Thursday, August 27, 2009

reviewing Yelp

I just removed myself from Yelp.com. I only had two reviews anyway, so its no great loss. My partner and I were talking about Yelp the other night, and we agreed that it sort of sucks.

This is my reasoning: If you could be certain that every person reviewing on Yelp was fair-minded, with half a brain cell, and the best intentions, it would be one thing. But you can't be. Anybody can be on Yelp...any mean, spoiled fool can be on Yelp, and they can have a big impact on a person's livelihood.

My partner is a stylist in a small hair salon in NYC. He's gotten quite a few good reviews, and those are awesome, of course. But he's also gotten a couple of shitty reviews, and in those, the reviewer didn't even necessarily paint an accurate picture of what happened. The reviewers were able to use his name in their reviews, but they can disguise their own identities. And its bad form for any employee to respond to a bad Yelp review that names them. So they can't say, for example, "Well, Jogita, if you hadn't been an hour late, or had had any idea what you wanted when you came in, then you might have walked out with a cut more to your liking."

Anybody who has worked in the service industry knows that there are times that you do everything in your power to please a customer, and the customer is a psychopath determined to stick it to you for their own amusement. The problem with Yelp is, there is no way to tell if the reviewer is this kind of person, or a nice, smart, decent person who, unfortunately, did not like their haircut.

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