Jeff triggered this post in regards to his Check-in Fatigue on Foursquare. Surprisingly, I was thinking the same thing today about user-generated content, which basically check-in's are too. I myself am a bit tired of Qype (German version of Yelp) and Tripadvisor. These are probably the two sites where I've posted the most reviews. I'd say I posted far more reviews than the regular user: on Qype, 455 reviews & on Tripadvisor, 71 reviews.
For a long time, my thought process went like this. I often check out Qype before going to a restaurant or Tripadvisor before picking a hotel. Hence, I derive value from the platform in the form of advice and am happy to give back by writing my own review afterwards. This drove my willingness to continue posting. All's good until now. Basically for the past couple of months, I've become really tired of writing anything for these platforms. I still do every now and again yet I find myself asking ever more "what's really in it for me"?
Both Qype and Tripadvisor get a ton of value from my posts. Not individually from each post but in aggregate. People come and click on my review and both Qype and Tripadvisor sell ad space next to it. I have no idea about the numbers but I'm sure my more than 550 posts on the two platforms have generated some money for both of these businesses. My piece of the pie is spit in the bucket but it clearly shows how they can make a ton of money if they get enough people to write for them.
On the other hand, the value of the reviews on these sites goes down the older they get. The more people write, the more reviews you get. It becomes quite difficult to sort through and find out what really is relevant feedback for you in determining whether to eat somewhere or sleep overnight. There is so much noise on both platforms that you actually have to work through the reviews to first find out which ones are valid. Qype's attempt at sorting the reviews and recommending some to me just doesn't really interest me....it's more often wrong than right.
Qype also launched an iPhone app a while back and ended up adding check-in ability. Tried this for a while but quickly grew tired of that just as I (and Jeff) did of Foursquare. Again, I was adding value to their platform by checking in yet the value to me was basically zero. I didn't see any monetary gain nor did I receive anything more than the benefit of being "Champion" ("Mayor" on Foursquare) of a place.
I'm going to need a lot more to keep me writing. If you want my reviews because your business runs on user-generated-content, you are going to need to do better. Stroking my ego no longer works. I want direct benefits....free parking, a free night, coffee for free or dessert, discounts and so forth. Sure, Foursquare is trying to do this for their mayors but I want Qype and Tripadvisor (or any other site I create content for) giving me something more. Until they find creative ways to keep my reviewing juices flowing, I'll be writing a lot less in the future.