April 2016 Archives

Well, now I'm sad...

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A few friends pointed me to a conversation on Yelp that apparently asks about my departure, and wow - I'm not sure how my original message was so misunderstood or misinterpreted, but... let me try to clarify a few things.

+ I have no gripes, qualms, or complaints with any Yelp members, aside from a few trolls that popped-up over the course of the years and only wrote snarky, hurtful, and mean things in Talk topics and/or in reviews (anyone remember "Joke R."?).

+ Again: zero issues or concerns with any Yelp members, Elite or otherwise. I really value and appreciate everyone who uses Yelp and makes it the asset it is.

+ Please re-read the first two items above.

I truly enjoy(ed) interacting with, meeting, and befriending dozens and dozens of people from Yelp. I have some really excellent friends as a result of Yelp. To anyone who thinks I have any "superiority complex," I don't, and frankly, I'm confused as to why it would seem/feel/appear that way. :-(


Why I left Yelp?

- I burned out. I was *extremely* active on Yelp for 7+ years. It just got to feeling "job-like" to me.

- The events started to swing toward activities and venues that didn't interest me. I *really* enjoyed going to nicer places (that I normally wouldn't/couldn't go to) and "living it up" a bit while meeting and mingling with Yelp folks and proprietors. There was nothing wrong with any of the current events; they just weren't my style. I'd rather enjoy chit-chat over a fine cocktail and a divine meal than do some of the recent events.

- Yelp HQ gave me the impression of not caring one bit about any feedback or specific issues that were shared with them. From the mobile app having issues, to trolls making rude comments... the responses were few and far between and less than gratifying.

- It really did become time for me to fly (to quote REO Speedwagon). The nature of online communities is regular evolution. I think about bunches of folks who used to be really active on Yelp but have moved on; I'm in that group.


So again: It was time for me to move on. No hard feelings, no issues, no dislike, no resentment, nothing. I enjoyed my time on Yelp, I enjoyed everyone's reviews, photos, comments, messages and contributions. :-) Again, thank you to everyone for your kind words and concerns. Everything is good here. :-) We'll be in touch soon!

Here's the link to the talk topic: Yelp Talk Madison

Closing a chapter

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After 7+ years as a member of Yelp, I closed my account this week. Over the course of those seven years, I visited and reviewed more than 1,000 businesses, shared 800+ photos, made dozens of friends, and went to countless events around the city.

Yelp.png

I was an Elite member of Yelp for five years, which was pretty fun for a while. We had an outstanding community manager who hosted over-the-top events for not only the Elite members, but the general members as well. I'll probably never forget the insanely decadent dinner at Heritage Tavern or the Chef's table meal at Cento events. I wound-up befriending our community manager and have really enjoyed that friendship. He recently moved-on to a new position with Yelp and now works in Chicago (and travels a lot).

Yelp has changed a lot over the years. Some for the good, some for the not-so-good.

They added some neat statistical information, as you can see from the photo above. It blows me away that my reviews have been viewed 266,000 times over the past 90-days. That's just inconceivable to me.

Unfortunately, they seemed to have become so focused on "growing" the community that they've diluted many of the great things. It used to be that you really had to work hard to be recognized as an Elite member. Now, it seems as though anyone who asks for it can become an Elite member. I've seen people with 2-3 months experience on Yelp become Elite (and with only a handful of reviews, friends, or contributions). I don't understand it.

With the growth, there have been a number of trolls and/or mean folks that have joined and have tried to disrupt Yelp. A few particular users really made a mess of things, and I tried my best to investigate and report details to Yelp, with the interest of stopping the malicious behavior. Yelp's response was a non-response. They didn't say a peep, and they did nothing. That's super frustrating, especially as a person who's proud to live in Madison and loves so much about this wonderful city. It seemed to me that Yelp could've cared less.

The events have gone from elaborate to pedestrian. From roast suckling pig with macerated berries, root vegetable puree, and exclusive hand-made cocktails, to cold-cuts, veggie trays, and boxed wine. The nature of the events also shifted in a direction that stopped interesting me; less mixer/mingle and more "sit and watch."

I also burned-out and started to feel jaded about many businesses. Rather than enjoy the experience, I felt like I was taking notes for an exam. It felt more like a job than a benefit or service.

Finally, Yelp's technical directives seem to be quite poor. They are placing a huge emphasis on their mobile app, but the mobile app is sorely lacking in functionality. Why force us to use an application that only does about 1/3 what the "full" site does? It's ridiculous.

And so, I bid Yelp farewell. It was a great experience, but it was time to move on.

Update: when I asked Yelp to close my account, I had to jump through a few hoops to have it closed, including provide feedback to them under the guise that they were interested to see if there was anything they could to to help. I gave them a super detailed list of concerns and gripes. They responded with, "We hate to see you go but thanks for your contributions." (That was literally it... nothing more, nothing less.) You're welcome, Yelp.

And to those who have contacted me via e-mail and text - thank you for the notes and your interest in what happened. I really did burn out and just became too frustrated to stay active on Yelp. Alas, I have this blog (it's been around for 12 years now), and I'll use it to share review, thoughts, and general life impressions/feelings.

Thank you, all. :-)

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