In other words, business as usual

Yelp have outdone themselves.

I always relish the opportunity to roast Yelp and its spray-tanned-just-short-of-minstrelsy CEO, but they are making this too easy. I did a Google search for “worst restaurants in Seattle” and, unsurprisingly, Yelp had wormed their way to the top of those results.

While I had been hoping to find an actual curated article by professional food critics, rather than the algorithmic sound of one million shrieking Karens, I couldn’t avoid looking at the trainwreck. This is what I saw:

Imagine paying for an online ad only to discover that your ad appears on a list of “worst restaurants in Seattle”, and there is only minimal indication that it is a paid ad rather than an organic result? That is how a Jeremy Stoppelman do.

While I certainly don’t object to the classification of Applebee’s as “the worst”, there aren’t even any Applebee’s in Seattle, so Yelp still got it wrong. But at least Applebee’s probably won’t lose any business over this, given their demographic’s use of technology is probably limited to Farmville. But how about the other place? I almost considered blocking their name out, but I instead consider this an object lesson in why you don’t give money to the internet’s answer to Cosa Nostra.

Just how bad is this?

Yelp should be very embarrassed over this. You can tell by the low ratings of Fountains Cafe and Mountain Room Bar that Yelp is displaying results based on a reverse order of ratings and not just automatically querying for the string “worst restaurants”. This means that someone manually programmed this screen. And that means that someone who was in charge of the user experience of this screen failed to mention that ads should be removed. Or, maybe, just maybe, Yelp is so overrun by avaricious douchenozzles that they would risk this kind of embarrassment to maximize ad coverage.

This embarrassment was totally preventable. It requires that you thoroughly go through your product’s user experience, space by space, function by function, to ensure that every contingency is planned for. Outside of Yelp, this kind of blunder is likely to happen at a company that does not create quality product documentation.

For those who are inclined to say something silly like “the code is the documentation”, I ask you this: do you have software that renders your code into proper documentation that can be easily audited for consistency and quality? Or are your staff expected to manually go through every corner of the product looking for issues? If it’s the latter, please find a new career. I bet Applebee’s is hiring.

Check out my latest project

I’m not back to Medium full time. Those days are over. Instead of writing blog articles that will just be buried by a crappy algorithm, I have been building a new learning tool. It’s a web app that teaches you to read foreign alphabets like Korean. It is fast and painless, unlike the dumb memorization methods that other sites use. It’s called Alphaliterate. It’s totally free and I am working on adding new alphabets like Arabic, Japanese, and Thai.

Welcome to Alphaliterate

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You know you’re gonna have another accident? You know I’m involved with black magic?