CitySearch appears to be unique in their ability to review restaurants that don’t actually exist.
Maintaining a national restaurant directory must be no easy task considering how many restaurants open and close every year in the United States. The churn leads to challenges.
In other cases, the data is just bad. Not out of date, but never right in the first place.
So, how do you deal with this?
1. Proactively look for problems in your data set.
2. Make it easy to for visitors to flag bad data.
3. Let visitors edit problems they encounter themselves.
Here’s what not to do: Review restaurants that don’t exist. For example, CitySearch has an incorrect listing for a coffee shop near my home. It didn’t go out business. It never existed in the first place.
Why does CitySearch publish hours for this place?
More importantly, why is CitySearch giving this place 3.5 out of 5 stars?
A search for the non-existent address of 4306 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN shows that CitySearch is not alone in their belief that this coffee shop exists. For example, Menuism has the non-existent Kick Start in their directory as well, but they haven’t taken a stance on the quality of a non-existent restaurant.
A look through the other restaurant review and directory sites shows me that CitySearch is unique in their ability to review a non-existent restaurant.
Is this particular situation unique, or does a 3.5 rating from CitySearch actually mean that a place may or may not exist?