I’m the Bad Guy?
Last night my wife and I had a conversation.
“What’s for dinner?”
“I don’t know. What do you want?”
“Dunno. What do you want?”
“Looks like we’re going out.”
Seriously. Why I’m not picking up an Oscar for best original screenplay beats the hell out of me.
Portland Restaurant Waiting Guide
Next up, on Iron Skillet Chef America our celebrity judge feels he’s entitled to share his opinions. Alloy cuisine!!! –Ed.
As a proud “native Oregonian” I’ve lived in Portland, on and off, since 1981. I’ve been to a few places to eat along the way. From food carts to neighborhood pub n’ grubs to world class cuisine, Portland has a veritable plethora of long waiting lines guaranteed to satisfy most any connoisseur of the latest trendy thing.
Voodoo Doughnut? I’ve never been. The line has always been too damn long. Who has that kind of time for a doughnut with bacon on it? My trick? Go to two different places, grab a doughnut from a regular place and a side of bacon from a diner. Voila! I call that Voodoo without the wait. When you’re downtown you’ll people toting around with their little pink boxes of Voodoo doughnuts as if to say, “Look at me! I did the wait!” Pro Tip: That pink box goes really well with plaid.
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!
Everyone’s a critic but nobody enjoys being criticized. If you ask me, that’s a fantastic system. P.S. You suck.
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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A single gold star for me
The human race needed to survive so groups of individuals formed organizational units called “companies” that were then used to fuck everyone else. Viola! Stratification, and it was good.
Sure, not everyone survived or ended up better off but that was the whole point, wasn’t it?
Now a Virginia court has given companies just a bit more power. Yeah.
You’ve heard about Yelp? It’s one of the few places where disgruntled customers can strike back when they’ve been wronged.
The war between reviewers and companies is an old one. It turns out that businesses don’t like being criticized. In the old days reviewing was an actual profession and people were hired by newspapers to perform that function. In one case a food critic reported seeing an open can of beans in the kitchen in a restaurant that purported to only use fresh ingredients.
The restaurant flipped their lid.
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