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Friday, June 24, 2016

Adios TripAdvisor! Sketchy Business Practices And Zero Customer Support Led Me To Delete My Account

TripAdvisor Inc.
400 1st Avenue, Needham, MA 02494
Phone: 781-800-5000


I was, and the operative term is "WAS", a TripAdvisor "Top Contributor" until recently with hundreds of reviews and photos in many of the 41 countries I have visited. My reviews are honest and as objective as anybody's opinion can be and I received hundreds of "Helpful" votes for my reviews and photos.
TripAdvisor is very selective about the reviews it posts, unlike Yelp (where I have been "Elite" since 2014), refusing to post reviews willy-nilly based on criteria only they are aware of. I think the operative answer is, if a review does not conform to a "standard" which favors the business that is paying them for advertizing, then it does not conform and is not posted.

For example, I have written several reviews that TripAdvisor refused to post, claiming that the content was "too similar to that found on the internet". Basically, they were saying that I plagiarized my content from a website, something I have never done nor will I ever do. I may use information from a website or pamphlet as background for readers in a review or copy the ingredients for a recipe from their menu for simplicity's sake from time to time, but never word for word and I always edit the material into my own words and style. Sometimes they simply refuse to post a review with no reason given as was the case with my review of the Villisca Axe Murder House, having submitted the review numerous times without it being published and without explanation.
TripAdvisor would not exist without the reviews of travelers, so I find it extremely self-serving and deceiving to refuse to post reviews from Top Contributors that do not conform to their paying advertiser's demands. I put a lot of time and effort into my reviews as evidenced by the 40,000+ visitors to my blog each year and the 40,000+ views of my reviews and photos on Yelp each month. My content is original, honest, and objective as any reviewer can be, so when TripAdvisor recently refused to publish my review of Cataldo's Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn recently (because the content "was not original" ... BULLSHIT!) for the umpteenth time, I deleted my account.

The other reason I deleted my account is because TripAdvisor, as I found out, has zero integrity themselves, allowing people to post reviews whether they have been to a restaurant, hotel, destination, or attraction or not. There is no requirement to having been a customer (as Money Magazine reported in a recent issue - see excerpt from Money Magazine below) to write a review, so businesses can use robots and fake review websites to fluff their ratings, making them relatively useless. I have found during my travels to 41 countries that TripAdvisor may be good for general information about a business or location, but the ratings rarely accurately reflect the experience and now I know why.

Yelp on the other hand uses complex algorithms and your GPS location to ferret out fake reviews. They also have "Elite" members, reviewers like myself that are hand selected by the Community Manager (CM - each major metro has one, a paid Yelp employee) with several face-to-face and virtual interactions taking place between Elites and CMs each year. So if you really want to ensure you are getting a valid rating and honest review, use Yelp and sort reviews or pay attention to those only written by "Elites".

TripAdvisor does not appreciate the countless number of honest reviewers out there, refusing to interact one-on-one with even Top Contributors. Trying to get an explanation for a decision they make or get an question answered is impossible with TripAdvisor, unlike Yelp where you get an answer from a Yelp employee every time you have a concern or question.
My recommendation: Dump TripAdvisor and download the Yelp App on your phone or tablet. You will be glad you did!

CombatCritic Gives TripAdvisor 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!









One Bomb Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Adios TripAdvisor! Sketchy Business Practices And Zero Customer Support Led Me To Delete My Account

Key Words: TripAdvisor, trip, advisor, trip advisor, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, attraction, destination, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, integrity, reviews

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

TravelTech: Renewed My GolfLogix Subscription, THEN They Implemented A New, Substandard Version ... I'm Outta Here!

GolfLogix Application For iPhone

Suite 100A
15685 N. Greenway-Hayden Loop
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
Phone: 877-977-0162
Fax: 480-287-8749
Email: info@golflogix.com
Price: $$$$
I used to love my GolfLogix app, then they charged my credit card $20, shortly thereafter implementing a new version that absolutely sucks!

I am canceling my “Champion Membership” after they ruined the app with their “new” version. I wrote to them, telling them about my disappointment: 
"Your new interface sucks. The font is so small I can barely see it and I can't seem to bypass the club (yardage) tracking option, making me scroll through the numbers (instead of simply entering yardage) on the old version. Who in their infinite wisdom implemented this piece of #%$@? Bring back the old interface or I'm out of here!
To which they replied: 
"Dear Valued Member, Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately that feature was not included in the new streamlined GolfLogix App. We working to return that feature. Again we apologize for any inconvenience and hope you enjoy the New GolfLogix App."
They did not address my concerns, sending me a "boilerplate" response with misspelled words. They don't care, implementing a new version before it was fully functional, so I'm moving on and canceling my subscription.

CombatCritic Gives GolfLogix 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: TravelTech: Renewed My GolfLogix Subscription, THEN They Implemented A New, Substandard Version ... I'm Outta Here!

Key Words: GolfLogix, golf, logix, logic, logics, app, application, iPhone, iStore, iTunes, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, service, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform =  "Tits Up" 


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!

Nathan’s Famous

1310 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Between Stillwell Avenue and Schweikerts Walk 
Coney Island
Transit: D F N Q Lines - Coney Island
Phone: (718) 946-2202
Website: nathansfamous.com

OK, so they are slightly overpriced and the food is not that special, but Nathan's Famous is an INSTITUTION in Coney Island and Brooklyn and for that they deserve at least 7 Bombs.





$5 for a hot dog is not that bad in NYC, but I never realized that Nathan's also sells fish, burgers, beer. and many other things, pumping out food with servers who barely speak a word of English, Mandarin more prolifically, and with prices that are not all that bad.





I had a Chili Cheese Dog with grilled onions ($4.95) and my wife a Cheese Dog ($4.45), sharing an order of Bacon Cheese Fries, a heart attack in a container, and a Diet Coke ... what else, when you just ate your monthly allotment of fat and calories in a few small mouthsful?

The dogs were decent, popping when you bite into them like a good, fresh, well-made dog should do. They offer complimentary grilled onions and saürkraut on their dogs along with catsup, mustard, and relish as well as plenty of napkins to wipe your puss after engulfing a Nathan's Famous.




Glad we went, probably will not be back, but it was worth the $20 tab for a small, yet very filling, high-caloric lunch on our last day in Brooklyn.
CombatCritic Gives Nathan's Famous 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!

Key Words: Nathan's Famous, Nathan's, famous, Nathan, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Coney, island, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Philadelphia, PA: Nice, Clean Airbnb Room With Shared Bath in Central Philly ... Excellent Value!

Airbnb

Leane's "A Fabulous Night's Stay"
Website: Airbnb.com - A Fabulous Night's Stay

The room and home were very clean and the price reasonable for such a central location near downtown Philadelphia. 

Pros: 
1) Easy walk to the bus or Metro and central enough that you can walk to many places around downtown. 
2) There are markets, pharmacies, shops, and restaurants within a 10-minute walk of the house. 
3) The room is reasonably large and private, having nearly everything needed for a short stay, including a large closet, fold-down desk, and folding chair. 
4) The shared bathroom is very big and has plenty of supplies (hair dryer, shampoo/conditioner, extra toothbrushes, etc.) 
5) The neighborhood is clean, well kept, safe, and the people in the area were friendly. We felt safe and welcome in the neighborhood and were not concerned about our safety, even after dark. 
6) There is a washer and dryer in the home. 
7) The wi-fi is fast, free, reliable and we never had a problem connecting, loading pages, or watching video/movies. 
8) The host stays to herself mostly, does not "hover", and was helpful when we asked questions about the area. 
9) Coffee, tea, instant hot chocolate and cookies are provided in the dining room downstairs for breakfast. 
10) No TV in the home, so you can spend more time seeing Philadelphia! 

Cons: 
1) Parking on the street near the house was scarce when we arrived, but I managed to find a spot down the block after dropping our bags. 
2) The bedrooms are upstairs and the staircase is narrow, making it tricky to maneuver large bags to the room. 
3) The bathroom is shared among three rooms and access was occasionally a problem. 
4) There is no ice or bottled/filtered water available, so bring/buy your own if you like ice and do not want to drink tap water. 
5) The coffee was nearly gone and the host unavailable when we awoke on our first morning, so I had to figure out where the coffee and filters were stored to prepare more. 
6) The host did not respond to the text and email I sent the day before arrival nor did she answer two phone calls I placed when we first arrived and had difficulty locating a parking place. However, she did answer the door once I found a temporary parking spot to drop our bags and was very responsive thereafter. 
7) No TV in the home if you want to catch up on news or your favorite show(s). 

In summary, Leane is a very personable host, the room an exceptional value, and the home in immaculate condition. A comparable hotel room would cost well over $100, making this Airbnb option an excellent value if visiting central Philadelphia. 

CombatCritic Gives Leane's "Fabulous Night's Stay 2" 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Eight Bombs Equates To:
Leane's Response:

"Thank you so much for the review. It was lovely to have met you both and I am pleased you would stay again when in Philly. Sorry I missed your call, I have a 100% response rate and take communication very seriously. On occasion I will miss a message because I am physically unable in the moment, but fortunately we spoke within 10 minutes of your call. My response time is within a few minutes if I happen to miss you, which most of my guests will tell you rarely happens. It is so funny you mentioned about bottled water. Before seeing your review I actually went out and stocked the fridge with sparkling water, an assortment of flavored, natural lemonades, orange juice and of course... bottled water. There is also ice, chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream and fruit bars available in the freezer for guests. You should have stayed one more day! Now folks can make iced coffee and oreo cookie sundaes to beat this Philly heat! Lol! Thanks again for all the feedback and happy travels!"


Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Philadelphia, PA: Nice, Clean Airbnb Room With Shared Bath in Central Philly ... Excellent Value! 

Key Words: Airbnb, Philadelphia, PA, Leane, Pennsylvania, Philly, room, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, motel, B&B, bed and breakfast, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: WTFO! ="What-The-Fuck ... Over!"

Indianapolis, IN: $85 For This Dump? DO NOT Waste Your Money!

America’s Best Value Inn (East Indianapolis)

7314 E. 21st Street
Indianapolis, IN 46219
Phone: (317) 359-5500
Website: americasbestvalueinn.com

The room was a dump (cigarette burns on the bedspread and around the sink, broken and mismatched furniture) and breakfast was pitiful (coffee and packaged sweet rolls). I've stayed in nicer hotels in India while paying less than $5 per night. How they got a 7.5 rating on Booking.com and $85 of my money is beyond me.

The only reason I did not give them a single bomb was because the bed was reasonably comfortable and the sheets appeared to be the only clean thing in the room.




CombatCritic Gives Americas Best Value Inn Indianapolis East 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Two Bombs Equates To
"Tits Up" 





Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!





Title: Indianapolis, IN: $85 For This Dump? DO NOT Waste Your Money!

Key Words:  America’s Best Value Inn, East Indianapolis, Indiana, INCombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, accommodation, motel, dump, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato