Restaurant wants to make Yelp unreliable



Wait, what? They opened an establishment in Richmond and they’re worried about Yelp?

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It needs the help?


Click through to read the email they sent in reply to one of Yelp’s threats. Genius.


yelp is the new BBB. same tactics. go, Botto Bistro!


“One star means first place, guys!”


I thought Yelp users had already made Yelp unreliable.


Yelp isn’t even reliable enough to ascertain a venue’s street address, let alone whether or not they are worth visiting. Yelpers themselves are a vapid bunch, reading the “reviews” is almost as bad as reading the comments on YouTube.


Too late!

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On one hand I cheer these guys for fighting back against yelp’s aggressive tactics. Because seriously, fuck the shakedown.

On the other, yelp is an amazing tool while traveling. I’ve found some very good restaurants in other cities that I literally would never have had a chance to experience without their tool or a tool like it. Yes the reviews are shit and yes the app pushes advertisements way too hard, but something like it definitely needs to exist because I do love to eat different things, and I need something to point me at the good spots.


I can’t help but think these are the same types of people that, once they get negative karma attached to their forum accounts, decide to start a race to the bottom.


OK, first off, Richmond has a gritty side but is otherwise awesome and up and coming. Don’t take my word for it: google the term “Richmond Rennaissance” and read about all the cool stuff happening here. Gayle Maclaughlin is our kick-ass Green Party mayor that is not afraid of big banks and oil companies. Chris Magnus is arguably the best police chief in the Bay Area, if not the country.

All that said, I’ve been to Botto Bistro and it’s just not very good. If you’re in Richmond and want Italian, go to Salute. You’ll get better food and you’ll be doing business with genuinely nice people.


In spite of my earlier comment (which was merely knee-jerk sarcasm) I can see the value of Yelp, or at least a site like it. If I don’t know anyone personally who can vouch for a restaurant it’s nice to have some kind of guide. But I prefer to look for the local alt-weekly, if one’s available.


Yelp’s reliability depends on where you are. When we were visiting Western Montana, it was clear that almost all of the online reviews were written either by people associated with the restaurant (ridiculous praise with different reviewers repeating the same odd phrasing), or competitors (trashing the place so blatantly that you wonder why it hasn’t been shut down).


Isn’t this kind of like that really annoying kid in middle school who said, “I don’t want any friends anyway! You guys don’t deserve to be my friends!”

I’ve had similar experiences with Foursquare. In Costa Rica, Google had no useful information at all, but Foursquare had checkins and tips from locals that led us to some great food. And as far as I know, Foursquare doesn’t try to extort money from restaurants…

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Yelp really needs to improve their customer service and fire their salespersons.

That said, people raging against the company need to get better at managing their social media profiles. When Yelp falls, the next large company that accepts user-submitted content is going to be the new focus of hate.

I’ve never used Yelp. My best friend swears by it, and has posted a lot of reviews about the various restaurants in Los Angeles that he dines at. On the other hand one of my good friends who was a waitress at a restaurant got work shifts stripped from her for a week because a young couple wrote up a bad review of her service even though she hadn’t been their server. She ended up quitting the job because of it.

Those are the only two people I know that have ever used Yelp or have an issue with it. It’s like anything on the internet: Don’t Trust, and for damn sure verify.


So do you plan to give them a 5-star review to disrupt their plan?


Remember that Yelp Now Has Court Permission to Change Business Ratings for Money.

Yelp has become the local mafia. “That’s a nice little place you’ve got there. Hate to see anything… ‘happen’ to it’s ratings…

You cannot by any means trust a Yelp rating. Companies that refuse to pay for “advertising” on Yelp see negative reviews flood in. Those reviews start disappearing once they pay up.

What I would love is a way for a competitor to come in and be transparent enough to be trusted by everyone. But, it’s a very tricky situation. It’s not as simple as a basic database of reviews – Yelp does need to have a system to prevent other people (i.e. other than itself) from gaming the system with fake reviews. And that system necessitates removing some reviews, some of which may be valid.

I don’t know what the answer is. An open source system with a completely transparent log of all database transactions, including all review deletions? I don’t see that working.

On the other other hand, we would trust Yelp more if it didn’t have an ongoing history of slimy actions. So probably the answer is just “don’t be slimy.”