This week, Amazon.com’s IMDBPro raised rates for its movie, TV production database by 15 percent to around $150 a year (for current subscribers) and also launched a new service that was presented as a high-tech way for casting directors to find actors for movies and television. Part of this service, according to The Hollywood Reporter, used a proprietary ratings system called Starmeter. But, while this new service was just tipping onto the scene, reports surfaced on many websites indicating that the Starmeter ratings can and are being manipulated by third party promoters, and possibly by Amazon and IMDBPro themselves.
One such website, IMDBPromo, promised to improve customers’ Starmeter score for payments which ranged from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars. This site went dark on Wednesday after it was specifically named in one of the reports on a website called Herald de Paris. A source for IMDBPromo said that the company shut down at the request of IMDB.
The Herald de Paris, based in Los Angeles and Paris, said in a headline that “Starmeter [was] involved in meter rigging.” This article included the story of an actress named Anna Wilding. Wilding is a writer and producer from New Zealand who produced, wrote, and directed 2006’s Buddha Wild: Monk In A Hut. Wilding found out about these third-party promoter sites last year, and she found out that many actors were panicking because their Starmeter ratings had dropped significantly, and, for a fee, sites like IMDBPromo would fix it.
Although these services are being asked to shut down, there are still plenty of them out there. Time will tell how this Starmeter fiasco will end.