Quora Answers

Whatever way you go, don’t forget the ALT tag if you are focusing on SEO:

<img src=”Red-rose.jpg” ALT=”Red Rose”>

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on May 30, 2012

First, why we need review-filters? So that people like the PHB from Dilbert can’t execute their evil strategies

About the mechanics of the Yelp review filter: You won’t get a formal answer here, as Yelp keeps this review filter mechanism a secret. Yelp says (and I agree) that it is easier to game the system once you know the mechanics. So any answer here would be simply a guess based on a combination of common sense and an analysis of the patterns of what reviews usually get filtered.

Here is my guess at what goes into the review-filter. (Everything is centered around Yelp’s tagline: “Real people, real reviews”):

  • Number of reviews: You don’t even have a Yelp account. Then, suddenly, you create a Yelp account, write a 1* review for a local business and then, you never log in back. In eyes of the review-filter, you may be a scared competitor! (or if this is a 5* review, you maybe the owner’s nephew!) From whatever I have observed, perhaps more than 80% of filtered reviews are from reviewers with less than 5 reviews.
  • Number of friends: Most real people like to make friends on different social media channels, Yelp included. If you don’t want your Facebook friends to see what you are writing, Yelp-filter may put you in category of review-factories, who churn out one review after another for money. This may even override the number of reviews. At least twice, I have seen a filtered review by people with 50+ Yelp reviews. In both cases, the reviewer had no Yelp friends.
  • Uniqueness of content: Real people write reviews reflecting their real experiences. If your review for a Vietnamese restaurant in Atlanta matches another reviewer’s review of Thai restaurant in NYC word for word (or even 70-80%, allowing for changing some proper nouns), chances are high that at least the review published later chronologically would be filtered (if not both).
  • Other trustworthiness factors: Do you have a profile pic? Do you check-in using Yelp mobile or leave tips for other Yelpers at restaurants? Is your profile complete with all the details about your hometown, Things you love, etc? Paid reviewers may not be interested in “wasting” their time in these.
  • Location tracking: You are consistently reviewing businesses all over the US, but your IP shows that you always log in from a different country. In a different case, you, as a reviewer, log in from the same IP that is used by the business owner to log in to his business-owner account, or same IP has 25+ users registered, and all of them have just 1-2 reviews. In all these cases, your review may be flagged.

Remember that none of the above factors can be taken as a standalone factor to decide whether a review should be flagged. Your review may be totally genuine, even if one or more factors above indicate otherwise. My guess is that the filter may be working using a filter-score (similar to spam score used by Anti-spam filters) assigning scores to the factors above (and many more). Once your review crosses a certain threshold, it gets filtered!

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Okay, these are so many questions combined into one.. I will focus mostly on Yelp-sorting algorithm, or rather, my understanding of their algorithm, as the actual algorithm is not publicly disclosed.

You do have an option of sorting by number of votes, but I like their algorithm better. They call it “Yelp Sort”. Think of it what are the factors that you would factor in, when deciding which review to believe in:

  • Reviews written by friends: You are more likely to believe your friends as compared to random strangers.
  • Reviews written by trusted Yelpers: Whose review would you trust more: A Yelp Elite with 254 reviews or somebody whose only review is for the business that you are viewing.
  • Recency: A business may have learned its lessons from negative Yelp reviews, and now the reviews are all 5* and 4*. Won’t it make more sense to give more weight to recent reviews?
  • Higher number of Votes: Of course, as you mentioned, votes may help in crowdsourcing the decision of deciding which reviews matter most. 

From what I have observed, Yelp-Sort incorporates at least these four in ordering the reviews. I believe that the highest weight is for reviews by your Yelp friends, which makes sense! So, if  one of your Yelp friend has reviewed a business, his/her review will likely be on  the top. Recency also appears to be heavily weighed!

Yelp Competitors: Urbanspoon comes to my mind, but even they do it on “Relevance” however you may want to define it.

Finally, while I love both Yelp and Quora, but I am sure Quora can not be a good substitute for Yelp. Yes, you can expect to get answers to questions like the ones you included as examples, but if it’s already noon, you are feeling like having Thai for Lunch, and you need to choose between the 12 Thai locations within 5 mile radius, it may not be a smart idea to post the question on Quora. If you are like me, you’d likely turn to Yelp in cases like these!

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Here is one of country’s finest violinists Joshua Bell playing for free at Washington DC two days after his show sold out at $100/seat in the same city. See what happens:
Over 1000 people passed by, but just 7 stopped by to appreciate the music, and just one recognized him! Joshua Bell was doing exactly what makes him “Joshua Bell”. But without the name “Joshua Bell”, he was just an ordinary street performer. He didn’t get any real world “followers”!!  Thinking of some celebrities, Lady Gaga doesn’t sing on Twitter, Shaquille O’Neal certainly does not play basketball on Twitter, and Julia Roberts doesn’t act on Twitter.But still, each of them is a Twitter-celebrity too! In fact, Julia Roberts doesn’t even tweet on Twitter!! With 0 tweets, she has 300,000 + fans on Twitter!

My point here? Celebrities reach their celebrity status with a lot of
hard work, talent, and some luck, but once they attain that status,
people follow them mostly for their name, not necessarily for what they are
known for. Sometimes, it’s the desire to peek into celebrities’ life; sometimes, it’s the illusion of being connected to a superstar. But, in the end, it’s closely tied to their identity as a celebrity. Thus, to answer your question, most celebrities would drastically lose followers if their identities were hidden.

1) Please note I said “most celebrities”. There are definitely some celebrities and semi-celebrities, especially from literature and journalism fields, who do tweet good content, and they may continue to have decent following even if they consider writing under a pseudonym.
2) If you are interested in the Joshua Bell experiment, you can read full story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp…

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on March 12, 2012

Here are two survey apps for iPads that I found good:

Surveypocket: This is just for taking surveys on mobile-devices. It doesn’t have a survey-software of its own, but can be synced to one of two survey tools Survey Analytics/Question Pro. After the survey is completed, you can go to your Question-pro or Survey Analytics account to see the results. Survey Analytics is a sophisticated tool, but at least for our need, we didn’t need any advanced features. A simple visual dashboard is what we really needed, but we missed that here. (Dashboard is available, but has limited functionality)

iSurvey: Similar functionality, but I like this one more. Allows creating surveys from the web-version (https://www.isurveysoft.com/). While creating the survey, you can see how the survey would look on your iPad/iPhone in a device mockup against each question. Later, you can assign specific surveys to specific devices that can be used to take the responses. After the survey is complete, you can come back to the web-version to see the results. The dashboard is neat and allows customization with results for selective questions to be included.
    The functionality of iSurvey cannot be compared to traditional survey tools like Surveymonkey, Vovici or Qualtrics (my favorite). So you may miss features like skip-logic or advanced validation. But if you have a simple survey, specifically one that needs to be run in a kiosk mode, this should work.

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on March 5, 2012

Amit BhatnagarYou can try Indiblogger. They allow you to track bloggers by topic.. For example: here is a list of blogs tagged technology: http://www.indiblogger.in/tagsea…You may try more tags like apps, marketing etc to get more of these.. Another…

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on March 2, 2012

Download all your tweets here:

After that, it won’t be difficult to find your Nth tweet

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I would consider accepting the request, and there is one very important reason for that: LinkedIn is not just about your first level connections, it’s about the power of your network. And in my opinion, it’s your second level connections that actually drive this network.

It’s not just about who you know, it’s also about who your contacts know. To make this clearer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If the recruiter for your dream-job or the perfect candidate for the job that you are hiring for is a second level connection through this “ghost”, would you consider reaching out to him?
  • You had a common social circle. If a good old friend from that circle discovers you through this person, would you consider connecting with the “ghost” worth it?
  • Thinking from the reverse side: If some time later this person is looking for a job and you are in a position to help (either directly or by  making a connection), would you consider helping him out?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes”, then do consider connecting. If things are really bad between two of you, then, by all means, ignore the invite. But the fact that you posted this question here instead of directly ignoring the invite, indicates that things may not be that bad.

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on February 29, 2012

I looked this up recently and was surprised to see that the first of these was posted just few days ago.. (I was expecting this to be at least a few months old)

As per knowYourMeme,

the original instance of the series was uploaded by artist Garnet Hertz via his Facebook page on February 2nd, 2012.

Source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/wh…

I guess some of the reasons this became an internet rage:

  • Realistic and Humorous (Most of the times): Focuses on mundane realities of life (most jobs are not as shiny as they seem to be). while allowing  you to laugh at others and self: Self-deprecating humor is usually popular.
  • Virality factor: Most people can either relate directly to the post. In other cases, after seeing one of these posts, people think of how this would fit in their jobs. In first case, people would share; in latter, they may go ahead and design one that describes their job (See next point). In both cases, their action contributes to virality.
  • Easy to design: Unlike some other internet memes, you don’t have to spend too much time drawing images or shooting videos. This even doesn’t require too much thinking. Most of the time, you just have to do a think a bit about your job, and then do a quick Google image search for images that would fill the standard placeholders.

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on February 28, 2012

You don’t need any API or a third party tool for this. All you need to
do is to go to this official Twitter account: “Verified” and see its
“Following” list. This account follows only Verified users.

A minor catch here (though it may not matter for any practical purposes): Since a twitter account can’t be it’s own follower and the “Verified” account is a verified one, you will need to add one to the number of accounts “Verified” follows to get the actual number of verified accounts. 

As of today (Feb 28, 2012), “Verified” follows 18,589 accounts, so there are 18590 verified users.

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