I wrote one of my occasional reviews for Tripadvisor yesterday. It followed a rather disappointing meal at our local Miller & Carter Steakhouse Restaurant. The car park’s always packed there and people speak highly of it so we thought we’d give it a try.
A not cheap sharing platter distinctly lacking in the promised hummus and halloumi followed by a very fatty mint and garlic lamb rump led to a few lines of prose and just the one-star.
My reviews – I’ve done about 25 now – rarely result in anything other than one or five-stars, the occasional four but what is the point of two or three-stars? I do them partly to praise, partly to vent, partly to help others and partly in the hope it may affect change. They also act as useful reminders of places to return to or avoid in future.
I don’t really need the rather patronising badges Tripadvisor send through when I’ve reached some random milestone. I am currently being urged to go for my TripCollective Restaurant Expert Badge Level 7. As far as I can deduce you don’t get anything for this like money, just a load more emails from Tripadvisor.
Where would we be though without reviews and people like me who write them. It seems there is now no area of human life that cannot be reviewed. Reviews of restaurants, hotels, films, plays, concerts I very much get. Nowadays though you can review virtually every product or service via eBay, Amazon, Checkatrade, Trustpilot and more.
They are particularly useful, I find, when you read them before buying or booking, something I occasionally forget to do and regret. We’ve also learned to look out for fake reviews and to expect that even the very best places, products or performances will get the occasional one-star ‘terrible’.
Google has taken reviews to a whole new level. As far as they are concerned virtually anything you search for can be reviewed including I recently discovered rivers.
Did you know our beloved Thames currently has 1,910 reviews and a 4.4 rating. This puts it just behind another local river, the Avon with an average 4.5 rating from 556 reviewers. Rivers are rated all over the world, China’s Yangtze scores just 4.1, the Amazon 4.2, the Mississippi 4.3 and Russia’s Volga an impressive 4.7.
How can a body of water, in the case of the Volga, some 3,530 metres long get just one rating. Surely it must be great in some places and dreadful in others and then what criteria do your use? Anyway it’s fun to read about them and amazing that people spend the time describing them.
Having said that I can’t imagine reviews such as “epic”, “cool”, “wet” and “still rolling” will have any impact on a person’s travel plans though that I’ve just wasted 15 minutes reading them!
Right now I’m in the throes of recruiting someone to do some social media work for me using a website called peopleperhour. On here people and the work they do get reviewed which has a sinister side and makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable.
I just hope people use it more responsibly than those river reviews, one misunderstanding, one mistake could really mess up some freelancer’s career, mental health, their life even.