How They’re Gaming Yelp
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!
My Blue Pen
Times don’t change. People do.
When I was younger I wrote t-shirts. In 8th grade I wore the Star Wars variety every day for an entire year. Every. Single. Day. Yeah, I was out memeing while most of you were still in your diapers. You might say it was a sign of things to come.
Somewhere on the way to becoming a grumpy grandpa my practice of wearing t-shirts gradually fell to the wayside and was replaced by button-front shirts. Nothing fancy, mind you. I still hate clothes. But if I have to wear them at least give me a pocket and a place to keep my pen.
That’s another thing. Somehow I picked up strange habits involving pens.
At one time or another I must have experienced a traumatic “lost pen” incident. I began to glom on to them. I’d spend a good part of my day concerned about the location and status of my pen. And may the heavens help you if you tried to walk away with it. You would be smited.
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I’m sitting here writing this post in my Kmart underwear … and nothing else. Yes, even though Kmart sucks. Maybe because of it. I gotta be me. We all know how much I enjoy humiliation.
I don’t know much and what I do know seems to be shrinking on an almost daily basis. My existence is increasingly consumed by thoughts regarding my sanity.
For those keeping track the opening paragraph was “underwear” and the follow-up paragraph was “shrinkage.” This is known as a progression of ideas. I’m building up to something. You are wise to still be reading this.
Aside from all that, there seems to be something else going on.
My rate of “Rain Man” moments seems to be on the rise. There’s been an uptick in momentia, if you will.
No, we decidedly do not refer to them as “senior moments.” Despite being a grumpy grandpa and standing on my lawn and yelling at kids, I’m not ready for that schtick just yet. Not while I’m still young and in my prime.
Besides, I’m an excellent driver.
Then I was responsible for a car accident after going to the pharmacy to pick up my “meds.” Oh, shit. Did I just use the word “meds?” This is the end.
So yeah, that happened.
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All across this beautiful nation of ours people are getting stoned out of their gills. (Which, thanks to fantastic advances in high jinx pharmacological science they literally believe they have. Gills, I mean.) Some get so high, either by themselves or administered by their prostitutes) that they depart for a higher plane of existence.
Me? I’ll imbibe the occasional mint julep (in honor of Dr. Leonard McCoy) but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t get high. I get even. And man, I am so even right now. But seriously, though, the best I ever accomplish is a temporary hit to my already questionable judgement. And a nap. Alcohol is always followed by a nap.
Beyond that, the only time I have need for drugs is when I’m in pain. P-A-I-N. Like when a tooth goes supernova. It’s the old arrow through the tooth routine. Ha ha.
But unlike every street rat and Silicon Valley exec, my choices are decidedly limited. I have abscess to anything as long as it literally does nothing (except, maybe, the side effects). What a deal!
So I call the dentist. It’s an “emergency,” I say. No problem! “How does Tuesday next week sound?” How does that sound? How about I feast on your soul with my last working tooth?
They always think I’m after the drugs. Yeah, people on the streets are scarfing pills like they’re Fruit Loops but I’m going to call you, my dentist, to get my fix on.
“Just take some over-the-counter stuff,” he says. As if the words uttered by a dentist actually makes them effective and gives them power. Acetaminophen. Ibuprofen. The words just roll off the tongue. Or they ought to for all the good they’ll do. Are you freaking kidding me? They just announced a study this week which revealed acetaminophen is no more effective for lower back pain than placebos. Which is unfortunate because acetaminophen is pretty much the #1 recommended analgesic for lower back pain. Oops. Our bad. (Which, by the way, you can’t spell analgesic without anal. Coincidence? Methinks not. Someone is too damn clever.)
How about you shove that OTC back in your analgesic, k?
I have a question. When you call the dentist why isn’t his response should be limited to one of two possibilities? 1) Come right in and I’ll work on you now and make it stop. 2) Come right in, I’ll take a quick look, and I’ll be happy to prescribe a serious pain reliever until I can see you sometime next week.
Why the hell don’t they do that?
My theory? It’s punishment. It’s the dental equivalent of dad grabbing the belt and taking me out behind the wood shed. Someone has gots to be learned a lesson. Maybe next time you won’t wait so long until you call? How many times do I have to drill this into you? This hurts you a whole lot more than it hurts me.
Today I saw the dentist and he readily agreed my mouth should be toured by the President in a helicopter after being declared eligible for disaster relief. “See? Aren’t you glad I made you wait?” Then I was finally handed a script for Tylenol-Codeine and admonished, “Be careful while taking these. Don’t try to drive or anything. This is powerful stuff.” Yeah, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, lady. I saw that episode of M*A*S*H, too. The one that went on to become a template for modern medical science. “Take these sugar pills and call us in the morning. Be careful! Powerful stuff!”
They say life is pain. But maybe that’s just because everyone except me gets abscess to the good stuff.
Yes, I replaced every instance of “access” with “abscess.” That’s my literary genius at work. I don’t even charge extra. -Ed.