Just as with any subgroup or culture there are some “good” people mixed in with some “bad” people, but I’m going to recklessly (and confidently) say that if you are a “Yelper”, you are a dangerous human being. Or you really need to get a hobby. Maybe both.
If you aren’t sure what I mean by a “Yelper,” I’m referring to people that leave feedback on Yelp more often than once a year.
Let’s start with why Yelp is generally problematic, then work our way to the specifics, shall we?
Yelp might have initially been intended to help support or plug local and new businesses, but it has quickly transformed into a platform in which old, crotchety people can complain about their egg rolls being too cold or a secretary not smiling enough.
The average person doesn’t flock to this website to leave raving reviews as a means to help promote a business; those are the outliers… the “good” people I was referring to earlier…the one-percenters, if you will. Everyone else is just furiously striking keys behind an outdated computer monitor in hopes that A) someone will actually listen to them complain because, the manager that you know damn well they insisted on talking to earlier, wouldn’t. And B) they hope because that business ruined their night, they can help ruin the business.
And when you really hone in on the purpose of Yelp, you see how much damage a review can actually do. Because (as ridiculous as it may sound) the old adage holds true – one bad review speaks exponentially louder than ten good ones.
That means that Joe Shmoe (who you wouldn’t ordinarily trust to pick out your laundry detergent) could actually determine how much business a place gets and how successful they are based on a single, scathing review.
That’s HUGELY problematic because one review has a lot of variables attached to that one person’s experience. It’s one thing if it’s that Yelpers 7th and the company has messed up one too many times.
But what if it’s the patron’s first time at an establishment and it was just an “off” night? Maybe the business was short staffed or overly crowded, or they ran out of a certain food, or the receptionist’s husband just died, or there were a zillion other little occurrences that cumulatively impacted that one Yelper’s overall experience?
Is it really fair to attack the integrity (and potential success) of a product, the people providing it, or the people that own it because ONE person had ONE subpar experience?
It’s a lot of responsibility to bequeath a TOTAL FUCKING STRANGER who (as far as we all know) is senile, never satisfied, and, in no way, shape or form, qualified to make judgment calls.
So, here’s my solution. Let Yelpers bitch all they want but… under one circumstance… they ALSO have to have a Yelp page where businesses can judge, comment and rate THEM on what kind of customers they are.
That means that every time Linda Boomingfield from Farmersville, Illinois decides to leave an Ebert-and-Stein-esque written analysis on Yelp regarding her awful experience at some restaurant, that establishment gets to counter her Yelp by leaving their own review. They get to bitch about how Linda’s party showed up five minutes before closing, expected a well-done steak in under five minutes, bitched about how cold their water was, then left the server a fifty-cent tip.
Perhaps maybe that will give pause to impetuous, trigger-happy Yelp reviews.
Wouldn’t it, Linda?