Be the 1%, contribute instead of just consume

 

(The photo is from a customer of my restaurant I Privé)

We all love to take advantage of user contributed reviews such as Yelp, Amazon, Airbnb.  They give us another trustworthy dimension to decide whether we want to go to a particular restaurant, buy that bluetooth headphone or rent that vacation apartment.

Based on owning a restaurant with over 3,000 guests who make reservations over the last year, possibly another 9,000 guest who walk into our restaurant and also looking at the 190+ Yelp reviews I Privé have received over the last year, I have a rough guess that only 1% of people contribute to the reviews we all value so much.   I have another theory that 20% of those 1% contribute 80% of the content, this has yet to be proven.  I’ll have to dig more into public data available elsewhere.

Why is the percentage of content contributors to consumer so low?

  1. In order to contribute to something like Yelp, you have to create an account, most people do not see the value to create the account.  Hence the first hurdle.  This does not apply to Amazon. See #2
  2. If you are on Amazon and buy a item you don’t really want others to know about, you may be worry about privacy issue if you write a review, so you would not bother.
  3. Let’s say you buy an item like a bluetooth headset like I like did, you don’t see the value of writing a review that already has 1,900 reviews, so you also do not contribute.
  4. Writing a review takes time, most people don’t want to take the time, it’s that simple.  It’s simply easier to consume and not write, almost like a writer’s block.  Hey these other reviewer are so funny, if I wanted to be as funny as them, I have to come up with something witty.  Maybe next time
  5. If I buy a bluetooth headset, and if I take time to write a review would it help another human being make more money to feed his family or pay his employee?  I think this is what review sites needs to do better.  Show consumers why a single review is helpful to the other humans receiving that review and also the humans reading the reviews.  If you love a restaurant, writing a negative review will help the owners improve or a great review will boost their believe they are doing the right thing.  If you write a review and 5,000 people read it, is that worth writing?

Until review sites can work on showing the value of your review, I encourage you to join the 1% and contribute a review today to your favorite restaurant, a great Airbnb, a loved gadget or a great book you bought.

(I contribute to Yelp here)

Tony Tam

Senior Principal Architect @ Splunk Founder of ImpactfulEngineer.org & SFBadminton.org