We understand we are in the vast minority with this opinion. But online reviews for businesses should go the way of the dodo. No, we’re not crazy. At some point in the expansion of Yelp and Amazon, people began relying on these faceless opinions for everything . So we’re going out of our way to talk about why we won’t be including stars or ratings for our recommendations. Please take this journey with us.
You’ve probably noticed that in recent years everything has a rating. Music, videos, sheets, bars, pencils, salt; if you can find it online you can find a rating for it. And at first it made sense. How else are you supposed to know if what you’re buy is safe/legitimate/quality? By hoping that some stranger has also used that product and also has the decency to review it. At some point this review system has ballooned to what we have today. Today a half star difference on Yelp means the difference of 8-10% profit. I will repeat that. Today a half star difference on Yelp means the difference of 8-10% profit… Most often affecting small, local businesses.
If you weren’t aware already we have some bad news for you. Online reviews don’t actually tell you which is the better product. Amazon critics have been vocal about the swath of fake product reviews. Yelp allows businesses to pay for advertisements putting them at the top of your search page. Businesses are even figuring out how to game the system. They are able to hide their bad reviews and only show the positive, thus changing their rating. And this is only part of the problem.
This doesn’t even begin to talk about the fact that who reviews businesses are often one-side. When was the last time you left a Yelp or Google Review for a good experience? Or even a normal experience? When was the last time you heard someone threaten a business with leaving a bad review? If you work in the industry my guess would be sometime in the last month. Do you see the issue?
And worse yet, even understanding these things it’s hard to ignore ratings. Knowing what we do about Yelp and the restaurant world we still get swept away with the number. 3.7 vs 4.5 stars? No brainer.
So we are looking to change things. We still think that customer input is important. But we also know atmosphere and experience descriptors give you a better idea of a space. So heres to supporting local, eclectic businesses and giving the middle finger to the stars.