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follow Patrick 2019 Jun 9, 3:29pm
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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.But the move would set Cerretini at the center of a long-standing battle between Yelp and disgruntled business owners — a battle including cries of “extortion,” review manipulation, and predatory advertising tactics. ...In the months after Botto Bistro’s grand opening, Cerretini began receiving dozens of calls from Yelp salespeople, who implored him to buy ads.According to Cerretini, when he rebuffed these offers, he’d often notice that freshly posted 5-star reviews would be removed from his page — often no less than 24 hours after getting off the phone with a Yelp rep.“I came from Italy, and know exactly what mafia extortion looks like,” he says. “Yelp was manipulating reviews and hoping I would pay a protection fee. I didn’t come to America and work for 25 years to be extorted by some idiot in Silicon Valley.” ...Eventually, Cerretini relented, plunking down $270 per month to advertise his business on Yelp. But after 6 months, he found the service “useless” and cancelled it. Once again, his star rating plummeted.In the spring of 2014, after turning down another Yelp salesperson, Cerretini claims that four 5-star reviews were filtered from his page, and three 1-star reviews were suddenly catapulted to the top of the page. For the chef, this was the final straw.“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!”Cerretini began to realize that Yelp was “completely controlling [his] reputation.” And after mulling things over, he decided it was time for more extreme measures. ...Soon, he came to a realization: “What if I don’t give a shit about reputation? What if I take away their power by actually making it worse?”One morning in September of 2014, he placed a simple sign in front of Botto Bistro: Give us a one star review on Yelp and get 25% off any pizza! Hate us on Yelp. (The discount was later increased to 50%.) ...“I knew the people at Yelp were going to hate me, but that’s exactly what I wanted,” says Cerretini. “I didn’t want them in there anyway.”His protest came at a perfect time. Days earlier, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that Yelp had the right to manipulate reviews, and its advertising tactics were a form of “hard bargaining” — not extortion.Small business owners were furious, and they were looking for a vigilante hero. ...The next morning, Cerretini pulled into his parking lot and was greeted by an “avalanche” of journalists, fellow restaurant owners, and supporters. They all wanted to know the same thing: How did it feel to just… not care about reviews?That Friday, Cerretini did more business than he typically did in an entire month.“I had to ask the restaurant community for help, extra pizza dough,” he laughs. “It was an absolute madhouse. I’d never seen anything like it.”Most supporters refused to take the discount, but were thrilled to write a review and partake in what they deemed to be a grassroots, anti-Yelp uprising.In a few days’ time, Botto Bistro’s Yelp page attracted more than 2,300 1-star ratings (95% of its total reviews) extolling the good food, proper service, and rustic ambiance. “Botto Bistro sucks,” wrote one reviewer. “Delicious food priced fairly. One star.”This earned the restaurant the distinction of being the worst-rated restaurant on Yelp. ...Today, Cerretini has forged a career out of his 1-star publicity: He does private cooking classes and events that run up to $3,000 a pop.In the aftermath of his press, he’s become a celebrity in the restaurant scene — a Davide who went up against a tech Goliath and emerged self-empowered.“I’m the only person who beat them at their own game,” he says. “I left a black mark on that company. I trolled them. I humiliated them. And now, they avoid me like the plague.”
I know some people do, but I really hope most people don't take reviews seriously from almost any of these sites (food specifically). People that leave reviews, at least from my experience, are fucked up people looking for attention. Positive or negative. Eat the food and move on with your day. If it's bad (service or food), people will just stop going naturally. And if you have a problem, grow a pair and discuss it like an adult with the manager or owner instead of running and typing up a shit review that maybe they could have remedied.
What are peoples thoughts on Trip Advisor reviews?
WookieMan saysWhat are peoples thoughts on Trip Advisor reviews? I love trip advisor. Often it's the bast place to go to get pictures posted by patrons that you don't see on the attractions website, and to date, censorship is minimal.