• http://drinkbetterbeer.wordpress.com Lys

    I agree with everything you said, and still haven’t joined foursquare because I really don’t want everyone knowing where I am every second of the day. I don’t mind checking into Untappd when I have a beer for the same reason you mentioned – to keep track of beers I’ve had – and very rarely do I check into a location with the beer. If people want to lie and cheat to obtain completely synthetic “badges” from the internet that provide no tangible purpose in the real world other than bragging rights among fellow online users, well, then that’s their prerogative. Personally, even if it is a meaningless application in the long run, I don’t feel the need to cheat if only for my own moral/ethical reasons. It just seems like something that might translate into the real world with the people who do check in 20 times a day to keep growing their list of beer/badges – if you have to lie on the internet…do you lie off the internet, too? In the end, I think it just comes down to the quick and easy self-gratification we’ve become accustomed to with the internet. Why be patient and work for something over a longer period of time (especially if it’s fake and meaningless) when you can easily cheat the system in a few short hours?

    Sorry for the rant, just wanted to say I appreciate your viewpoint.

  • Grilling with Rich

    Great post from my Mellin… A must read!!

  • http://www.huckfinsbeerbuzz.com HuckFin

    I agree about the badges, I don’t think I’ve earned one yet. The issue I have with the app is that I forget to enter a beer while drinking in the company of friends. I would like to go back and enter the three or four beers that we sampled for future reference but due to the 15 minute waiting period, that never happens. I feel a little funny entering a beer from the night before at 8 am on a monday morning. I might get the “He’s really got a problem” badge!

    • http://frommymellin.com Seth

      I think the person with 300+ beers in less than a month needs they please join AA badge.

  • http://www.bitchinbrews.com Lauren

    As someone who really enjoys the apps that give me badges, I have to disagree with most of your points in this article. Most of the time I don’t know how I’m earning the badges, I just like the pretty colors.

    Personally, I don’t care what other badges people have earned, I care about the badges I earn. So if Person A wants 22 beers a day (or outright lie about it) that’s good for them. If you want to check in to your DC friend’s apartment from NYC, go for it (and by the way, you doesn’t get any badge related points for that, you can read the “rules” over at Foursquare about checking in from their website or to places you’re too far away from.)

    And I disagree that the badges have “no meaning” like you say above. While I’m not going to add my conquest of badges to any resume, application, or even use it to say “look how great of a beer connoisseur I am” I do think they have meaning because I did earn that badge. I think maybe what you were referring to is that the rest of the beer community couldn’t care less if you have a badge or not, to which I agree. The badge doesn’t say how well you know craft beer, your local town or how well you planned your last vacation. I have no problem admitting that I used Foursquare regularly on my last trip to Brooklyn to try & earn the Brooklyn 4 Life badge (which I didn’t and still don’t know how).

    Overall I think that badges are something the app can give back and use to get people to be returning customers. I don’t think they’re bad at all, but rather a really ingenious marketing tactic and fun.

    • http://frommymellin.com Seth

      Very good points. And I know I don’t get any points for checking in to my friends place in DC from NYC but you can actually trick Foursquare. They have rules but they don’t always work. Also, if you want you can google your way into finding out how to earn any badge.

      And yes, I am referring to the point that I could care less that you earned a badge and you are 100% spot on that earning one doesn’t say anything about how well a person knows craft beer, their local town, etc.

  • http://newyorkaleproject.com Charles H. Decker

    Interesting thoughts. Though, given that you think badges are silly, meaningless pieces of flair (and of course I agree), why does it matter if people lie to get them? I don’t think untappd data is going to be useful to brewers, because while people like us love it, we’re a very small and self-selecting base. No brewery, even a tiny craft brewery, is going to get rich catering exclusively to us.

    I see these people who lie to get Untappd badges (or 4square badges, but I care even less about them since I don’t use it) with a sort of confused pity. It’s like somebody making up a sob story about their mom having cancer to get a bunch of “karma” on Reddit. What are you gonna trade all that karma in for, guys?

    I ignore those people. Meanwhile, I use Untappd to see what you or O’Leary or Lee are drinking, so next time I can see you I can ask how you liked it.

    • http://frommymellin.com Seth

      You use Untappd for the same reason I do, to keep track of what you are drinking and so I can ask my friends what they thought of something. I guess seeing my twitter feed get flooded with people earning badges and re-tweets of that just gets annoying and makes badges seem even more stupid.

      • http://newyorkaleproject.com Charles H. Decker

        Yeah, I was guilty of sharing my check-ins on Twitter for a while before I came to my senses. I just use the app now.

  • http://potablesandedibles.com Vanessa

    I was surprised on Untappd the other day when I checked into my Rye Harvest Ale (one of my own homebrew beers) and saw that other people (besides those I have sent some to) had also checked into it! In Indonesia no less! Too funny :)

    I went and checked the other Shvitzing Matilda (our homebrew/R&D operation) beers and I found most of them had fake check ins…kind of rude!

    • http://frommymellin.com Seth

      I agree, it is rude to check in others beers and I wonder how far fetched that practice is. I wonder how many beers are checked in, in places where they are not even distributed. I understand they can get to those areas by trade but a high volume of such check-ins in a market where a beer isn’t distributed would be highly disturbing. Also, once again diluting the value of any data the app is collecting and almost making it completely useless.

      • Vanessa

        Check out users Linda T, Abel E & Lonnie Y. for perfect examples…I’m 99.9% sure Boulevard, Terrapin & Dogfish are not exporting to South East Asia. 😉

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