Restaurants have the Michelin guide. I.merchants have The @Plan Institute for Online Commerce E-Performance Report. Released quarterly, the report grants Websites one to five stars based on shopper reviews. A top-of-the-line, five-star ranking indicates that at least 50% of those who rated the site deemed it “excellent”; a four-star rating means that 40%-49% of users judged the site “excellent.”

In the winter 2001 report, online superstore Amazon.com received five-star ratings in seven categories: auctions; books/movies/music; business equipment/office supplies; home electronics; home appliances/furniture/gardening/home improvement; leisure goods; and computer hardware/software. Online auction site eBay also won five-star ratings in the same categories except, oddly enough, the auctions category, for which it received four stars. No merchant garnered four stars in the apparel category, but seven were awarded four stars: Cabela’s, Coldwater Creek, Disney Store, Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, Nordstrom, and Victoria’s Secret.

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