poster. These trolls are also mostly if not entirely males and any stills you add to your IMDb page that appeal to that demographic MAY influence a more positive rating from those trolls. IMDb gives the appearance of not being interested in doing anything about them; and even if they were I don’t know if there is realistically anything they can do.
I have stressed before to check out reviewers before just asking them to review your movies. This includes checking out their sites if they are a contributor to a collective of reviewers. You can get a feel for someone’s bias by reading their reviews. Let me just be blunt by saying that anybody can review movies and call oneself a reviewer. Reviewers vary wildly from really bad to really good, and there is no rating of reviewers to know which is which because that in and of itself would be just as subjective as their opinions.
You know what’s in your film better than anybody. You can find films you feel would have a similar appeal to someone as yours and find reviewers that rated those films highly, and they would be more likely to rate your film higher than just asking any reviewer at random. And do realize that a lot of reviewers are not particularly original and are influenced by others; getting higher ratings and better reviews up front can also influence reviews to come.
The Movie Database is a site similar to IMDb. Haven’t heard of it? Well that doesn’t mean anything other than you don’t know one of the best kept secrets to getting reviews (outside of actually having a screener for reviews as I’ve pointed out). What makes TMDb so valuable to you? Well, IMDb does not freely share their database with other sites; TMDb does. Letterboxd and other movie review collectives, as well many, many movie forums, use that database. If you’re not listed in that database you can’t be reviewed on Letterboxd and potentially hundreds of other sites. That doesn’t mean that you’ll get reviews on those sites if you are listed, but you will never get reviews on them if you’re not. And unlike IMDb, you don’t need a premium membership to add your photos and trailers.
I certainly don’t know everything there is to getting better reviews and ratings. I’m not an expert on other people. As a reviewer I do notice trends and have learned a few things about the places others post their reviews. These things I’ve mentioned are from that experience and are by no means foolproof, but perhaps you can use it to your advantage.