Messages encouraging reviewers on Yelp

On the last day of 2017, I decided to leave a Yelp review for a recently visited restaurant in DC to stay true to my intention to share information with my local community. I went on Yelp, started typing the review and noticed several messages popping up for a second, encouraging me to write more. These delightful, witty messages were a surprise to me.

Since I always finish my Yelp reviews (and Medium posts), I don’t think these messages impacted my behavior in some noticeable, quantifiable way. They did manage to surprise, please, and delight me — all of what well-designed products aim to do for their users.

I did a quick search online and wasn’t able to find any history of this new feature or online experiment run by Yelp. So, I decided to replicate these messages for you and show them here on Medium.

First message appears right when you start typing the first line of your review. It reads ‘Your fingers are more dextrous than that — tell us more!’. What a nice way to acknowledge the fact that I started writing a review and encourage me to write more! Kudos to Yelp writers behind the message!

The first message I received on Yelp, right after typing the first line of my review

Second message appears after the fourth line of my review below. It reads ‘Keep those fingers rolling, you wizard of words’. Isn’t it delightful? The messages are so fleeting that I had a choice of either editing my writing in the review below or taking a screenshot. I chose the latter — my apologies for some typos in the Yelp review itself.

The second message I received while writing a Yelp review.

Third message appears deeper in the review and says ‘This review has made the Yelposphere a better place. We salute you’. Even though this whimsical message may be generic, Yelp is showing that they are valuing me as a contributor — I crack a smile at Yelp revealing its playful side!

I just made the Yelposphere a better place!

As an experiment, I tried getting some of these messages of encouragement by writing something unrelated to a restaurant I’m reviewing.It doesn’t seem that there is a well-trained AI-algorithm behind these messages that matches the place you are reviewing with what you are writing and gives you a relevant encouragement. Here is an example:

I got an encouragement for creating an opportunity to take a screenshot for Medium.

As you can see in the review above, I started it as a review of a restaurant, but then typed in any random sentences that came to my mind. In this case, I wanted to get a message from Yelp, so I can take a screenshot for my Medium post. Although my review has nothing to do with the restaurant I’m writing it for, I still get an encouragement.

UNKNOWNS

There are still a couple of unknowns for me in this new feature on Yelp.

  1. What’s the mechanism for making these encouragements appear? Do they appear in a particular part of the narrative, such as at the beginning or the end?
  2. Is there an AI algorithm behind these messages and do they actually depend on what you are writing? I tried writing paragraphs completely unrelated to my gastronomical experience at ching ching CHA and still managed to get a message of encouragement.
  3. How many messages are there? I was able to get only three messages. Are there more? What are these secret words that I have to use to receive them?

If you are a reviewer on Yelp, and have seen more of these writing encouragements, please share them with me in the comments below. Happy writing in the new year!

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