21 votes

The restaurant owner who asked for 1-star Yelp reviews

5 comments

  1. [3]
    Wes Link
    Feeling a bit mixed on this one. I find it immensely satisfying to "beat Yelp at their own game", and appreciate the freedom to stop caring about reviews. At the same time he admits to posting...

    Feeling a bit mixed on this one. I find it immensely satisfying to "beat Yelp at their own game", and appreciate the freedom to stop caring about reviews. At the same time he admits to posting fake five-star reviews, and also writing negative reviews for his competitors. That doesn't just seem like feisty snark, but has extended too far into dishonest and unethical territory. That makes it hard for me to rally behind this guy.

    The allegations about Yelp seem plausible. At the same time, a lot of people don't understand tech and are quick to attribute misunderstanding as malice. If Yelp has been cleared by the FTC of this charge, then I find it more likely that they are not manipulating their reviews as accused.

    “Those 1-star reviews were from people who never even set foot in my restaurant,” says Cerretini. “One complained about our waiters… we didn’t even have waiters!”

    Maybe it's another business owner attempting to slander their competition? If it worked for one of them...

    9 votes
    1. Luna Link Parent
      I believe them at this point. I know a few restaurants in my hometown that got fake reviews complaining about items they don't even serve (one was a coffee shop that got complaints about an...

      The allegations about Yelp seem plausible.

      I believe them at this point. I know a few restaurants in my hometown that got fake reviews complaining about items they don't even serve (one was a coffee shop that got complaints about an undercooked hamburger...) or for dinner service at a place that closed at 3 PM. These reviews appeared conveniently after the owners declined to buy ads on Yelp. And when Yelp was informed these reviews were fake, they declined to do anything about them. One gave in and paid the ransom, and the reviews disappeared.

      Yelp is dishonest and is basically the BBB for millennials. At this point I trust Google Maps reviews more than Yelp, and those can be a dumpster fire as well, but I know Google is at least somewhat honest since they deleted a business I reported for offering discounts in exchange for favorable reviews.

      6 votes
    2. Pilgrim Link Parent
      It's the same racket that the Better Business Bureau does. They both collect reviews and if you want the negative ones removed you have to join their club. It's really just that simple, and...

      It's the same racket that the Better Business Bureau does. They both collect reviews and if you want the negative ones removed you have to join their club. It's really just that simple, and surprisingly not illegal.

      3 votes
  2. Pilgrim Link

    How one small business owner flipped the online review ecosystem on its head.

    In 2014, chef Davide Cerretini advertised a special that would forever change his fate: Anyone who left his restaurant a 1-star review on Yelp would get 25% off a pizza.

    See, his Bay Area-based Italian joint, Botto Bistro, was at a crossroads. Like many small businesses, it was enslaved to the whims of online reviewers, whose public dispatches could make or break its reputation.

    He’d had enough: It was time to pry the stars from the “cold, grubby hands of Yelpers” and take control of his own destiny.

    4 votes