IPod Store excises "5 Apple" ratings

Apple Computer has quietly removed a feature of its online iPod Store -- a ratings system that arbitrarily gave any Apple-branded product an instant '5 Apple' rating. Apple's iPod Store is an extension of the company's online retailing efforts. The store lets iPod buyers purchase new iPod models and a variety of third-party accessories, gift certificates for use on the iTunes Music Store, as well as Apple's extended "AppleCare" warranty coverage.

Recently the site introduced the ability for customers themselves to rate the products on a scale of one to five stars, lowest to highest. Customer ratings are restricted only to third-party products, however. Apple products instantly got a "five Apple" rating. In explaining the ratings system, Apple said, "We give all Apple products a rating of '5 Apples' because we think they're great."

Now any ratings to Apple-branded products have been removed all together. The only products available for customer rating are third-party accessories.

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