February 5th, 2012
There’s a problem on Urbanspoon that is growing worse – it used to affect Yelp even more so but the ascendance of Urbanspoon has brought it back: any and all reviews that are posted by someone AS THEIR FIRST REVIEW should be suspect, even disregarded completely.
Consider a new Urbanspoon user. Why are they there? Often it is because they have signed up for an account in the heat of the moment – ANGER or ELATION about a restaurant. Many signup from mobile devices, even while they are at the restaurant, lobbing comments about the overall experience without the details that lead to their conclusion.
Based on observation rather than rigorous data collection, most wildly negative or wildly positive reviews are left by users that will never review again. But what builds credibility as a reviewer? EXPERIENCE. And not just general eating experience, but experience sharing one’s opinions with the world in appropriate detail. A review that simply says, “this is great” or “this sucks” is useless. In that case the “reviewer” should just mark the place as “I like” or “I don’t like” and be done with it.
Keep that in mind when you see things like this (one negative, one positive):
Then, do everyone a service and mark their review as “not helpful”. We all appreciate it and the quality and reliability of websites like Urbanspoon and Yelp can get better.