The Information Capture Problem – Why Most Review Sites Don’t Work For Me

On Tuesday, I wrote about how I wanna find new restaurants.  I know there are local review sites like Yelp that are out there but they just don’t seem to work for me.  I call this the information capture problem.

Let’s say you went out on some hot date to a restaurant you’d never been to before.  You and your date had a great time.  You get home.  Are you really thinking to yourself, “Oh I need to write a review of the restaurant i just visited.”  No, you’re not thinking that.

Another scenario… you have all of your friends over to watch a movie.  It was a pretty dull movie.  Is your first thought that you need to sign on to Netflix so that you can tell them what you thought of the movie?  No.  By the time I would remember,  I would have forgotten most of my really deep impressions.

Maybe another night I took a bottle of wine over to my friend’s house.  It was a great bottle of wine.  I was able to really pick out a lot of the interesting aspects of the wine.   Am I going to remember all of those thoughts and tasting notes so that I can enter them into Cork’d tonight?  Nope.

We fundamentally need to go about capturing information in a different way or at a different point in the process.

For the movie scenario, Netflix should do a deal with the people who make the set top boxes so that you could enter your movie ratings right on the screen.  There could be a buttons for 1 through 5 stars right on the remote.

Is possible for the user’s action itself to be the review that gets captured?  For example, when you bookmark something on, you’re saving a site so that you can remember it for later.  Bookmarking a web site is also an implicit sign of endorsement (positive or negative) and is data that I’m sure Yahoo uses for its search results rankings.

In conclusion, all of these review sites are great.  They are trying to solve a problem that needs to be solved.  There is too much stuff out there and I need to know what’s crap and what’s not.   It’s just that I don’t run around with my laptop attached to my hip so I can’t jump on your web site at the drop of a hat to tell you my deepest thoughts on a product when I want to.

Maybe mobile is the answer… more later.

5 thoughts on “The Information Capture Problem – Why Most Review Sites Don’t Work For Me”

  1. My favorite DC dining guide is here.

    I think your post points out that social networking sites may not work quite as well for restaurants, because people may only write about especially good or bad experiences. It may be hard to capture the (very large) middle. If we still want to know about that middle we may have to rely more on committed experts, as at the link above.

  2. It sounds as if the problem is getting the user to enter metadata. In order to encourage the user to take the time to add this extra piece of information you need to make it useful for the user.

    I.E. Netflix’s recommendation system. More people will be willing to rate if it helps them in some way.

  3. Twitter on Mobile (iPhone perhaps – I’m UK) might be a way sort of, but you’d have to put down your knife and fork, chop sticks, wipe fingers on trousers or something. Can’t eat and type and voice won’t work, eating is a social experience… Hmm. Interesting

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