I just read in another thread here that some visitors only consider places rated in the "Top 25." I'm curious to get your input on this.
I have long been an outspoken critic of the ranking system here. While some (evidently) put a lot of faith in these rankings, others have noticed how completely arbitrary they can be. For the "don't trust anyone under 25" crowd, my advice would be to not keep checking the rankings, because it might shatter your faith to see how quickly they can change. And it's no wonder.
There are many reasons these rankings are flawed, and most were mentioned in the other thread, but the most glaring one is the absence of categories. Does it really make sense to any of you to be comparing a Marriott property "apples to apples" against a vintage mom'n'pop motel? Or a fast food joint rated on a level playing field against a highly regarded fine dining restaurant?
In my hometown, where we have dozens of classy restaurants, a neighborhood bar was ranked as the #1 restaurant for several weeks. A friendly place with a decent dining room and good, homecooked food, but strictly a loud, blue-collar ambience. I think it's #56 today; I guess their regulars lost interest in manipulating the rankings.
The second way TA could make the rankings more credible is to qualify the rankings. At present, it's a "free for all." You can "one dot" a place because you had to wait for an elevator or didn't like the pool attendant's attitude. Or you can "five dot" them solely because the front desk clerk was affable. How would we even know if a reviewer's criteria even remotely resembles ours? (Yes, you can sometimes "read between the lines" in these reviews.)
Besides the solicited reviews, you've got the "axes to grind" factor, the psychology factors (including the "more rants than raves" factor) locational attitudes, prejudiced reviewers, etc. etc.
I hope TA will address this someday. Until then, I don't pay much attention to these rankings. At best, they are probably reliable only for weeding out the worst places, meaning those that consistently rank near the bottom.Edited: 14 July 2010, 12:51