Re "Take a critical look at Yelp," Column, April 20, and "Needing help with Yelp," Column, April 23
Yelp spokeswoman Kristen Whisenand "thinks it makes sense to give more credence to experienced reviewers; consumers have more confidence in those who are most prolific online."
Prolific Yelp reviewers certainly have experience in writing reviews, but Whisenand is mistaken that said experience equates with knowledgeable and discerning critiques. I for one am suspicious of reviewers who feel competent to comment on everything from knitting to diesel engine repair.
If Yelp's filters are meant to weed out suspect reviews, one wonders why Whisenand's self-serving review of Yelp was itself not filtered out.
The major problem with negative restaurant reviews on Yelp is that they're written based on one-time experiences. A professional restaurant critic dines at a restaurant several times before writing a review. Furthermore, some negative critiques on Yelp are written in such a sophomoric fashion that it is difficult to take them seriously.
If a food item is accented with garlic, the eatery doesn't deserve a one-star rating based on a customer's distaste for that plant. Conversely, if a patron enjoys a fabulous one-time dining experience, a hasty five-star rating would be undeserved as well.
As the Latin saying goes, de gustibus non est desputandum — in matters of taste, there are no disputes.
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