Nothing to see here

02Jan09

When I use a local business review site like Yelp, I’m looking for reviews. If a particular business doesn’t have any reviews posted, they’ll typically show a basic “stub” listing with the same info you might find in the yellow pages. This can be helpful if you want to look up a phone number or address, but does nothing for the more common task of choosing a highly-regarded restaurant, doctor, or retailer.

If you’re searching a category that has yet to attract many reviews, the plethora of stub entries can be frustrating. So I propose that review-driven sites provide an option to hide any entries that don’t have a review yet. This could either be an account-wide preference, or just a checkbox you can select before or after performing a search. By eliminating the undesired results, users would get to their goal faster.

Sure, you could probably do the same thing today with a less-obvious option, like setting the minimum star rating to 1 star or above. But that doesn’t mean anybody is using it. Chances are they just get frustrated and leave, rather than inventing new ways of using the tools. By making the desired filter more intuitive, the percentage of users who actually come away with the peer-approved business they’re looking for should rise considerably.



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