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Thread: NY Times Article On Professional Shilling On Internet Review Boards

  1. #1
    Veteran of Misadventures
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    NY Times Article On Professional Shilling On Internet Review Boards

    This article focuses on shilling on review boards for hotels, restaurants, and books, but the same theories and solutions can be applied to escort review boards. The Mods may want to look at the algorithm for detecting fake reviewers that is discussed in this article, which has been developed by Cornell researchers:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/te...ws-online.html
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 09-05-2011 at 04:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Excellent contribution EB.
    LISA'S FRIEND

  3. #3
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    I think there may also be shills for strip clubs. One club comes to mind but i won't name, names

  4. #4
    That article does not really apply to sites such as this which are frequented by the same members on a regular basis and where the reviewers, for the most part, are not people who drop in, post a review and leave.

    Mr. Jones, if you intend to carry your childish little feud to other threads, and make false shill accusations, it will be my pleasure to ban you so that you no longer have to concern yourself with such things.

    Mod 8

  5. #5
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    Mod 8,

    I think Yelp has a poster history just like MERB does. I read many Yelp reviews and I find the Yelp review process very similar to MERB. What is annoying is that some of the negative reviews are actually non-reviews. For example, I saw a review on a NYC restaurant in which the reviewer, not many posts as I recall, did a review on a Korean restaurant in which she basically just set forth a conspiracy theory. In particular, she claimed there was a hair in her food, she sent the dish back and then the same dish was allegedly "re-arranged" by the kitchen staff and brought back to her, minus the hair. Nowhere did she actually mention the quality or preparation of the food or lack thereof, or the customer service she got. It was just conspiracy theory, unsupported by any facts other than her claim that there was a hair in her food. She also speculated that it was rodent hair rather than human hair. While conducting no forensic tests on it, I might add.

    Similarly on MERB I sometime see these negative "non-review" reviews. I don't know much about the algorithm they use but it could possibly be helpful, if applied to an Escort Review board.

    I also want to note that I only posted the article to get everyone thinking about being suspicious about certain reviews on all Internet review boards, because there is some financial incentive to do this or at least there is that perception. I am not asking anyone to necessarily apply the program to this board, regardless of whether it is or is not applicable.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 09-05-2011 at 06:54 PM.

  6. #6
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    I suppose the Mods here already look for the same kind of clues to spot false reviews. Programs can just do it faster and on a much larger scale.
    “Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love.”

  7. #7
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    One thing the article did mention was how hotels would give discounts or people offering reviews for a $5 fee. That could certainly apply to this board, it's no different than a escort service asking you not to post a negative review and they end up giving you a discount or a credit for a future sp. There is really no program that can determine that. The mods do a pretty good job on this board, but there's really no way to manage the non reviews or not so true reviews. I'm not going to give any examples, but I've met more than one sp that was lousy but had wonderful reviews and I couldn't imagine me being so far off base than everyone else.

    Great article EB.

  8. #8
    Hello EB,

    One of the main differences between a review board such as MERB and product, restaurant and hotel review boards, is that most of the SPs being reviewed are also members of MERB, or the agency they work for is, and are able to confirm or deny whether a meeting took place. They are also able to reply in certain cases and are able to contact a moderator when a problem arises and there is doubt regarding the accuracy of a review. Making shill accusations on the board will only result in the accuser being suspended. Any questionable reviews or posts should be brought to a moderator's attention by PM and we will investigate it.

    Mod 8

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mod 8 View Post
    Mr. Jones, if you intend to carry your childish little feud to other threads, and make false shill accusations, it will be my pleasure to ban you so that you no longer have to concern yourself with such things.
    Relax! He was only making a joke & you know it!

    Aren't you supposed to be off today? What the hell, working on Labor Day?

  10. #10
    Kansas Frank
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    My impression of MERB is that the majority of the posters are highly educated, intelligent and well-heeled. Any "shill" reviews are likely to be exposed quickly by a true hobbyist. Since YMMV with any encounter, because human beings are not clones (not yet, anyway), authentic reviews will vary in their "positiveness." Review rankings will vary with the experience of the hobbyist as well. Also, what I might rank as a 9 in overall satisfaction with a particular SP, a hobbyist who lives in Montreal may rank as a 7 or 8. (Me being a novice hobbyist from States, where selling or buying sex services is illegal, is like a kid in a candy store when I'm in Montreal, where beautiful girls over the age of 18 offer GFE services.)

    I get on Yelp too but approach the reviews with a healthy dose of skepticism. Yelp and other similar organizations are posturing themselves for IPO's. I doubt MERB has those aspirations; in any event, it's business model discorages "shilling," IMHO.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mod 8 View Post
    Hello EB,

    One of the main differences between a review board such as MERB and product, restaurant and hotel review boards, is that most of the SPs being reviewed are also members of MERB, or the agency they work for is, and are able to confirm or deny whether a meeting took place. They are also able to reply in certain cases and are able to contact a moderator when a problem arises and there is doubt regarding the accuracy of a review. Making shill accusations on the board will only result in the accuser being suspended. Any questionable reviews or posts should be brought to a moderator's attention by PM and we will investigate it.

    Mod 8
    It's true that MERB is more interactive as between users and providers than Yelp is. I recall a review on Yelp of a Tapas restaurant in which a customer of the restaurant claimed to have overheard a loud argument between another customer and the owner of the restaurant, in which the customer allegedly accused the owner of stealing a laptop computer from him. On MERB it is likely that if an owner of an escort agency was accused of stealing something from a customer, he could quickly offer up a denial or rebuttal, and even if he was not a supporting member the Mods would probably allow it.

    However, I should note that individual agency escorts are not allowed similar latitude by MERB. Thus they would have the same standing to rebut or deny as would the waitress who is criticized on Yelp for rudeness, stupidity or inattentiveness. Please recall the Kaii/NJ Dude affair, and the policy that was enacted thereafter regarding agency escorts.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 09-05-2011 at 07:13 PM.

  12. #12
    Hello Doc,

    Another big problem is that some senior members of MERB seem to believe they are above the rules and should be allowed free reign to post whatever they wish and take whatever thread they wish off topic, as you are doing with your post above. as for creating new threads to continue off topic discussions, that is highly recommended. But if someone believes that those new threads are not subject to the same rules as every other thread, they are mistaken. If they break the rules, they will be suspended.

    As for having a sense of humor, when moderator warnings are repeatedly ignored our sense of humor wears very thin. We do not post warnings in threads just because we need typing practice. They are posted for a reason.

    If you wish to discuss the way MERB is moderated, please feel free to start a thread about it.

    Mod 8

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mod 8 View Post
    . Making shill accusations on the board will only result in the accuser being suspended. Any questionable reviews or posts should be brought to a moderator's attention by PM and we will investigate it.
    Which is a stupid rule, if you ask me. It's like if you have the nerve to call Crime Stoppers & report a suspected crime, you're the one who'll be fined or locked up in jail. I would agree that a warning (if the accusations are proven wrong) might be in order.....but a suspension? Come on!

  14. #14
    Hello EB,

    Individual agency SPs are not permitted to reply in review threads. They work for an agency and it is the agency's responsibility to represent their employees. It has also been our experience that most agencies do not want their girls to post on MERB. If we permitted a reply to every negative review we would also have to permit replies to every positive review and this would never end. Every review thread would turn into a war zone or a love in or both.

    M8

    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver View Post
    However, I should note that individual agency escorts are not allowed similar latitude by MERB. Thus they would have the same standing to rebut or deny as would the waitress who is criticized on Yelp for rudeness, stupidity or inattentiveness. Please recall the Kaii/NJ Dude affair, and the policy that was enacted thereafter regarding agency escorts.

  15. #15
    Hello Doc,

    I always reply to every PM sent to me as well as emails sent to me, as does Mod 11. Calling Crime Stoppers is the equivalent of contacting a moderator. Try to make a public accusation of a crime against someone without proof and see what it leads to. It takes no more time to PM a moderator than it does to make a public accusation.

    M8

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Holliday View Post
    Which is a stupid rule, if you ask me. It's like if you have the nerve to call Crime Stoppers & report a suspected crime, you're the one who'll be fined or locked up in jail. I would agree that a warning (if the accusations are proven wrong) might be in order.....but a suspension? Come on!

    I know of a few people who've contacted a moderator privately (via PM) and never got an answer to the potential problem reported. At least an aknowledgement or an answer to his claims or worries would have been the right thing to do. What good is it to report a potential problem to a moderator when chances are, you will not even be advised if your queries or claims were right? It gives the impression that your queries or message were brushed off & simply swept under the carpet.

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