dpd1 - 9:40 pm on Mar 15, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't like review sites in general, for a number of reasons...
You get the self proclaimed 'pro' reviewer types, who fancy themselves as some sort of official writer... when they're really just some 20 something kid living at home with too much time on their hands.
The transaction is disproportionate to the power of the review... Somebody spends $10 on a hamburger, then if there's some little thing they don't like, they proclaim the place is somehow not worthy, to potentially thousands of people. That's a ridiculous amount of power to wield for $10. What if the cook's kid was sick all night and he had an off day... Too much power for way too little of an experience.
Most people lean towards negative and feel that there must always be SOME negative comment made, even when things were generally good.
Fake reviews... I recently was looking for a place to do business with. I emailed them and got a response from Alex. I then remembered that the first glowing review for the place on Yelp was signed Alex. Coincidence? Probably not, because I found another review site that had a review signed Alex as well.
Many review systems often seem to just be a collection of disgruntled people. Individuals have no problem finding the time trying to destroy somebody when they're ticked off, but generally have a harder time finding time to compliment.
Lastly... The trivial things that some people view as significant flaws are often times beyond absurd.
The only way reviews work is when you have a large enough sampling to get a decent broad spectrum of experiences. God help the small business that has the one or two cranky people who were the only ones that gave a review. It would be interesting to maybe have no reviews posted, until a certain number have been collected.
Overall, I think Yelp's layout is too busy and sort of annoying in function.