Yet Another Reason to Hate CitySearch

February 12, 2008

Brewcaster over at Metroblogging Portland posted something about suckage at Los Baez Mexican restaurant, which is not far from my house, even so far as to give it a rating of EPIC FAIL.

I would argue, however, that the even bigger suckulus is Citysearch itself, to which the article linked. Look at this. Apparently Citysearch is unable to perform basic math and find the average of ratings. I could swear my friend Todd stumbled upon this before [Updated: it was my friend Kes*], but I can’t find it on his blog right now. I just find it kind of staggering. The correct “answer” is about 3.23 stars.

Citysearch FAIL
By the way, I hate Citysearch with that special disdain normally reserved for things like Microsoft and mislaid dog poo.

* So, sorry about the whole plagiarism thing, Kes.


  1. I’ve noticed the same thing over the years. I’ve even noticed that most businesses start out with 5 stars…’s like, how do they know!

    Also, would anyone be surprised if it were the paying customers of citysearch that magically have this “new math” going on?????

  2. Jeremy says:

    So, gun to your head: Who do you marry?

    Citysearch or Pier One?

  3. tODD says:

    To be fair (not that Citysearch deserves it — there is no love lost between us), the rating at the top is unlabeled, while the rating histogram at the bottom might be affiliated with the text “What Users are Saying”.

    Since Citysearch also has editorial reviews, I’d have to guess that there’s a (secret) editorial rating for the restaurant. Now, the editorial description for the restaurant is rather perfunctory, so perhaps an editor hasn’t actually visited the place. Given Citysearch’s need to not tick off the businesses it reviews and relies on for money (hello, conflict of interest), I’d bet that the default editorial rating is five stars. (This would also explain the rating of new businesses.)

    Which, if you do the math, means that reader reviews are probably worth 1/3 of the overall rating, and the editorial reviews 2/3. To be fair, I’m not sure how I’d deal with a flood of haters unfairly trying to take down a restaurant, so maybe that’s fair. But in this case, the overall rating is goofy.

  4. Sasha says:

    To be fair, very few unweighted rating systems are fair. Haven’t you learned anything from WoW?

  5. ssm says:

    Who uses citysearch– put your reviews on yelp. There’s a rating details link on each business page that shows the breakdown of ratings.

  6. tODD says:

    Unfortunately, Yelp’s 4-star rating for Los Baez really doesn’t say much in its defense as a restaurant-finding tool. But it is open, at least.

  7. Brett says:

    Aww sad. Los Biez is from Salem, OR originally. Granted, it is in no way ‘authentic’, but they make good greasy platters of spanglish food. I have many fond memories of curing Saturday night hangovers there, on Sunday afternoon. The Portland restaurant has none of the charm or kitsch of the originals in Salem.

    That said, city search sucks, almost as much as evite.

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