“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
That’s what the cool (octogenarian) kids say all the time. However, when it comes to social media, that could mean selling your soul to the highest bidder. You need to be savvy on social networks. You need to have a plan and a backbone so you can be true to who you are without caving into “Troll Nation.”
Such is the case for Yelp, which seems to face fake review lawsuits every other month. This story may sound fake, but it’s completely true — a San Francisco pizza eatery wants people to hate them on Yelp with one-star reviews so they can be removed from the website completely.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Botto Bistro now asks its customers to post the most heinous possible reviews of the restaurant because it wants to become the worst restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Or, at least, the worst-reviewed restaurant on Yelp.
Why? Yelp has frequently been accused of soliciting money from mom-and-pop restaurant owners in exchange for hiding negative customer reviews. Botto Bistro is no stranger to these phone calls. Of course, Yelp often denies these allegations, but Botto Bistro co-owner Davide Cerretini has decided that if he manages to inspire enough bad reviews, Yelp will stop calling and kick his place off the website.
“I don’t have anything against Yelp. The idea is fantastic, but the blackmailing thing is ferocious. I think I should be the one deciding if I’m on the site or not. At least I can be there on my terms. The only power they have is they make you reliable to them. So, I’m going to be one of the most unreliable restaurants.”
“I want to be the worst restaurant there is in the Bay Area…I think this is the best business move I have made in years.”
And it is so working. From tongue-totally-in-cheek reviews by locals to efforts from complete strangers who just want to make the front page, the bad reviews are coming in droves. Is this complete genius or misguided braggadocio? Either way, it’s a #PRWin.