'Yelp' on Serious Eats

Restaurants: Here's How Getting a Good Review on Yelp Is Done

[Credit: The Rivera PR Blog] PR blogger Jared Rivera unearths a restaurant in San Francisco that's essentially bribing customers with a 20 percent discount to write reviews of it on Yelp. Sure, it doesn't say a positive review, but as Gawker points out: ...But if you didn't enjoy your meal, a 20 percent discount on the next one isn't going to motivate you to do anything, including writing a Yelp review. Those who do write up a review will be inclined to add extra star-age, since they'll be presenting the review directly to restaurant staff. It all adds to an easy way for the restaurant—in this case, Mel's, an unremarkable 1950s style diner — to juice their online ratings.... More

Today Is Yelp Day

Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared today Yelp Day in San Francisco. This is the second year the community review site has been deemed worthy of a day of its own by the mayor; here's the text of last year's Yelp Day proclamation. [via Eater SF]... More

Zagat vs. Yelp: A Restaurant Review 2.0 Showdown?

Randall Stross compared Yelp and Zagat in the New York Times on Sunday. While he correctly noted that Yelp now covers more restaurants than Zagat, and uses this as a launching pad to compare and contrast the two companies, he leaves out the most relevant points. Most notably, he completely whiffs on recent business goings-on in the world of user-generated restaurant reviews. My first question is what do serious eaters think about both Zagat and Yelp? And while you ponder that, here's what Stross should have pointed out in his comparison.... More

Yelp Extorting Businesses

When Mary Seaton received negative reviews on user-generated review site Yelp for her business, The Sofa Outlet, Yelp offered to help her out. But only if she paid $350 a month for a business account in which Yelp downplays negative reviews by moving some of them to bottom. However, while positive reviews may be scrutinized and removed, negative reviews are never taken off a business's page. Yelp's practice of extorting businesses that have been negatively reviewed on its website actually isn't a new practice at all. [via Eater]... More

Threats of Negative Yelping For Free Food

"Customers have begun threatening to 'Yelp' the restaurant if their demands are not met," says Marsha McBride of Cafe Rouge in Berkeley, California. The San Francisco Chronicle's restaurant critic Michael Bauer looks at the problem of customers threatening to write negative reviews on user generated-review site Yelp in exchange for free food.... More

Oakland Cafe Squelches Yelpers

Rooz Cafe has placed a NO YELPERS! sticker on its counter in reaction to the commentary on its Yelp listing. Don't know Yelp? It's a review-it-yourself social-networking site that's crazy popular in the Bay Area.... More

Michelin, Yelp, Zagat: Who Can We Believe?

The Wall Street Journal runs an article questioning the validity of online restaurant reviews by writers who are comped their meals. Two days later, Michelin releases its 2008 New York restaurant guide. These two events provide a perfect opportunity to discuss the relative merits of reviews and judgments rendered every which way, from on high (Michelin and the New York Times) to online (Yelp, Zagat, and food blogs). More

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