It’s been about a year since we first introduced influence points in Forkly, and in February we started awarding the title of Tastemaker to the most influential user at a place.
Since then, we’ve been watching how people use and interact with those features; there have been millions of accumulated influence points, fierce battles over Tastemakerships, and yes, even some cheating. Based on our learning, we’re announcing several important changes today on to how points and Tastemakerships will work going forward.
Fairer Tastemaker Battles
The idea behind the Tastemaker status at places has always been to give some special recognition to the users who are the most influential for a given place. It’s not about how many tastes they post there, but rather how many other people they influence to get interested in a place, and hopefully entice them to go and eat there.
In order to do this, we used to give the title of Tastemaker to the person who had the most points at a place. However, we found that this heavily favored early adopters who had simply been using Forkly longer, and made it very difficult for newer users to catch up. Don’t get us wrong: we love our early adopters! But is it fair that somebody who might have been very influential about a restaurant a year ago trumps somebody who has been a more enthusiastic advocate for the restaurant recently?
In order to make Tastemakerships more competitive, we’re now only taking into account the influence points you’ve earned at a place over the last 3 months.
Don’t worry, you’re not losing your influence points, but if you haven’t posted things from a given place lately, you might lose your Tastemaker status (time for another visit?). But, you now also have a much better shot at ousting the Tastemakers who have been resting on their laurels for too long.
In the fight over Tastemakerships and influence, some people have been trying to game the system by posting tastes for things that they didn’t actually have (yes, we know, it’s inconceivable!).
Whenever you start a new taste, add a photo and post it, Forkly is now checking how far away you are from the restaurant to see if we can “verify” the taste.
We won’t prevent you from posting unverified tastes, but going forward there’s a chance that you might not earn points for it. We’ll usually give you the benefit of the doubt, but if we consistently see unverified tastes from a user, we’ll be more strict when it comes to awarding points.
Oh, and our verification system is smart enough to work with tastes that are posted later when you’ve already left the restaurant, and photos that you took using a third-party camera application. And don’t worry, all the processing happens on your phone, so we’re not sending any sensitive location data over the Netz
More to Come
We hope that the changes that we introduced will improve your Forkly experience, and as always, we’d love your feedback! We’ve got some other exciting changes and improvements in the works, and can’t wait to share them with you soon.
The Forkly Team