These days it is very easy to review anything from restaurants to airlines; from doctors to vacuum cleaners. Some platforms, like Airbnb and Uber, require users to review stays/rides as part of helping complete the feedback loop to deliver better quality services.
We have come to rely on reviews to inform us on where to go and what to buy: but what if that information is false?
I really like coffee. Coffee is quite a subjective topic and people can be very opinionated about what is good and what’s not. Despite this, I use Beanhunter to find good cafes, especially if I am on holiday or in an area that I’m not familiar with. I also review cafes on the platform as it is a subject I am both passionate about and opinionated on.
Beanhunter caters specifically for coffee lovers, so the reviews are more centred on the coffee rather than other aspects of cafes, like the food. As such, this niche platform tends to give a better indication as to the quality of the coffee available than a more general platform like Google would give.
In Beanhunter, a high-scoring cafe in one area may not be equivalent to a cafe with the same score in another area, such as Melbourne, where I live. Still, a high-scoring cafe should be one of the best cafes in the area, right?
Gaming the System
These days everyone is trying to attract business, whether through being the top hit in Google searches, or painting a positive picture of their holiday rental property.
Like many platforms, Beanhunter does not allow business owners to delete reviews (although inappropriate comments/reviews can be removed via the support channel). But there are other ways in which unscrupulous cafes could impact their ratings.
This is the world of the one-review reviewer.
The One-Review Reviewer
By registering lots of new users who each do one review and give the cafe a fantastic rating, it is possible to impact the overall standing of the cafe. Unless the cafe has more than a hundred reviews, it can only take 10 or so one-review reviewers to impact the overall standing.
Because of this, when reading reviews I now tend to discount those where the reviewer only has one review.
I have written to the people behind Beanhunter to see if they are interested in including a feature of being able to exclude reviews where the reviewer has only one review (similar to the filter that hides cafes with less then 0, 5, 10 or 25 reviews).
Let’s see what they come back with…
[Update 6th April 2019] I received a very positive response from the team at Beanhunter to my app suggestion for a filter to exclude one-review reviews. I look forward to seeing the filter in a future version of the app.
You are right it is a bit hard stopping “the one-review reviewers” but that filter is a great idea. I have noted this down as a suggestion so the rest of the team can take a look at the idea.