• Botto Bistro sign encouraging one-star reviews for a pizza discount (sfweekly.com).

      Botto Bistro sign encouraging one-star reviews for a pizza discount (sfweekly.com).

      Botto Bistro, an Italian counter service restaurant in the San Fransisco Bay Area, decided to fight back against Yelp, according to a sfweekly.com report.

      Co-owner Davide Cerretini claims that at one time he was getting as many as 15-20 calls a week from Yelp asking the owners to advertise. They finally did. Once the restaurant stopped their advertisement, the positive reviews vanished and negative ones shot up to the top.

      Cerretini aspired to be the worst reviewed restaurant on the site, and started offering 25% off to customers who left a one-star review.

      Yelp sent a threatening letter for “buying Yelp reviews,” or as Cerretini describes as buying, “bad reviews”.

      ——————————————————————————–
      Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:28:59 +0000
      From: feedback@yelp.com
      To: [Redacted]
      Subject: Message from Yelp HQ [ 2800338 ]

      __________________________________
      SEP 15, 2014 | 11:28AM PDT
      Hi Michele,

      I’m contacting you from the Yelp User Support Team because we’ve received complaints from the community that you may be offering incentives in exchange for reviews.

      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.

      If you are offering incentives in exchange for reviews, we ask that you immediately discontinue such activity. If we learn that this type of behavior has continued, we may take action on your Business Account which could include suspending access to your listing. It may also result in a Consumer Alert being placed on your listing: http://officialblog.yelp.com/2012/10/consumer-alerts-because-you-might-like-to-know.html

      Regards,
      Marvin
      Yelp Support
      San Francisco, California

      Yelp Official Blog | http://officialblog.yelp.com
      Yelp Support Center | http://www.yelp-support.com
      Yelp for Business Owners | https://biz.yelp.com

      ————————-

      From: [Redacted]
      To: feedback@yelp.com
      Subject: RE: Message from Yelp HQ [ 2800338 ]
      Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:43:36 -0700

      Hi marvin,

      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.

      To be clear, this violates our Terms of Service (http://www.bottobistro.com/FAQ.html), and reviews removed under such circumstances violate Botto’s Content Guidelines (http://www.bottobistro.com/FAQ.html). We also often find from loyal customers feedback that such practices do more harm than good, as the practice creates distrust amongst loyal customers and users who now eye your site with suspicion.

      If you are offering this explanations in exchange of removed reviews, we ask that you immediately discontinue such activity. If we learn that this type of behavior has continued, we may take action on our Business Account which could include suspending all activity to our listing. It may also result on adding a Yelp Customer Alert page on our website and in our Newsletters.

      Botto User Support Team

      The restaurant started getting some great one-star reviews and their popularity shot up.

      This is a reminder that Yelp is not a public service entity but a massive, publicly traded corporation whose goal is to make money.

      Take the Yelp reviews with a grain of salt and use your own judgement.

      Below are some of the one-star reviews:

      Botto Bistro Yelp


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