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Study Shows Bad Weather, Cheaper Food Leads to Crappy Online Reviews

Here's some good news for Southern California restaurants: The New York Times reports that the worst online reviews are written when it's below 40 degrees or above 100 degrees. Which would mean, in turn, that our temperate wonderland is full of happy Yelpers! Or not. 

This is according to a study being released today that is the first large-scale academic research on how outside factors affect online reviews. Apart from weather, the study considered the size of the city, the city's racial makeup, and how expensive a meal was. You might be surprised: The research seems to show that a higher-priced meal often lead to better reviews.
The study - which was conducted by Saeideh Bakhshi, a doctoral student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, her husband Partha Kanuparthy, and Eric Gilbert, an assistant professor - examined nearly 1.1 million reviews of 840,000 restaurants over almost 10 years. Sadly, Yelp was not included in the research because the company would not release enough of its data. Citysearch, Foursquare and Trip Adviser were among the sites studied. 

See also: The Top 3 Ways Restaurants Can Raise Their Yelp Rating

The study also found differences in reviewing habits by region. Reviewers in the Northeast and West wrote more reviews than those in the South and Midwest. And people who live in large cities are more forgiving of certain things (like waiting a long time for a table) than diners in smaller communities. 

So what of our theory that SoCal must be full of happy online reviewers? While Yelp wasn't included, it turns out that it basically pans out: The study shows that Seattle reviewers are the grumpiest, with the most negative reviews. The most positive? San Diego. 

Read the New York Times story on the study here


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