Botto Bistro to the
Goblin King of the restaurant world AKA Yelp: “You have no power over me.”
Since it first launched back in 2004, Yelp has grown into something of a tyrannical behemoth in the food world — even being granted legal permission earlier this month to manipulate reviews for money. Because business or something.
Still, not everyone is so willing to cower before the review site’s supposed “might.” In an effort to undermine the reliability of its Yelp listing, the Botto Bistro Italian restaurant in Richmond, Calif. has actually started offering customers discounts for writing negative reviews.
According to Inside Scoop SF, the five-year old establishment is on “a mission to the the worst-rated restaurant in the Bay Area.” Owners Davide Cerretini and Michele Massimo hope to prove that bad Yelp reviews won’t impact their business, nor that of “any other successful restaurant.”
The results of the tongue-in-cheek campaign have proven to be at worst confusing, and at best, utterly brilliant. Loyal and amused customers have brought their witticisms by the truckload, docking the restaurant stars for food that tastes too good, waiters that serve too well, and experiences that remind them way too much of Italy.
The clever stunt has not gone entirely unnoticed by Yelp’s legal team though, which, kind of ironically, recently reached out to the Bistro for “offering incentives” in exchange for reviews. The cease and desist letter read:
To be clear, this violates our Terms of Service (http://www.yelp.com/static?p=tos&country=US), and reviews written under such circumstances violate Yelp’s Content Guidelines (http://www.yelp.com/guidelines). We also often find from user feedback that such practices do more harm than good, as the practice creates distrust amongst customers and users who now eye all reviews on a listing with suspicion.”
Pardon us if we respond with a big ol’ EL-oh-F*CKING-EL.