The Science Behind a Bad Yelp Review

Researchers found that just a couple of negative online reviews for a restaurant could determine early on how many it receives long term.

Researchers stated that online rating platforms claim to be unbiased but that their research found this wasn’t true either. With the way the platforms work the research demonstrated that popular restaurants tend to get more popular while a few initial low reviews will cause one to stagnate.

The study also found that the median income of the neighborhood where the restaurant is located could affect whether or not they get rated at all. In the poorest neighborhoods many restaurants tended not to get rated at all. The study used only economic data to determine this.

The study evaluated Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews for about 3,000 restaurants per website in Franklin County, Ohio. Franklin county is where Columbus and Ohio State are located in addition it is the home of over 20 restaurant chains.

Previous research had found that the food industry considers consumer preferences in this area to be representative of the larger, country-wide market.

The research was published in Papers in Applied Geography

New Study Looks at Consumer Perception of the Peer-to-Peer Economy

A new study examined how consumers view, for example, the difference between a taxi driver working for a cab company and a driver from a rideshare app like Uber.

According to the new study, consumers see themselves as helpers to the independent workers, like a Lyft or Uber driver. When using a more traditional company, like a taxi service, they don’t view themselves as helping the employee but rather that they are purchasing a service.

Researchers say that peer-to-peer business, like Airbnb, is changing how consumers view some service providers. Previous studies have noted that consumers think of employees as simply an extension of the company.

These different viewpoints have had a strong influence over how firms like Airbnb or Uber market themselves to consumers. It could also have an influence over how people tip independent providers and what kind of regulations consumers would support in the sharing economy.

The results of this new study demonstrated that peer-to-peer companies had better success with marketing campaigns that focused on the people that provide their service. The study also demonstrated that they had less success when their marketing focused on the image of the company or how their app worked.


How to Make Sure Your Friend Hates a Gift — A New Study

In an unusual new study, OSU faculty and others took a look at gift giving. Specifically, how to make sure a friend hates a gift you give them. The answer they found? Tell them the gift will save them money.

Through a series of studies, researchers saw that people reacted negatively to gifts when it was said or inferred the gifts were intended to help them save money.

Getting this kind of present makes one feel inferior to the gift-giver, according to this new research. People are more receptive to gifts that are intended to save them time.

Researchers noted that while society believes all gifts will be appreciated (it’s the thought that counts), this couldn’t be further from the truth—presentation and intent are everything.
Gifts that intend to save people time are seen as a compliment, researchers said. If you don’t have spare time you see yourself as being perceived as busy, in-demand, important. The latter is seen as “high status” while the former is usually seen as “low status.”

Researchers noted, however, to trust your instincts when choosing gifts. This data is only one part of the picture.

The study was published recently in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

OSU Researcher Finds Black Raspberries May Reduce Skin Allergy Inflammation

A new study headed by OSU faculty found that eating black raspberries might reduce inflammation from skin allergies.

The study, published in ”Nutrients,” used mice and found that diets high in black raspberries seemed to reduce inflammation from contact hypersensitivity. Researchers noted that typically treatments have been those that applied right to the skin and that just consumption of a fruit can achieve a similar effect.

Researchers gave one group of mice a diet that incorporated what would be a single serving of black raspberries for a human per day. They also kept a control group of mice that were feed no raspberries. The raspberry group saw a reduction in inflammation in their skin where irritated.

The researchers discovered the raspberries affect the dendritic cells. These cells send messages to the immune system which then decides whether or not to create inflammation.

Researchers stated that observed benefits may exist but more work needs to be done to determine what specific properties of black raspberries are reasonable for decreasing inflammation.

Researchers Explore Using Cell Phones to Anonymously Contact Track Covid-19

Researchers are developing a system where in personal cellphones could communicate with each other and let us know when we’ve been near someone who has contracted Covid-19.

In their paper, researchers discussed a system that would generate random, anonymous IDs for each phone. The system would automatically send out ultrasonic signals between microphones and speakers on cellphones within a certain radius. The information passed between phones would be used for contact tracing.

If a person tested positive for Covid-19, this person would update their anonymous IDs and this would included a timestamp of when the ID was generated in the past two weeks. This info would be updated in a central database that is managed by official medical organizations. The information on each individual would be pulled to trace contact between people and patients.

Others, including tech companies, had suggested using Bluetooth for such a system but Bluetooth actually travels too far and even through walls but isn’t “smart” so it would not be ideal for use in this scenario according to researchers.

The research as not yet been peer-reviewd but is available at arXiv pre-print server.