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Yelp craters 30% as advertisers abandon the site (cnbc.com)
481 points by breitling 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 448 comments

I don't have any sympathy for a site that purposely cripples the web mobile site to force you to install their app. They lock you out of pictures after around 20 so you have to go to desktop or install their crappy app. Yelp will not be missed.

Mobile browsers should differentiate the style of links with URLs that resolve to apps. I am tired of tapping links expecting to remain in Safari and having useless “open in app?” prompts instead. I’m not IN an app, I’m in a browser; I want to use the browser.

And when cancelling the prompt gets you nothing, it really feels like Yelp is screaming “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”.

Reddit keeps asking me if I want to download their app or Open in Safari... regardless of which browser I’m using.

Not every iOS user is using Safari!!!!

Don't you want to view it in the official Reddit app for the best experience?

No, no I don't. And the official reddit app is not the best experience.

Trying to annoy me into shaping my behavior into what you want means you 'win': I'll stop talking to you your web server entirely, and screw your app.

There is no site (other than my own) so unique that I can't find a replacement.

After their bizarre cartoon-like remake I feel the best reddit experience is converging on none at all. In particular reading deeply into reply-heavy threads has devolved into rapidly scanning thin columns of text. They've managed to migrate the experience of reading a poorly designed website on mobile to the desktop!

It’s a matter of time before they acquire the top app or two and block the rest.

IIRC the official app is from them buying AlienBlue, which used to be the best one on iOS. These days it's Apollo.

Apollo recently moved some push notification features behind a subscription to cover ongoing costs, separate from their "Pro" one time in-app purchase, so I think Reddit is at least taking a cut from API usage by other clients.

Weirdly, most of the features Apollo puts behind the subscription tier are features I think foster unhealthy engagement with Reddit and I'm just as happy to not have hanging over me.

I'd be happy to pay them, but I actually don't WANT push notifications, posting from the app, or any of the other stuff that encourages websites to pull you in deeper.

And the only reason I even use Apollo is because mobile Reddit is a nightmare UX. Literally a case study in how to make a horrid, horrible experience on the mobile web.

Same boat here, I've got Pro but have no desire for notifications.

I don't use the iOS versions, but IIRC they never really did anything with AlienBlue after the purchase, and the "official" mobile app is a totally separate project.

It was an acqui-hire. He wrote the new reddit app, too.

No he didn't. This was the developer, he's been gone from reddit for over 2 years now: https://www.reddit.com/user/jase

Guess it's a matter of time before I stop using Reddit then.

I already ran to Relay as an escape from Reddit's astonishingly garbage mobile browser experience. Next stop is the door.

That’s what use and consider to be the best reddit mobile experience. The regular reddit mobile site doesn’t seem to render on iOS Safari properly most of the time, probably by design.

To repeat myself, reddit, in most cases, should be avoided anyway so you will gain by doing so.

Eh I doubt the Apollo guy would be interested in selling, but I've been surprised before.

They could bully him into selling, same way as Twitter has slowly strangulated 3rd party clients.

It's not even close to the best experience.

Often when I "open in the app", I just get sent to the homepage of my app with no way to find the random post I had been trying to view.

They don't clarify who the experience is best for. Is it best for the user? No. Is it best for their business model? Most likely.

What would you recommend? I bought Reddit sync pro years ago and I'm happy with it. My only complaint is the in-app imgur browser doesn't always work.

This reminds me of Tumblr, which I'm sure none of you have heard of or remember :) But seriously it's always like "Open in the Tumblr app for the best experience." I finally gave it a try and it was a serious downgrade in my opinion!

But you did give it a try.

t. Tumblr marketing department

"so the touchbar has a steep learning curve [for you]" - Apple to me on phone asking to switch to none touchbar mbp. Also probably any website app evangelist.

The Reddit mobile app is so shit. It would be less annoying if their app was actually usable but the website is so much easier to use. I'm so tired of them trying to force me to use their bad app, using shady practices to make me accidentally click on links that open the app.

I gave up and used their app after being hit with that 100s of times. Whether it is a viable long term strategy or not they probably are driving ad revenue from it, bit of a sad state of affairs if you have to be hostile to your users to build a sustainable business.

I wish they'd offer the option to open in Relay or whatever your preferred app is..the official Reddit app sucks.

I actually wrote some ad blocking rules to remove all of these Reddit annoyances. I've been meaning to submit them to one of the mobile-focused Adblock lists. Here are the elements that you need to hide. I like 1 BlockerX for this:


I like "promo pill". That's exactly what it feels like.

I leave these on to remind me how far reddit has fallen and to generally avoid the site.

God, Reddit was the bomb 8-9 years ago!

You can also turn off the ads by opening the menu and clicking "Ask to open in App?".

You are doing God's work

Wish I could add those to mobile Safari :P

Install an ad blocker that supports hiding page elements. I added these to 1Blocker on iOS.

That one costs money. Is there a free blocker? I use Firefox Focus, but it does not let me add custom elements.

Adguard is free and supports custom elements. As a bonus, it’s open source. These are the rules I use:




www.reddit.com##.navframe > .xpromominimal.dualpartinterstitial


I did not know this was possible! Thank you so much!


They prompt you endlessly on Android as well with a huge "CONTINUE" button to install their app versus a tiny "or go to the mobile site" link to stay in the browser with just the last 2 words being the hyperlink. This annoying choice takes up fully 1/3 of the screen.

Yup, and even when you switch to old mode it frequently reverts when you use the back button. They are intentionally making the web mobile experience horrible because they think that you'll be more engaged if you use the app.

So now that reddit’s Death has begun, what’s our alternative?

Disclaimer: self-promotion

I worked at reddit for almost 4 years, but quit and started a non-profit so I could work on building a site that would be able to stick to the principles I believe are important: no advertising or investors, open-source, privacy, higher-quality content, etc.

It's not incredibly active yet since it's in invite-only alpha, but it gets several hundred posts a day and is coming along well. There's more info in this blog post (including how to request an invite): https://blog.tildes.net/announcing-tildes

Just send me an email if you're interested and I'll give you an invite. It's not intended to be much of a barrier, I just want to keep the growth controlled for now while we get base features and site culture built up.

Mostly happy member here. Depth is less than reddit, but discussion quality easily tops it.

Hey, I'd like an invite please. Also I would be interested in discussing your philosophy with you. I run a similar "startup". We have 2 apps in the social recommendations area (currently focused on maps/places). One is a mobile app in private beta atm. You can sign up for an invite once we go public here: BIBIMAPP.COM. The other is a crowd source mapping app. It's very rough atm and we haven't promoted it at all but you can find it here : mapbeet.bibimapp.com. Feel free to reach out to me on the email in my profile.

How are you going to pay for it?

Happy Tildes user here. I believe Deimorz has some stated plans on how it will pay for itself (non-profit, donations, etc) but here's the thing:

I used to ask myself that question, then I realized it doesn't matter. Communities come and go. Slashdot used to be good. Reddit used to be good. That they're not anymore doesn't matter.

It sucks to up and leave a community once in a while, but it's not like you lose everything you did there. Social apps are intrinsically focused on the short term (past & future). It's okay to change which websites you visit once in a while.

I highly recommend Tildes. I enjoy my time there. It's pretty quiet and has very high signal, very low noise. If one day it has to be shut down because the bills can't be paid, that will suck… but there will be others.

Even at this point, the actual bills are already covered several times over, and the site could probably easily grow to at least 100x its current size without needing any more donations. The only real question is whether I continue working on it full-time, but keeping it running isn't in doubt at all, and I can't imagine that changing. There's no investor/owner pressure that would result in it needing to shut down: https://docs.tildes.net/faq#what-if-you-dont-get-enough-dona...

It's much easier when your goal is simply "sustainable" and not "unicorn or bust".

taking out the cost of the workforce (R&D, sales, associated GnA) working on revenue generation, ie. ads, analytics, etc. i'd suppose the rest of the costs of a typical Web2.0 site (like Twitter, FB, Reddit) comes down to basically hosting only and isn't that high - can probably be easily covered by donations. Or a real example - without meaningful monetization and thus related costs, WhatApp was fine with 55 employees serving $19B worth of user engagement.

I would like to join!

DM an invite plz.

Hopefully Tor isn't a problem. In the Age Of Snowden, I use it almost exclusively. Also might I suggest a .onion gateway (and maybe a .i2p gateway too)?

Hacker News doesn't have a messaging system.

Old Reddit died with the Ellen Pao fracas. New Reddit is doing well; the new web UI is still weird for people with an Old Reddit background, but on mobile you don't confuse it with the website you loved in 2008-11 -- yet it's pretty good at what it does: entertainment for the broader public.

Old reddit died well before Pao. I still get value out of Reddit, but you just have to use it in a different way now, like any community that blows up and goes mainstream.

While I think the redesign is bloated and slower its not unusable and you can opt out of it at present.

Being prompted repeatedly to open in app is certainly annoying but at present most mobile users probably use one of the apps. At least for android where 85% of your global market lives there are 7 different options nearly all of which are better than viewing in mobile firefox/chrome.

In short your experience is valid but since you probably represent a small percentage of the userbase reports of reddits death are still presumably greatly exaggerated.

On android I like Reddit is fun

Here is a thread discussing a replacement on ios


On the lighter side old reddits code was open source and lives on in voat which at present is infested with a lot of racists and alt right. Maybe we can all move over and "voat" them out of their new home like we kicked them off reddit.

>In short your experience is valid but since you probably represent a small percentage of the userbase reports of reddits death are still presumably greatly exaggerated.

I don't think people are forecasting Reddit's death so much as wishing for it and asking for alternatives they can go to instead.

I don't think Reddit will ever really die. It will persist, as a sort of night-club district from the comparatively well lit streets of Facebook and Twitter. It's not really a red light district anymore, but it's edgy enough for most people.


Try https://i.reddit.com. It's super barebones and hasn't been updated in years, but it's also super light and fast and still works just fine.

Despite its early iPhone-era skin which may not appeal to all, this is a great find. And so fast compared to the new mobile. Thanks

It does the same on Android asking to open in "Chrome", regardless of whether I am using Brave or Firefox. However, the click always opens in the current browser for me regardless of clicking on chrome.

Technically everyone on iOS is using Safari - Firefox, Chrome, and Edge all use the same rendering engine.

They're not just different chrome over Safari. At least networking can be different, and Chrome at least does use it's own networking code.

There is a setting in the hamburger menu to stop the pop up. I was annoyed for too long before i googled the nag screen.

To be fair, iOS offers no capability to list the browsers a user has installed on their phone. So they have to assume Safari, which is a fair assumption for 90% of users, I imagine.

To be fair, asking this for every single session ignoring my answer that has been the same the past 1000 times makes it a stupid, anti-user action.

I dearly hope my bank raises a flag if I decide to choose a language other than English on the ATM. I’ve only chosen it 9134 times in a row.

"Congratulations, Scoundreller, on learning a new language. As a reward we've temporarily lifted your maximum withdrawal limit!"

Not sure if joke about you choosing english and the machine being shit or just not knowing another language to make the job more authentic.

It's kind of a double joke. The machine is dumb because it doesn't remember what language you chose. The second part is that if his language suddenly changes, it's probably not him. Removing the withdrawal limit allows the person with his stolen credentials to get more money.

Just FYI, this is controlled by the ATM itself and your language choice isn’t stored nor passed onto your bank.

I'm not sure if this has changed, but I remember a Chase(?) ATM asking me if I wanted to save the setting.

Maybe it's not a thing anymore?

If you had a Chase card they could use some proprietary way of saving the language, but for other banks there's no standard way of saving the language (on the card for example), so the only solution is for the ATMs to maintain an online (since you're unlikely to return to the same ATM) mapping of card numbers to languages, and that would bring a huge liability.

Chase has a bunch of ATM settings you can configure in the web app. Auto printing receipts without a prompt is one of them.

Gmail somehow knows. Every time I click a link, it asks to open in Safari or for me to install Chrome. I check the never ask prompt, but it always asks.

Doesn’t the browser string make it clear which browser is being used?

Well to be fair the reddit app is wayyyyyy better than the web interface and works amazingly well.

I also like the app more than the website, and the new website over the old one.

It constantly nagged me to re-enable notifications and link redirection out of the app is spotty. Not to mention ads were more frequent. I use the old interface on all devices and I find it superior.

I have literally never had any issues and I have all notifications turned off. I have never had any issue using their link redirection. I'm using an iphone 7 and never update my OS or any of my apps.

This is such an incredibly irritating feature. Fwiw, if you're logged in, you can turn it off with an account preference toggle.

Every iOS user using any iOS browser is in reality using Safari's WebKit dressed differently.

Whatever I click on those options doesn't donejaat I want, which is to stay on the page im already on. The site is total garbage if you are not logged in to use the personalised settings and it's all over the day old.reddit.com is turned off

If someone sends you a link in Hangouts on iOS, it asks you if you want to open it in Chrome or Safari. I don't have Chrome installed, and I use Firefox on my iPhone. Deleted Hangouts after that and only use Hangouts in Pidgin on a desktop.

I like to use Safari on iOS because it supports ad blocking. Not sure if Chrome now supports it. But I see no reason to switch...

Use old.reddit.com

But that takes you to do the desktop site. Not ideal.

There's also https://i.reddit.com for mobile.

I prefer the alternative not-using.reddit.com

In most cases, reddit should be avoided at all costs anyway so you now have another excuse not to go there.

Every browser on iOS including Chrome has to use Safari's render engine

Try reddit.com/.compact

My guess is that it’s harder to block ads on an app.

And apps can track more details about you, yielding more revenue (or potential revenue to an acquirer).

Investors probably ascribe more value to apps-based services than web-based.

They want your contact list, location, email inbox etc etc, I assume.

Hammer, meet nail. This right here is likely the true reason. Also, it's easier to access stuff like location history.

Do you not get to pick? Android gives you a popup (e.g. Yelp app or Chrome) with an option to save your answer.

Recently switched to iOS and really miss that simple feature. Share intents are much, much better in Android.

If they did that then companies like Yelp would immediately switch to using JavaScript to change the URL, if they aren't already.

I don't disagree, what I wonder about is how management sees this as a better alternative than serving their customers. I expect it is a "damned if you do damned if you don't" type situation.

They are at a tremendous disadvantage as a 'web' experience because you're getting there through Google, Facebook, or Bing rather than landing directly on their page so they have already paid that platform to put you in front. The App means they have full control over the experience and can charge restaurants directly to move them around in the search results (more revenue).

So at some point I presume the go full "Yellow Pages" and just charge venues a monthly fee to appear at all in their pages. That works if they are generating significant foot traffic into the venue but fails if they can't connect the app/website use with the visit.

All in all I don't see how they can make a business here.

So at some point I presume the go full "Yellow Pages" and just charge venues a monthly fee to appear at all in their pages. That works if they are generating significant foot traffic into the venue but fails if they can't connect the app/website use with the visit.

I think it's useful at this point to ask why various directories had value during their heyday. The "Yellow Pages" had value, simply because there wasn't as comprehensive a localized listing otherwise. Yelp had value at first, because the reviews and ratings combined with the location search were super useful. Unfortunately, too many people realized how valuable this was and the gaming of the system on all sides started, greatly reducing the usefulness of the Yelp directory.

Google might be able to create a such directory based solely on traffic and AI identification of the type of business? Could AI identify long lines outside of restaurants? Maybe Google should buy Yelp, which would solve the "pay Google up front" conundrum. Whatever IP Yelp has which killed the "near" searches on Google would also cease to be an impediment to Google.

> Unfortunately, too many people realized how valuable this was and the gaming of the system on all sides started, greatly reducing the usefulness of the Yelp directory.

I'm not sure if this is exactly it or if you're letting Yelp off the hook. Yelp was perfectly happy to try to profit from the gaming. That didn't just damage its usefulness. It damaged trust; and trust is a lot harder to get back.

I'm not sure if this is exactly it or if you're letting Yelp off the hook.

Not letting them off the hook. Yelp contributed to this through their actions.

It damaged trust; and trust is a lot harder to get back.

That was a part of what I was thinking about. One advantage of the Yellow Pages: less opportunity to lose trust. I think displaying AI interpreted traffic has a key advantage over ratings: It would cost a whole lot more money to get crowds to show up day after day with smartphones, than it would cost to get people to astroturf ratings.

> Could AI identify long lines outside of restaurants

Google already gives you the hours that restaurants are busiest, so they basically have this info

I've seen that part of the Google listing, which is part of the reason why I made the suggestion. Google shouldn't just go by raw traffic, however. Traffic means different things at different times to different kinds of venues. High traffic at the DMV doesn't mean it's an awesome place. A line of 20 people means one thing to a sit down restaurant and something very different to a Boba tea place.

I suspect that AI applied here would be highly useful.

Right but if you're talking about restaurants, where people want to be (rather than the DMV where they have to be), I don't see why busyness isn't essentially the same as looking at lines outside.

A line of 20 outside a sit down restaurant that isn't even open means one thing if it's 30 minutes before it opens, another if it's already open. A line of 10 in front of a Boba tea place means something very different than a line of 10 in front of a sit down restaurant.

Busyness wouldn't just be used as a measure of busyness. It could be used as a proxy for other qualities. Another example: There are restaurants that have ample waiting areas and others that have none. Those in the waiting area wouldn't necessarily mean the same thing to a customer's experience than the same people seated at a table. Likewise for people standing outside vs. waiting inside.

At a very basic level, throughput (Little's Law) should also be taken into account.

My point is there would be value in such proxy measures, if some AI were used for interpretation.

> Google might be able to create a such directory based solely on traffic and AI identification of the type of business? Could AI identify long lines outside of restaurants?

Google already does plenty of stuff like this, and has for years (including historical and live busyness). Hell, I haven't used Yelp in years, because their app is generally less usable, isn't integrated with Maps (for directions etc), and cripples mobile web by not letting you see most of the content. Though it's possible that the data for G Maps is only comparably rich because of my location, and that Yelp has a data advantage in many more markets.

Google already does plenty of stuff like this, and has for years (including historical and live busyness).

I'm well aware. There's a cousin comment about using such data with contextual information and AI to use traffic data as a proxy for attributes like popularity and quality, instead of providing the raw data and letting users make their own inferences. This would enable a more Yelp-like UX, and might be easier for lots of users to consume.

This is related to what you are saying, but I think the main reason is that the app has better user retention (push notifications, icon on your home screen). Also they get location data.

I worked at Yelp 2 years ago and can say that the main reason is definitely because web traffic is not reliable, it changes with Google ranking changes. And Google and Yelp are not good friends. They are super concerned with not dying if they stop showing up in Google.

I couldn't agree more. Hopefully this is a wakeup call to Yelp and other slimy sites that try to extort users into downloading their app.

Also, small pro-tip for anyone unaware. If you are on mobile web and on Yelp, but don't want to download the app, hold down the refresh button, and select 'Request Desktop Site' - this will load the non mobile version of the site that will not force you to download the app. The UI isn't as great as the mobile optimized site, but hey at least you can read reviews without being extorted into downloading an app.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but is Yelp really being slimy by pushing users to download their app? Seems to me it's more that they are being too cheap/lazy to properly maintain both a mobile app and a mobile site. Certainly not behavior that benefits their users, but I feel slimy implies that they are doing something dishonest.

Here's a screenshot of the mobile site: https://i.imgur.com/WDDnKJk.png

In the top left, there's an "open in app" button. It's not very intrusive, it's just sitting there in the header to remind you that there's an app. The rest of the website looks usable, right? Nope.

Click on "open in app": redirected to app store

Click on user's avatar: redirected to app store

Click on "read more": redirected to app store

Click on one of the reactions: redirected to app store

It's dishonest because the site isn't interactive at all -- there's a huge overlay that prevents any meaningful interaction with the site. It's quite the opposite of lazy, because there's a functional site under there, they just refuse to let people use it.

I don’t understand Why doesn’t google penalize them? They used to be pretty hard on links doing something other than what is expected. Maybe not anymore..

Isn't Yelp one of the main forces behind the slew of complaints against Google? That must tie Google's hands to some extent.

they're using app.adjust.com to force the user to get the app and track the behavior -- using Firefox and something like uBlock will prevent the behavior and block the redirect attempt

I'm using Firefox and uBlock Origin, it still kicks you to uBlock's warning/whitelist page.

the only option I've found is to force desktop mode, otherwise virtually all engagement with the mobile site will redirect to the app

Yelp cares a lot about app installs because web traffic is fragile. When Google ranking changes their traffic immediately changes, which is not desirable for building a stable buisness.

Feels a bit like looking for your keys under the streetlight. App users may be 10x more valuable but it doesn’t mean you can force them. There are lots of services that I will use frequently through a website but would never install an app.

In that case just deep six the app and let everyone use the website. Surely running just a website and a mobile website has to be less work than running a website, a half functioning purposefully neutered mobile website, and and app. They're user hostile, so slimy or not, fuck 'em.

"Seems to me it's more that they are being too cheap/lazy to properly maintain both a mobile app and a mobile site."

The article is talking about their financial struggles but they are too cheap and lazy to maintain multiple platforms?

reddit and imgur are two of the worst offenders as well.

100% agree, I don’t need or want an app for yelp. The web can support their use case entirely so I close it whenever I get redirected to yelp.

Just to give some balance to the echo chamber here, I would miss Yelp. I never try to use the mobile site, so I've never felt that pain. Most people I know are in the same boat. It's pretty silly to suggest that nobody would miss Yelp.

I just visited a country without Yelp and really missed it. Google reviews were quite active, and I was pretty impressed with automatic translations into English, but Yelp would have been a helpful tool I'm used to as well.

Let's also call out Venmo and Google Pay (nee Google Wallet) in this hall of shame, both of which removed the ability to send and receive funds from their website (both mobile and desktop) in favor of strongarming you into installing the app to do so (get bent if you don't have a smartphone, I guess?). It would seem that "entering a number into a form" is a feature that is too sophisticated for the web platform to properly support (alternatively, perhaps we are meant to believe that such a thing is beyond the abilities of Google engineers?).

> Let's also call out Venmo and Google Pay (nee Google Wallet) in this hall of shame, both of which removed the ability to send and receive funds from their website (both mobile and desktop) in favor of strongarming you into installing the app to do so (get bent if you don't have a smartphone, I guess?).

Er, just checked and the Google Pay Send and Request money feature is accessible from both mobile and desktop site (well, I was lazy and checked both from mobile using “view desktop site” on and off.)

So, let's not call them out for something they absolutely didn't do.

I'm simply citing this email from Google themselves that I received in July, telling me that "To keep sending or requesting money, you’ll need to use the Google Pay app." This was within a month of receiving an email from Venmo telling me that "Venmo is phasing out some of the functionality on the Venmo.com website over the coming months. We are beginning to remove the ability to pay and charge someone on Venmo.com. Over time, you may see less functionality on our website." If Google has reversed course on that plan I'd be quite happy because it's totally baffling, but for all I know they're just taking their time with it like Venmo is. In the meantime, I went back to paying friends with cash and checks.

You're probably thinking of the email sent when they switched money-transfer features from Wallet to Pay.

Was the Wallet to Pay transition anything more than a rename? I confess I don't understand Google's branding strategies. According to news sources, Wallet became Pay around February, and this email was received months later.

> According to news sources, Wallet became Pay around February, and this email was received months later.

I think Pay replaced Wallet when you say as an app upgrade, but not everyone upgrades immediately or automatically; that may have been about decommissioning Wallet after the upgrade was available.

I never had the Wallet app so I'd be confused to receive an email telling me to upgrade, but I'd be happy to be wrong. For as much as I'd rather have banks just natively support digital inter-bank transactions, if I absolutely have to share my bank account details with a third party, at least Google has relatively good security practices.

It's sad but many companies have tunnel vision - probably getting thousands of reports of people complaining of this. Unfortunately they think, for whatever reason, those are all outliers. It takes a good scathing top-rated post on HN to let them see. I'm sure a developer at Yelp that has been complaining to management for years is going to take this thread and show someone that can change it.

But I think it's too late.

Exactly. One of my favourite apps, Quora, also did it some time ago (may be they still do) - forcing you to install the app if you're browsing them on mobile. I remember being shocked - shocked because while this (horrible) practice became a common thing, I'd always though of Quora highly, and assumed they'd never do something silly like that, but no, they'd disappointed.

Can someone in marketing help me make sense of this, please? If I'm accessing a site on the web, what makes them so sure I'd access them more frequently if I had their app?

Personally, if I'm on a web page, I am actually much more likely to never install their app if I have a bad experience.

Because the company can control the experience more than in a browser. No need to worry about AdBlocking. Also, they can nag you to allow push notifications.

Companies like reddit and yelp are not focused on the customer experience. They're trying to boost their KPIs. Perhaps, early on, those were customer-centric, but we now live in an age where a path to revenue is more important than ever.

So we get obnoxious nagware. The only thing is to look elsewhere.

it's not that you're accessing them more frequently, it's that installing an app gives them more access to you.

I think they know the experience is poor. But the economics are worth it to annoy x% of users so y% install apps that make them more than the x% through web.

I think one of the most interesting/telling user experience things in the industry today is why people feel so strongly about not installing apps. It seems like it spans most people, from novice users all the way to technology experts.

Personally, I've never understood it, since nearly every mobile website is terrible. I prefer installing the app.

Seems like a key problem for mobile OS vendors to solve.

If you don't like it, why not?

Because the experience of "installing" a web page by visiting the URL is still orders of magnitude more pleasant than installing an app. No need to clutter your homescreen with an app that you'll use twice and then forget about. Alternatively, no risk of not putting on your home screen and then forgetting about the 600 MB it's silently occupying on your disk until you're midway through your sister's wedding and trying to quickly free up space for more photos. No permissions to grant. No contributing to the endless stream of update notifications. No running in the background eating battery or ferrying your contacts to their servers or listening in on your microphone to use your voice for training their machine learning models.

Mobile websites are easier to install, fine to use for anything that doesn't require specific hardware permissions, and then when the user stops using them they stay gone. Not to mention they work on my Linux machine and my Windows machine and my iPad and my Galaxy. Forget apps.

Apps don't support multiple tabs.

I'm rarely looking at 1 restaurant at a time, I'm trying to compare 5, or 6 or 10.

The Yelp app has no means of doing that.

Also, I can't easily select some text in the app, like the name of a dish I'm not familiar with, and quickly trigger a web search in another tab to do some quick side reading.

I have the Yelp app installed, but 9 times out of 10 the browser is how I prefer to use search for restaurants.

Because of Yelp's frustrating site restrictions, I find myself often using Google instead, even though I prefer Yelp!!!!!!

How ridiculous is that!!

Browsers also seem to have better low bandwidth performance than most apps. Probably because doing constrained network communications is hard and only browsers have the billions of reps needed to practice getting it right. With most apps I find that network handling in poor network situations (like is all too common when traveling and looking for a restaurant) is inferior to most browsers.

So yeah, Yelp would definitely win me over if they kept their site browser and low-bandwidth friendly.

Kudos. You just made a case for why the browser-based web is so great, and how much more room there is for improvement.

Yeah, you're right. Yelp sucks. But ya have to believe, in time, someone will put the user first and get the experience correct.

Problem is, you aren't Yelp's customer, you're their product. Same for all the other sites people are complaining about. Unless that dynamic changes, everyone will only get user experience correct by accident.

I'm sure the interface for advertisers must be pleasant, though.

Because most apps require far more permissions than what is necessary in a browser. Who knows what they are sending over from your phone.

It's akin to having to install a program on your laptop to view a website instead of using the browser.

Because mobile apps make our mobile phones data collection devices. When accessing a service from the browser you have a lot more control on what information it receives about you.

I am not saying most users think like that, providing anecdotal feedback here.

On iOS and now newer versions of Android you are able to individually grant and revoke permissions. What information are you expecting them to extract via the app that you can't block?

My phone uses android 8.1 API. I know about granular permissions but in practice this does not always work. For example the PlayMemories app from Sony - to use with Sony digital cameras - does not open at all (actually it opens to tell you to give the permission and doesn't do anything else) unless you give it location permissions. Why do I need to tell my location to an app whose use is to wirelessly grab the pictures from my camera to my phone?

Because location can be ascertained from BLE and wifi scanning, Android classifies the use of those things as location services.

So it's not exactly that Sony wants or is even asking for your location, it's Google telling you that if you give the sony app the BLE or wifi scanning functionality it wants, it would be possible for them to figure out where you're at.

That warning means they could, and so google is telling you, not that they are.

You knkw an even easier way to block permissions? Dont download the app

Well, it's especially annoying with something like Yelp that you often use on the go and sometimes in stressful situations (somebody in your group is hungry and ornery).

Downloading an app can take an unpredictable amount of time and bandwidth, and once you download it you may have to log in, remember or set a password, deal with 2FA, click a verification email, etc. .

After enough of these experiences I nearly always carry a bunch of fruit bars and such around. Both improves the groups mood, and usually allows to find better food afterwards.

> once you download it you may have to log in, remember or set a password, deal with 2FA, click a verification email, etc. .

like you don't have to do those on a website?

Ugh. Yes, but there are many fewer sites that actually need this than those that deploy it just so they can harvest emails.

The only sites that need this are those where users are adding content and the site is moderated, and then login should only be required for moderated actions.

So Yelp should require a login to leave a review, but not to read one.

> Seems like a key problem for mobile OS vendors to solve.

They're working on it but it's a hard problem because too many app developers, especially at household-name companies, have a history of acting in bad faith. When you're prompted to install an app you're really having to guess whether it'll chew batter or metered data, or attempt to exploit your personal data.

The OS vendors are offering better controls but it takes time to rebuild trust, especially when they're not sure whether the OS vendor quietly makes exceptions for major companies. Remember when Uber was violating Apple's policies and had no punishment for it? People will remember that for years even if they've had strict compliance ever since.

Because I don't want to install an app on my phone for something I use once a month.

And if you can structure a restaurant review site for mobile, you have no business building anything.

Why install a 20-50mb app that does exactly the same thing as what the site does in a browser window?

And that's besides the other objections that I've seen others write here.

Apps simply often have alot less value to offer. And with a higher price attached. See permissions, tracking, notifications, worse UX sometimes, ad-blocker missing/ad-land.

Some are more affected of the issues, some less.

> Seems like a key problem for mobile OS vendors to solve.


Why don't you think any of the problems you mentioned are worth solving?

Re. strong feelings about not installing apps:

Speaking from the experience of my spouse (fancy iPhone user) and I (low-end Android user) -- both our phones are normally out of memory. We take lots of family photos and videos, which fill up our phones and are tedious to delete or back up. So downloading a new app means first we have to delete something else.

A secondary but lesser reason is notifications. I know that every app will require a minute or two of effort to locate the notification settings and switch them all off.

I don't like installing apps on my phone and having them do whatever in the background. I don't want notifications. I don't want to give an app any kind of access to my phone, period. I don't want more ads in different places. I don't want a different interface than what I'm already used to.

> ... why people feel so strongly about not installing apps

Because it means I'll be prompted for the App Store password, which I probably won't remember (or will get wrong 3 times) and so will need to change it, but the process won't let me change the password to anything I've used in the past 12 months (so I cannot change it to whatever I though the password was). So I need to make up a whole new password, and that means my mail and everything else linked to the account will stop working on all my other devices and I'll need to update the account passwords on those too.

Websites, by the very nature of living in a (more or less) content-neutral browser, are better behaved.

On-page search, copy-and-paste, and bookmarking deep in the content come for free.

The back button will behave predictably.

The browser engine has had a lot of bulletproofing on it; by comparison a lot of apps are unstable.

Updates are completely automatic- no "here's a 500mb update you won't get until weeks from now when you get to a Wifi hotspot."

Because I worry apps are invasive and run a bunch of stuff scraping my data that I don't want them know about. At least when I use the website on my mobile phone I can close it when I'm done and that's that. I almost always select to use the desktop version of a site from mobile.

I never really liked mobile websites. I prefer a desktop version and I can zoom in where needed. Navigation and minimization of features on mobile “optimized” experiences is not great. I’ve mostly conceded and got used to it but early years when sites were transitioning was tough for me.

Similar issue with Quora. Pop up blocks the site after a few scrolls, and there's no way to exit. Doesn't matter if you're in the middle of reading a long answer, the site just stops working.

Yeah, I find that really obnoxious. I've stopped reading the Quora email and clicking on links because of this. I actually have the Quora app installed, but I think they must have screwed up the app links in the email, so it doesn't open the Quora app anymore (I'm on iOS, and I use the Spark app for emails.) So it's just a bug that opens the browser instead of the app, then they hide the whole page with a popup and there's no way to continue reading the answer. Really frustrating.

Anyway, I guess they've done a lot of testing for the popup and it's better for their business model. Maybe they can show more ads in the app. But not sure why they can't just show the same ads on the website. The weekly digest email is actually great and it would keep me coming back to Quora, but they've ruined the whole experience.

Why do companies think this is “good”? They basically assault the very subset of people that actually stuck around longer than most, actually showed some interest in their content. Instead of encouraging that to continue, they cut you off.

Imagine if you were in a physical store. Then, after 2 minutes of walking around, someone suddenly pulled you aside, erected a bunch of cardboard walls around you and said “sorry, if you want to keep looking, you need to sign up for a store account!”. You’d mutter some curses and walk straight out the door, obviously; exactly zero people would say “why, sure!”.

More insultingly, if you have the app and click Open in App, they take you to the App Store even if you have the app installed.

If you think that's bad. You only get 3 reviews when querying the API per business. Also, they aggressively fight scraping with traps. (For those who try to pull the business phone numbers, or the ones who try to get the full reviews).

Ever notice how you get a 404 occassionaly when going through the list of businesses? That was a scraping trap.

I haven't installed a new app in like 18 months. I'm done with that song and dance, tired of my device always being the product, especially after I just spent $1000 on a phone.

You better have mobile web figured out properly or you're not getting me as a customer.

I stopped using Yelp exactly because this reason! Google let you read reviews without using the app. I had the same issue with TripAdvisor but I think they don't do it anymore (not sure).

Reddit gets the runner up trophy here.

No Reddit, I am not installing your fucking app. I clicked decline a dozen times in a row, get the hint.

But don't you want to reduce their bandwidth usage?

Nope. Don’t care

Strong agree. Unfortunately, it seems that many sites do this. Many I know refuse to use them for this reason.

Facebook is the same. Click on messenger on the web app, and it takes you to the play store.

you can still use mbasic.facebook.com to read your fb messages if you need it.

Thanks! Didn't know this existed.

This. I don't install apps as they're usually trojans trying to steal all your info. They might offer functionality but they're usually sneakily stealing your other data.

Can you recommend something to find restaurants with a sufficient number of reviews to be meaningful? Yelp at least had a lot of users, even if many of the reviews were fake. Google reviews tends to inflate everything, so most restaurants have a higher score on Google reviews than they do on Yelp. It would be nice if someone solved the review problem for restaurants.

I am convinced this no longer exists. (shameless plug ramble: [1]) It's too easy to inflate reviews now.

[1] https://www.notion.so/The-Hyperreality-of-Big-Data-ae0aebb35...

I am not very happy with some of Yelp UX decisions, but if their service goes down, it will be missed very much by me. I know their ratings are not always reliable, but I haven't found any better alternative. It is somewhat weird that one of the obvious things that people started working at decades ago, still doesn't seem to have a satisfactory solution.

Just check "Desktop site" checkbox in Chrome for Android menu. A bigger problem is the ethics of this company and its CEO.

Yelp really tried to get me to advertise my business with them. I use Adwords regularly. However, I chose not to engage with them, even to fully register my business with them, because of their reviews policy, and the drama surrounding trying to fix incorrect or slanderous reviews.

Unfortunately, Yelp's dead corpse will be drug around a little bit longer because of Apple Map's dependency on it.

For me its the yelp reviewers themselves I dislike. That South Park episode really nailed. Oh you're a big Yelp reviewer, cool...

I’m the opposite. I had to delete the mobile because of issues. Either way, seems like the times are passing them by.

I agree, the Facebook mobile website is shamelessly bad. That's what we are talking about, right?

Companies interacting with their customers the way gansters and drug dealers might ... So fun.

Install the app, and they get all your Contacts, fine location, tap your mic, etc.

What do you use instead?

This might not be helpful, but I decided to rely on serendipity. Sometimes I feel like we think too much about finding the best of the 'best' and we rely on expert opinions of the crowd instead of taking a chance ourselves and trying out new things.

When Im traveling out of the country, I just walk around at meal time until I find a spot with locals waiting in line out the door. Hop in line, watch what the people ahead of you order, and then get the same. Every once and a while I'll get something that I don't enjoy, but 8/10 times you end up with super tasty food you may not have otherwise tried.

I typically use the reviews you get from Google. No review site is flawless, they all have fake or bogus comments. I just look for patterns. For example, I was recently debating on going to a recently opened Asian restaurant so I looked at the google reviews. A majority of the negative reviews pointed out the same flaws, that to go orders were often wrong, dine in food often came out cold/nasty, and the sole manager that handles day to day operations generally refused to help anyone that had an issue. It wasn't just "The manager sucks", it was detailed accounts of how horrible of a person this manager was and how she routinely screwed over customers. I decided not to go. There were some good reviews too, but knowing my luck I didn't want to chance having an issue and needing to deal with this manager.

I don't rely on the rankings to find the "best" I just use reviews as a basic litmus test if it is terrible or not. I am basically just looking to avoid getting food poisoning or eating somewhere with terrible service, stuff like that -- I'll try most everything at least once. You have to be pretty consistently terrible to have something like under 3 stars, so that's my cutoff.

You seem like a perfect early user for our new social places recommendation app bibimapp.com . We're trying to create an viable alternative to crowd sourced averages which allows people to discover niche and personally meaningful places and experiences. Google places and yelp are consolidation funnels and it's ruinning how we experience the world.

It is helpful, this just might not be the most receptive crowd. I agree with you 100% fwiw.

You might be surprised, I too agree

One more agree-er for the bunch ;-)

my personal method when out and about is "ask a stranger," with using my hand computer as a backup. i delight in answering these questions as well, so i'm inclined to believe people generally don't mind.

I travel a lot and talk to a lot of people and I can tell you from my experience that a lot of people don't know the best restaurants in their town. Most people haven't eaten at all of them to make the comparison. The best way to find out is to have some way to ask a bunch of people then compare their collective results and see what everyone's experience adds up to. That quickly starts looking a lot like Yelp.

I travel a lot, and I never ask for the 'best' place to eat. What you ask is very, very important. I always ask what their favorite place to eat is. That is a different result.

What I've noticed is if you ask a random stranger what the 'best' is, you get the same generic, expensive fusion something made into a paste cuisine. If you ask their favorite, you find small, off-the-wall places with terrible selection, but amazing food.

yes.. and what's the url for this "serendipity" you speak of?

Google maps reviews is just as good if not better in some ways IMO. That's what I use as an alternative.

This is really really not true. I did a local comparison any Google map reviews were REALLY REALLY bad whereas Yelp knew what the good restaurants were. Not even close, at least in my area.

How useful yelp is varies enormously if you travel. In the U.K., as an example, Yelp can feel like a wasteland - often little or no reviews, and it has nothing like the mindshare it enjoys in the US. As a result many businesses do little or nothing to keep the information on their Yelp page accurate, it’s barely even on their radar. In the US one can often use Yelp almost as a verb in a conversation (“let me Yelp us somewhere for lunch...”), this is met with blank stares in much of Europe in my experience.

The lack of good data on Yelp in the U.K. has indirectly hurt other players there too, when Apple maps first launched business location information was largely drawn from Yelp, which basically seeded Apple maps with very bad information. Locations were wrong, many businesses that simply didn’t exist anymore would appear. Granted it’s been years since I last checked, but in the first few years of Apple map’s operation it was a pretty significant issue. This methodology worked great in Cupertino I guess...

Seconding this. Yelp reviews have their problems but at least there's always content in the review and I can validate some of the reviewer's reputation if they're being suspiciously positive/negative in their review. Most google ratings I see have very few reviews behind them, and most of them are under a sentence long.

Someone on Google reviewed my local cemetery. One star rating, because it made them sad to drive past it. Why even allow reviews on a cemetery?!

I love that some of the reviewers are even labeled "Local Guide"s

Someone once gave 5 stars to a business project that I had created but never launched (no business, product or service with zero customers) but which had a Google Business listing. I suspect people routinely fake review places to inflate their egos but also because Google offers them real benefits.

Why not? Some cemeteries around here are beautiful, and worth visiting. Plus like any other public service, they can be badly run, and it might be worth warning others who are planning to be buried there about it.

Doesn't hurt to have the option, I guess. If a place doesn't need reviews then it probably doesn't care about bad reviews, and sometimes the reviews are useful nevertheless or at least funny.

See: https://m.xkcd.com/1803/

ditto, google maps reviews are weirdly inflated with almost all restaurants having 4+ stars, even terrible ones

yelp's review quality has been on the decline as of late though. it used to be great

I don't think you can really use any absolutes here. It depends very heavily on where in the world you are.

While I use google reviews more often than other review sites, I know it is a problem. A big chunk of the issues has to do with the whole "local guide" or whatever its called program. People are incentivized to leave reviews anywhere they can because it makes them seem prestigious, so they spam all the restaurants they've not been to or don't care for with negative reviews. This is also a rampant issue for tourist destinations, entertainment locations, local businesses, etc.

Google maps does not show all entries. I stopped trying because restaurants would show or not show based on zoom and other factors unknown to me. It’s not rating or ads.

It’s really frustrating as sometimes searching for “Mexican restaurant” won’t include all Mexican restaurants in the map area. And will include random weird stuff. And it won’t show the top items.

Nope, it’s gamed. Reviews are useless. Had a terrible experience with a business.

Restaurants: Tripadvisor, Google, Zagat

Service Providers: Homeadvisor, Angie's List

Angie's List is less useful than it should be. It seems that the reviews are largely promotion-driven (i.e., vendors that offer coupons get reviews, others get no reviews).

Angie’s List lost me with their user-hostile behavior. For example, cancelling an account required a phone call, also you can’t change your membership location at will, so if you spend any time outside of your local area, they didn’t let you see information for other locales.

Homeadvisor is just not a good source for service providers, especially when compared to Yelp. Angie's list is a little better, but Yelp still beats it. Maybe it's because Angie's List started as a paid service which limits the number of reviewers, even though it slightly improves review authenticity

Obligatory TripAdvisor fake restaurant story.[1] Not that it means TripAdvisor doesn't provide value, it's just a wonderful story. :)

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15861136

FYI, Zagat's parent company is Google/Alphabet.

> FYI, Zagat's parent company is Google/Alphabet.

No, it's not. Google sold Zagat in March to The Infatuation.

I forgot about that! I've been using Zagat since back in the day when you filled out a form for some city you were familiar with and they sent you a free restaurant guidebook for that city in exchange. I still think they're the best guide (except possibly for the local newspaper site) for people who have a somewhat foodie orientation. But they only cover a relatively small number of US cities.

I stand corrected.

I don't know if this is accurate, but I have the sense that Trip Advisor is kind of taking over the space, at least for food and cultural stuff.

I find TripAdvisor extremely inflated and I somehow always end up at tourist traps using it when I'm countries where yelp isn't available. It's more useful for finding out about sights but I avoid it for food and services.

TripAdvisor is hilariously easy to game[1]


I'm not intending to say that it's good, just that it seems a lot more widely used than Yelp lately.

It does depend on where in the world you are too.

Trip advisor is turning into the experts exchange of reviews. Great seo, not useful material.

I was recently trying to find the best fish restaurant in Key West and TripAdvisor was all over results with the same stupid results.

I like Foursquare though I find the quality of the data/reviews are spotty depending on the city (NYC is good; SF is only so so)

Not the OP, and I find that yelp is in a better league than the competition (google, tripadvisor), but I tend to look on Eater.

I use TripAdvisor. Much less mean and agressive in terms of review quality as what I have experienced with Yelp.

I just avoid user-hostile sites tbh. I don't go to expensive restaurants so if it's a miss I just avoid it in the future.

just curious why you're against downloading the app? I work on native apps and just wondering why you have a preference for mobile web.

I'm not the person you're replying to, but here goes:

It's not 2011 anymore, back when the mobile web was trash because companies maintained both a desktop site and a severly gimped "m.desktop.com" site. Back then you pretty much had to have apps if you wanted to capture the mobile market.

Today, we have mature Add to Home Screen capability, GPS support, push notifications, widespread support for CSS3 hardware acceleration, PWAs, offline capabilities and much more.

You can now make Uber and Lyft trips on the mobile web. That is a use case where I had previously thought I would always need to have the app installed.

So with that in mind, why would I even want to open the dumpster fire that is Google Play/App Store in 2018? If it's a new company I haven't heard of, I am sure as hell not about to open the app store and download > 50MB on my data plan to check you out.

you can add push notification from mobile web? I suppose i see the attempts for me to enable desktop notifications but ive never seen them on mobile web before.

Feels weird to applaud add to home screen but not want the app. Also im on wifi so often that i guess 50mb to download an app is a non issue for me.

I am biased because I build native apps vs web apps but ive always preferred a rich native experience and design vs the web. To each their own!

No push notifications is an added bonus. I do not want notifications. None. Zero.

The problem is most companies are not interested in building rich native experiences. Amazon is a trillion dollar company and their mobile app is horrendous. They don't see it as a priority, it's just something that has to exist, like how companies have to write awful PR blog posts that nobody is reading.

For me, the "add to home screen" means the PWA launches in fullscreen without any browser chrome and that helps the experience a lot. My home screen gets a tiny bit more cluttered but that's an acceptable tradeoff.

No, IOS does not allow notification in browser [1].

>Note: This document pertains to OS X only. Notifications for websites do not appear on iOS.

[1] : https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Ne...

P.S: not assuming IOS is mobile, yes assuming significant amount of mobile economy is IOS browsers

Apps don't support multiple tabs.

I'm rarely looking at 1 restaurant at a time, I'm trying to compare 5, or 6 or 10.

The Yelp app has no means of doing that.

Also, I can't easily select some text in the app, like the name of a dish I'm not familiar with, and quickly trigger a web search in another tab to do some quick side reading.

Often not all text in Apps is selectable and copy paste-able.

I have the Yelp app installed, but 9 times out of 10 the browser is how I prefer to use search for restaurants.

Browsers also seem to have better low bandwidth performance than most apps. Probably because doing constrained network communications is hard and only browsers have the billions of reps needed to practice getting it right. With most apps I find that network handling in poor network situations (like is all too common when traveling and looking for a restaurant) is inferior to most browsers.

So yeah, Yelp would definitely win me over if they kept their site browser and low-bandwidth friendly.

A really simple thing is that sometimes I really don't need the website for more than 10 minutes a year, but dealing with turning off notifications, being forced to create an account, being asked about app updates, having it on my home screen, etc is not worth it.

I think some apps feel nicer than a website ever could (because the app can take advantage of stuff like force touches better, and offer a nice custom usage of gestures). But some other places it really just feels like the app exists to push notifications...

Far too many examples of companies making perfectly functional websites for mobile for me to believe an app is necessary for anything.

I'm actually not against downloading the app. What really grinds my gears is when companies screw up the "app links" in their emails, so that the link opens in the browser instead of the app, and then they show an "Install our app!" popup. Then I click the install button, and it takes me to the App Store. And then I click the "Open" button on the App Store page, and it brings me to the homepage inside the app, but there's no way to find the content that I was trying to read.

This has happened to me more than once, with Quora being the latest offender. I don't mind the broken app links, but at least add a query param to the URL and set a cookie so that you don't show a popup and ruin the experience for your existing users.

In general, native apps suck. It's a rigmarole to install them. They insist on all these awful rights, and if there's some sort of vulnerability in the platform they're sure to be exploiting it as hard as they can. Even if they're not exploiting my data, they're probably not protecting my data very well. Many of them are bloated monstrosities. They are poorly maintained and will eventually break. They enforce some sort of psychological commitment to continue to interact with whatever crappy organization published them.

Note: I'm not saying that you suck. You have an identity and worth separate from native apps.

"I don't have any sympathy for a site that purposely cripples the web mobile site to force you to install their app."

They did this in response to Google. Their clicks from the google search results has been down for years [1]. What should they have done?

[1] https://www.seroundtable.com/yelp-ceo-on-google-interstitial...

> They did this in response to Google. Their clicks from the google search results has been down for years [1]. What should they have done?

Create a service people will actually want to use?

They got a penalty for creating a frustrating experience, so they replaced it with another kind of frustrating experience?

"Create a service people will actually want to use?"

They did. It worked great and was awesome. One day, a large company changed it's rules removing most of the traffic pointed to it. It had to make changes. One attempt to survive was to move traffic to the app. I don't understand why trying to survive as a business is bad. Maybe people didn't want to click the close button on the app link -- I don't see how this should end Yelp and let google have more unchecked power to the small business reviews.

If they were that great they wouldn't need Google to send a steady stream of new users their way.

People would seek out Yelp directly. But even the search term "Yelp" itself it down roughly 50% since 2014, suggesting that less and less people would actively and directly seek out that page.

When I search "Chinese Restaurant XY" and Google ranks results that would hide the information I seek behind annoying interstitials lowly - then I can't blame them. They're doing something that is in my best interest as their user.

"If they were that great they wouldn't need Google to send a steady stream of new users their way."

Right. Like Amazon not needing roads. Or Walgreens needing a working Pharmacological system.

"When I search "Chinese Restaurant XY" and Google ranks results that would hide the information I seek behind annoying interstitials lowly - then I can't blame them. They're doing something that is in my best interest as their user."

Ugh. Yes. That is called a monopoly.

So this is the behavior as GOOGLE:

1) Remove all traffic to site

2) Re-create same site on Google

3) Point all traffic that was in 1) to google.

4) The site will try to move traffic to mobile -- but users will just get upset at the site. Because the interstitial is hard to tap on.

Is this really all they need todo to capture users? Sad.

> Ugh. Yes. That is called a monopoly.

The sentence you replied to wasn't even tangentially related to the definition of a monopoly. It is something every search engine should do whether they have a monopoly or not, which is ranking things highly that are most useful to me. Sites hiding stuff behind interstitials just aren't.

Now Google sure aren't angels, but the "penalizing interstitials" part hardly is the evil part.

It might've been the creation of a competing product with a decent user experience that was evil. But then yelp was hardly sitting on a secret sauce. A 10 year old with 1 year of programming experience can build a review portal, and it'll likely be more pleasant to use than one that is intentionally crippled by it's owners.


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