Never underestimate the human desire to game systems. Why expend actual effort when you can “win” by cheating? Because, to the victor go the spoils. Today I’d like to explain one way that business owners go about gaming their reviews.
So there’s this thing called Yelp. They claim to be generally positive system but the dictionary definition of the word “yelp” is: “a short sharp cry, esp. of pain or alarm.” Yeah, baby. Those are my kind of reviews. Let’s go negative and keep it that way. Don’t believe me? Look it up in your own dictionary.
I went to the trendy meat cafe and they served me an elk burger that was oozing blood. That’s how I earned “connoisseur of raw elk meat” on my Twitter profile! And, oh yeah, you better believe I yelped it as soon as I got home.
My understanding is that Yelp frowns on business owners asking for reviews. That’s bad form in a reputation system that’s supposedly driven from a wellspring of organic experiences from normal people like you and me. Normal! Yeah, right.
Here’s how the gaming works:
You place an order on a website. A few days or weeks later you receive a survey request. “How did we do on your recent order?” and what not.
You’ll likely be given the ability to enter some comments and provide a rating. If you give them a good rating, they’ll say thanks and provide a clickable link to the Yelp website where you can enter a review. If you give a bad rating, they only say thanks. No linky for you.
Voila! It’s as simple as that. The system just got gamed. The preliminary survey is nothing more than a sieve to sort the good eggs from the bad. The good eggs are passed along to Yelp and the bad eggs go down the chute. You might think that businesses appreciate negative feedback most of all because that’s vital information to help them improve. You’d be wrong. Why waste time on that shit when you can be gaming the system instead?
This is just one small example of gaming. People in the world of business spend more time thinking about stuff like this than they do on actual products and services. And they’re really good at it. That’s ingenuity.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to nosh on some raw elk. RAWR!
We recently renewed the contract for another year on the house we rent. We politely inquired directly with the owner about cutting the property management company out of the deal because they’re stark raving assholes and don’t do jack shit, but she said no. I figured it would have been a good deal for her since she wouldn’t have to pay them for doing nothing.
They only handled one issue from us all year and that was a broken 35-year-old hot water heater. In our defense we do need hot water several times a year.
The owner felt she “didn’t have time” to manage the property herself. Eh? Wazzup?
Then the other night came a very alarming sequence of events.
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Today we’ll explore another fascinating facet of GUNT (Grand Unification Negativity Theory) that offers supporting evidence that every human enterprise is gamed to the Nth degree.
At the Guru of Negativity I happen to love Yelp. (Their politics aside. That’s another story.) Surprised? Think about it. Start with the word “yelp” itself.
yelp: a short sharp cry, esp. of pain or alarm
Yep! The negativity is built right in. Don’t blame me. I’m not the one who named the service. It’s intended to be a place where you share your sharp cries of pain. Now that’s a blight idea!
The Yelp business model is simple. You criticize each other and we’ll make money off it. What could possibly go wrong?
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This is Anderson Catter interrupting your regularly scheduled bile to bring you this breaking CNN (Cat News Network) exclusive. We have been receiving reports of disturbing and unprecedented activities taking place across the household realm.
We go now live to Kitty Amanapurr on scene with this breaking report…
Thank you, Anderson. I am currently located on a bookcase shelf in the kitchen where formerly many cookbooks were kept. That all changed this weekend shortly after boxes were reportedly seen in the vicinity.
Initial eyewitnesses reported an influx of a large number of boxes. Box sightings are not that uncommon but this event was on a scale never before encountered. It seemed harmless and fun at first, as we investigated by sniffing all boxes and putting them to every test conceivable.
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Slowly I became aware that I must be awake. It was a very gradual thing. Once consciousness was certain I resolved to seek more information. With herculean effort I pushed with all my might and rolled my body over. Glowing red numbers swam in front of my eyes until they finally resolved into something readable.
I moaned in dispair.
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Rome wasn’t built in a day…
Nor was it built by gerbils.
I’m not going to beat around the bush. The lead for this story is quite clear.
The gerbil has been terminated from his job.
Unbelievable, I know.
Upon termination for a no-call, no-show, the gerbil is said to have quipped, “I must have forgotten to turn my alarm on.”
You might ask, “Is this the same gerbil that used his phone as an alarm clock, even though we advised him against doing that 1.2 million times?” That answer would be yes.
You might ask, “Is this the same gerbil that could easily snooze through his alarm 27 times in a row?” That answer would be yes.
You might ask, “Is this the same gerbil who was on extremely thin ice for a horrible record of attendance, making up wacky stories for why he couldn’t work, and was routinely late for or didn’t show up for work at all?” That answer would be, surprisingly, yes.
Somehow the cruel hand of fate reached out and unfairly smacked this poor kid around leading to his unjust removal as an employee. It just isn’t fair!!!
That makes two of our gerbils who have now lost their jobs due to no-call, no-show scenarios. Gerbil #1 felt “sick” one day for something like the umpteenth time. He didn’t have a land line and no cell phone was available. So he just didn’t show up. He was summarily fired. I asked him later, “Did it ever cross your brain to try to find a phone?” He could only lamely reply, “No.” (That’s translated from gerbil squeak.)
Now Gerbil #2 has followed in those exact same footsteps. It is rather remarkable, really. Rarely in the world of scientific exploration do we find this sort of ironclad consistency.
No doubt new gerbil behavior is brewing due to this recent development. Stay tuned for more details as they become available…