Our last post in our “Wisdom of the Crowd” series discussed a California judge ruling that Yelp can legally manipulate ratings on their site. Now, a Richmond, California Italian restaurant is giving Yelp a taste of their own medicine. After rulings from a California court and CA Governor Jerry Brown, news broke that Botto Bistro is asking their customers to give them 1 star reviews on Yelp. They want to be the “worst” business on the site, and it looks like they are well on their way.
Based on the article in USA Today, a prime motivation for this was a response to the annoying phone calls – up to 20 a week – asking the restaurant to continue advertising on Yelp. In addition, the CNET article brought up a more powerful reason – apparently Yelp is unhappy that Botto is offering 25% off pizza’s for patrons offering a negative review – Yelp’s terms require a business to NOT give incentives for Yelp reviews. Botto sent a response back to Yelp that started:
I’m contacting you from the Botto User Support Team because we’ve received complaints from the community that you may be removing reviews in exchange of vague explanations to loyal customers.
We are very impressed with the unique and clever way that Botto has decided to address the Yelp issue. They are showing yet again that Yelp does not reflect the “wisdom of the crowd”. It’s also baffling to me why or how Yelp should be able to dictate how a business interacts with their customers. If a customer wants to offer incentives for people to review them, what exactly is the difference than a private Yelp Elite party? Isn’t that an incentive too?
With this said, we do hope that Botto is truly interested in honest feedback from their customers. We are happy to offer them the use of Bizyhood to fully engage with their customers on their terms. They may take the honest approach a little too far though! Check out their Hall of Shame page!
PS – Some of the feedback they have been getting has been hilarious. If you’d like to read about a few of the better ones, check this article out.