i want to share something with you today that i find a little odd...
last year i found out about urbanspoon from a friend who is in the restaurant business. we frequent his establishment a few times a month - it's how we got to know him well enough for him to invite us over to thanksgiving dinner - and he mentioned to us that they had just joined the site themselves. mr. b and i thought it would be great if we joined too and wrote about what a fantastic restaurant it was and how gracious the owner and his family have been to us.
we noticed that there was a bad review by a woman whose only complaint was that there seemed to be a lot of one time reviewers who gave this restaurant a great review. nothing about the food itself. we thought she was just a sour puss and went online, wrote our reviews, and in the interim, i specifically logged in a bunch of places i like, one i don't, and wrote 3 more short reviews for some more of my favorite places to eat.
honestly, i would rawther be here or on facebook or flickr if i am on the computer and i just have not kept up with urban spoon unless i happen to come across a place i love or a place i want to try. besides, i didn't know there was some unspoken "rule" about one time reviews. i mean, i thought the folks on there were just people like me - who like to eat and when travelling want to know where the locals go.
WRONG - OH!!!
so, imagine my shock yesterday evening when i discovered that not only was there a huge amount of negative feedback for my friend's restaurant, but that most of it was, again, from users who "thought" that he was actually posting fake reviews - AND to top it off, another user actually ACCUSED ME of being a fake poster - AAAAANNNND my review of his restaurant ( along with mr. b's as well ) had been marked as "SHILL".
i mean, come on people? what grade is this? thought i had gotten out of junior high (relatively) unscathed.
so, i fire off a little email to urbanspoon this morning, asking them what is going on and here is the response i got:
Here at Urbanspoon we have a thriving community of Prime users, and we've recently given them the ability to mark reviews as shills. This improves the quality of content on Urbanspoon by prioritizing reviews from active community members. We have no editorial control over who the crowd judges to be a shill.
well, howdeedoo!!! i guess you have to be some kinda serious foodie to become a Prime user at urbanspoon. damn. i guess little folks like me just don't count. but, i CANNOT find ANYWHERE on that site how in the high holy hell you become a prime member. i mean, i have a goal here people! how do I - little ole me, little ole yellow flower - become PAH-RYME?!
i have to confess, i am totally obsessed with figuring out how this happened and if i can do anything about it. i DO NOT like to be called a liar. i mean, come on folks, is it really that serious of an issue ( i know, i know, i am making it one myself by obsessing over it ) but there is a huge difference between genuinely liking or not liking a restaurant and calling someone a liar without even bothering to gather any evidence.
if you go onto urbanspoon, i have a little profile and a picture of my beadwork. all a person ( with half a brain ) has to do is google yellow flower. and my profile clearly states who i am and what i do. not hard.
but, i guess it's better to assume and accuse than to actually do any research...
ok. off the high horse for the time being.
anyway... just something on my mind today so i thought i would share.
oh, and chowhound, here we come. hopefully you will host a nicer site. we shall see....