Today we’ll explore another fascinating facet of GUNT (Grand Unification Negativity Theory) that offers supporting evidence that every human enterprise is gamed to the Nth degree.
At the Guru of Negativity I happen to love Yelp. (Their politics aside. That’s another story.) Surprised? Think about it. Start with the word “yelp” itself.
yelp: a short sharp cry, esp. of pain or alarm
Yep! The negativity is built right in. Don’t blame me. I’m not the one who named the service. It’s intended to be a place where you share your sharp cries of pain. Now that’s a blight idea!
The Yelp business model is simple. You criticize each other and we’ll make money off it. What could possibly go wrong?
Some merchants hate Yelp. Mainly the ones who get nasty reviews. I wonder if there’s a correlation. They lamely try to offer grass roots resistance, like, “Close your Yelp account and get a free dessert.” And I thought Don Quixote was crazy.
In Oregon, the Court of Appeals determined that owners could sue negative reviewers including a person who wrote of a wedding venue: “worst experience of my life!” Unless there’s something else to that story, I don’t see how that can suit can possibly stand up. It’s an opinion statement and people have the right to share their opinions, don’t they?
Meanwhile, don’t underestimate the public. They are just as nasty as the things they claim in their reviews. Review services like Yelp and TripAdvisor have given rise to a new class of creative genius. They make Lex Luthor look like small potatoes.
The system is supposed to be gamed like this:
- You have an allegedly bad experience
- You go home and Yelp about it
- The merchant reaches out and expresses false apologies
- The merchant offers a freebie of some sort (aka bribe)
- You update or retract your review
The result is a system of reviews that have absolutely no relation to the reality. I don’t know about you, but I love making decisions based on meaningless information.
The problems is, that for some people, that sort of process simply takes too long. Why not eliminate a few steps? It works like this: Walk into a place of business, state that you are a reviewer, and they better give you some goddamned free stuff or you’ll go back to your crib and slice them open with your scythe and write a scathing review. This is pretty much the exact opposite of bribe. It’s called blackmail.
If you’re starting to notice a trend with words like “bribe” and “blackmail” then you can begin to understand the nature of gaming human systems. Fuggedaboutit!
If you think that’s clever you have clearly misunderestimated humanity. In a similar move that’s simply sublime, you up the ante by reviewing a business without the experience. Yes, you’ve never actually been there. The point is to initiate the negotiation process and get the freebie up front. Without the actual bother of having to have been there.
The point is that every new system offers unique and exciting new ways for exploitation and gaming. It’s what humans do.
Does “Homo Sapiens” have an entry on Yelp yet? I’m in a giving-one-star kind of a mood.