A new local startup called Reputology says it has data to prove biases in online reviews, and on multiple levels. Reputology was founded by MIT grads and helps restaurants and other businesses monitor their reviews on social media sites like Yelp. Since their site when live four months ago, Reputology has attracted clients like Stone Hearth Pizza, which has locations in Cambridge, Allston and beyond. Meanwhile, the company decided to conduct broader, regional analysis now that they were "sitting on all this data," says co-founder Jack Yu.
One bias Reputology found from that research is a preference for the type of cuisine being reviewed. Though more restaurants serving American cuisine are reviewed overall, reviewers tend to be harder on those restaurants than, say, Italian ones. Then there appears to be an inherent bias among users of a particular site, with Yelpers giving higher scores on average than OpenTable users. Also, 48% of Massachusetts reviewers are passive-aggressive according to a count of conjunctions like "but", "although" and "however" that "suggest a critique was on its way after a compliment" says the Reputology blog. Also, non-Minnesotans apparently give lower ratings to Minnesota restaurants than Minnesotans do.
Reputology may soon have data specific to how Bostonians review local restaurants online: stay tuned for that.