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Author Topic: Do Not Allow "Visitor" to post prices! Back to Topics
rhVictoria

Champion Author
Victoria

Posts:1,578
Points:1,305,705
Joined:Feb 2009
Message Posted: Jun 30, 2014 11:05:32 AM

More often than not, people who post under the guise of "Visitor" put up fake prices which are no where near the actual numbers. Perhaps they do this to get their jollies, or to try to influence the market.

This web site should stop allowing anyone to post as a visitor. If someone does not want to take the time to join up and register, then ignore them.

Furthermore, posted prices get included into the average gas prices for the price graph this site produces. The graph gets affected by these wrong prices. SInce this site also tries to sell its data, it should ensure that the prices are accurate.

So, stop allowing "visitor" price postings.
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KatmanDo
Champion Author Detroit

Posts:15,222
Points:3,151,435
Joined:Sep 2005
Message Posted: Sep 15, 2014 11:54:24 AM

" For several days now somebody(ies) has been posting grossly inflated prices under a string up obviously random made-up names with zero history. Today it's "rtryrt76", yesterday it was "cxcxc2" and "snnsjsj" updating the price to $3.99 when the true price was $3.73."

It sounds like someone affiliated with an area gas station is trying to steer traffic away from that low price station -- and increase their own traffic as a result.
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Retired-Coastie
Champion Author Arkansas

Posts:1,627
Points:567,365
Joined:Oct 2011
Message Posted: Sep 10, 2014 10:17:13 AM

You can't fix stupid. You can teach the ignorant.
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GryphonJax
Champion Author Jacksonville

Posts:21,886
Points:2,668,325
Joined:Mar 2007
Message Posted: Sep 8, 2014 8:34:17 PM

A related problem is someone seriously deflating prices for a station. We have 2 stations right off the airport here in Orlando that have the highest prices in the state. One has not changed its prices in at least 3 years, and is know for those prices, yet someone reports prices at least $2.00 below actual, causing the reverse issue of spike trends - in this case a negative trend that doesn't exist.
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MadFueler
Champion Author Winston-Salem

Posts:3,648
Points:727,290
Joined:Sep 2012
Message Posted: Jul 5, 2014 8:05:07 PM

In my area visitor reports are few and accurate. It is some members, however, who tend to repost old reports, post bogus grades, repeat work others have done from the comfort of their home computers, etc. - so I guess the exact nature of your false posting problem depends on where you are.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

Posts:96,170
Points:3,806,315
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Jul 3, 2014 3:29:28 PM

If I'm not mistaken, visitor prices don't show up in searches.

When I see a visitor price, I usually don't pay attention to it.

Signing up doesn't discourage anyone from posting bogus prices and information.
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guy48065
Rookie Author Detroit

Posts:10
Points:50,250
Joined:Apr 2006
Message Posted: Jul 3, 2014 2:42:17 PM

Seriously? Can you read?
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:17,199
Points:2,910,300
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Jul 3, 2014 12:20:57 PM

I find it odd that the person who generates excuses for false price reporters is now preaching about accountablility.
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guy48065
Rookie Author Detroit

Posts:10
Points:50,250
Joined:Apr 2006
Message Posted: Jul 3, 2014 10:28:25 AM

Sense of responsibility? Not for asshats that create an ID for one day, for one purpose--to mislead.
Traceable? Actionable? Who's going to bother? Can mobile updates even be traced & the user blocked?
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,599
Points:3,587,670
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Jul 2, 2014 6:13:47 PM

"I don't see that joining discourages anyone from posting fraudulent info."

I disagree, though I think "fraudulent" is the wrong word. By joining you have at least some sense of responsibility, and you give the moderators a way to back check on you; for example, moderators have determined that several users/different members have used the same computer to make posts. That doesn't mean "visitors" are more likely to post erroneous prices (regardless of the reason) than registered members, but registering provides at least some accountability on the part of the poster.
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rhVictoria
Champion Author Victoria

Posts:1,578
Points:1,305,705
Joined:Feb 2009
Message Posted: Jul 2, 2014 5:05:11 PM

Quite true that people could sign up as members and still abuse the system with false prices. That happened in the Victoria market a couple of times, as noted in the forum "Fraudulent gas price postings" at http://www.victoriagasprices.com/Forum_MSG.aspx?master=1&category=1350&topic=512767&page_no=1&FAV=N

The GB administrators were alerted to the members doing this (likely one person signed up under a plethora of IDs) and they banned those IDs eventually. But the point is that at least they can do something about those members - perhaps even remove their prices from any averages (though I doubt they did). But with the guise of Visitor, anybody can abuse the system with anonymity.
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guy48065
Rookie Author Detroit

Posts:10
Points:50,250
Joined:Apr 2006
Message Posted: Jul 2, 2014 12:09:05 PM

...and it's not just one station. There's another a couple blocks away that also has about the lowest price in the area, and it's been getting the $3.99 treatment lately, too. It doesn't appear to be a grudge thing.
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guy48065
Rookie Author Detroit

Posts:10
Points:50,250
Joined:Apr 2006
Message Posted: Jul 2, 2014 12:04:01 PM

I don't see that joining discourages anyone from posting fraudulent info. Example: I pass the same el-cheapo station 2x daily and often update the price whether I stop to gas up or not. For several days now somebody(ies) has been posting grossly inflated prices under a string up obviously random made-up names with zero history. Today it's "rtryrt76", yesterday it was "cxcxc2" and "snnsjsj" updating the price to $3.99 when the true price was $3.73.

I don't see what anyone has to gain by doing this but I doubt GB is going to watch the logs and delete pranksters that join for 1 day just to steer business away from this station (or whatever other purpose).
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

Posts:4,320
Points:792,560
Joined:Mar 2010
Message Posted: Jul 2, 2014 1:23:30 AM

I made roughly the same point some time ago regarding how the posting of incorrect prices and prices for grades a station does not sell must be affecting the averages, even in some small way, and how that tainted gas price data is used by other companies that obtain it from GB and it's related businesses.

There doesn't seem to be a point to visitor price updates. Sure, use GB anonymously to search for fuel prices and nearby stations, but require an account to post prices. They require an account to post to these forums, or participate in any other part of GB, so why not for prices?

Apparently GBO boasts about how many members they have, so one would think that like any web site, newspaper or magazine they would want to obtain the highest possible circulation numbers, and a visitor's account seems to go against that.

from OpenStore web site:
Our sister company launched in 2000 as a website to help people find cheap gas prices before they're on the road. At more than 230 local websites, over 11 million members, and 35 million mobile app downloads, GasBuddy is an essential marketing avenue for convenience stores to attract new customers.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

Posts:12,690
Points:2,012,020
Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Jul 1, 2014 1:51:49 PM

This suggestion has been added to the Suggestion Tracking List as a new subject.

There must be some motive by GBO to allow visitor reporting, but I don't see that the probability or possibility of a loss of overall integrity is worth it when you consider how easy it is to become a member.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:17,199
Points:2,910,300
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Jul 1, 2014 12:33:26 PM

Sounds to me like it would make more sense to not include visitor data in the average. Sounds like a rather minor problem to me.
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rhVictoria
Champion Author Victoria

Posts:1,578
Points:1,305,705
Joined:Feb 2009
Message Posted: Jul 1, 2014 12:24:11 PM

Here is a case to illustrate my point.

On June 8, some idiot posing as a visitor posted a price for a local station at 160/liter. The going rate in town at that point, at nearly every station is 138.9. For about 70 stations, this error of 22 cents caused an increase in the apparent average price of 0.3 cents per liter. Not a lot, you might think, but for your info, in the Victoria market price fixing is rampant and we are subject to weeks if not months on end of the same price - there is little to no competition here. Thus, a flat graph is evidence of this - any blip calls this into question.

If one looks at the Victoria, BC price graph for a three month period, the blip on June 9 is quite evident. It is not huge, but it shows a trend which did not happen, due to this visitor price being included.

Gas Buddy sells their price data on www.gaspricedata.com - not very reliable if it is subject to tampering!



[Edited by: rhVictoria at 7/1/2014 12:30:24 PM EST]
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:17,199
Points:2,910,300
Joined:Sep 2006
Message Posted: Jul 1, 2014 9:14:18 AM

As I recall, visitor prices are treated differently. They will not overwrite prices posted by members unless those prices are fairly old. That said, it sounds like visitor pricing will only be seen for rarely reported stations.
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

Posts:4,320
Points:792,560
Joined:Mar 2010
Message Posted: Jul 1, 2014 6:38:34 AM

1. No, visitor prices show up in searches and are sorted by price, low to high.

2. No, visitor prices have the same colors, font and placement that member prices have on any list of prices.

3. Only GBO can answer this.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

Posts:12,690
Points:2,012,020
Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Jun 30, 2014 4:54:18 PM

To start with, suppose we list all the effects visitor-reported prices have.
1. Are visitor prices treated differently when prices are searched?
2. Are visitor prices treated differently when displayed?
3. Are visitor prices treated differently when compiled for statistics?
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

Posts:29,599
Points:3,587,670
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Jun 30, 2014 3:45:06 PM

Include me as not understanding why "visitors" post gas prices. I understand that someone might have just heard about Gas Buddy and decided to post a gas price to benefit the viewers, but it's not as if any obligation is incurred in signing up/joining/registering nor is any exerted.

There's not reason that a non-member should be posting gas prices if there's any belief that false prices are being posted. At least with "membership" there's some sense of responsibility and moderators can "shut down" rogue members.

But if you're going to "trust" "visitors" to post gas prices, wouldn't it make sense to know their opinions in the weekly polls? And allow them to comment in the discussions? In other words, why aren't they asked to be members before accepting their price postings?

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Byte_Doctor
Champion Author Akron

Posts:6,462
Points:1,272,265
Joined:Apr 2011
Message Posted: Jun 30, 2014 12:40:01 PM

I tend to agree that allowing visitors to post prices seems like a bad idea. I've always wondered why they allow visitors to do so in the first place. I get that having visitors use the website generates ad revenue, and as a resource I have no problem with folks being able to take advantage of the prices that members take the time and effort to post, but that seems like where visitor access should end.
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