My FB rant about Urbanspoon and Yelp posts

I posted the below text as a “Note” on my FB account today. It mainly resulted from the following review of my restaurant:

“very average pizza…too many other great pizza places.”

That was the entire review. Nothing more. I don’t mind criticism. But I don’t get the point of some of these Urbanspoon ****es. Anyway, I wish Urbanspoon, Yelp, etc would put put something like this on their website as an introduction. Or maybe have a waiting period for posting. Something that makes people think before they post. Sheez

"While I’m at it, let me get on my high horse and say a few things about Yelp and Urbanspoon reviews. My wife and I own Next Door Pizzas and, like so many other small businesses, we have poured our own personal savings, time, and energy into making it a success. We have created over 30 jobs in our community (thanks to help from Summit Bank of KC). Countless businesses in our community are in the same position.

When you post negative things on the internet about these businesses, it hurts. It hurts the business, it hurts the owner, it hurts the employees, and it hurts the community. So I encourage you to read this before you post.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

First, if you simply do not like the food or product at a business, why say anything at all? We are not offended if you don’t come back because you don’t like our food. We think our food is great, but everybody has different tastes. But what purpose would you serve by posting this information on the internet? Do you gain notoriety? Is it self-inflating? In our mind, what you are saying is that you hope we fail. Obviously, you don’t want us to improve or you would have kept the conversation private, right? Imagine if your boss was dissatisfied with a project you completed. Would it be more useful for him to publicly announce your poor performance or tell you in private? And think, if the business fails, what have you gained? A vacant storefront? A community with fewer jobs? A bankrupt family? And for what, because you didn’t like the style of pizza?

Sometimes, however, we businesses earn negative feedback. And if we personally mistreated you, I expect you to go sing it from the mountain. It is your right. But, have you first considered e-mailing me to see if we can make it right? Were you vocal enough about your dissatisfaction to allow us to correct it? Is it fair to the business to criticize them on the internet for something you were unable to criticize them about in person? Before you make that negative post, ask if you are willing to make those comments in person to the business. If not, perhaps you should reconsider your post.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

The internet is a great tool which has opened up countless opportunities for small businesses. It also provides a large voice to the otherwise voiceless. But be conscious about whom you are speaking. If the public could evaluate your job performance every day, would they find negative things to say about you? Now imagine, they could post those things on the internet. Now imagine that you had no recourse about what those people said. Not pretty, is it?

In conclusion, please be considerate about us small businesses next time you decide to post reviews on the internet. Is it worth the pain and sorrow that it causes small businesses in your community? Would you like it if people publicly criticized your job performance?

Thanks for taking the time to read and I apologize for the grammar in this post, as I’m sure I did not proofread it :)"

The only advice I can think to give is to close your facebook account and stay off the internet. A faceless internet guy said you weren’t great. So what. Grow some thicker skin. Not even a complaint.

Don’t embarrass yourself with a note like that. You will never win on the internet.

My wish is the trip advisor, urban spoon, yelp etc would let the reviews, good and bad, expire after some reasonable time. A three year old review of a restaurant is simply not relevant. I think that if all reviews dissapeared after 24 months it would be a good thing for everyone.

Yikes don’t take it so personally. I agree one faceless person…
I would take your note off fb :shock:

I disagree, I think you make some solid points. This may be a coincidence but I was strolling along averaging about a 4 and a half star on yelp when I was approached about advertising on yelp…I kindly told the person that already do the free advertising and that I wanted to see a little more results before I paid for a pay for click. He gave me an example of one person who advertises with them…Bazbeaux Pizza went from 8 reviews to over 100
so the VERY NEXT DAY I see my yelp updates come in.
short and sweet

My three daughters hate the taste of the pizza. Free isn’t cheap enough for them. Papa johns or dominos is a much better choice.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/rockstar-pizza-brownsburg.
now there is a place for owner comments. I just dont know how to approach this,
and how is a guy with so few post not filtered (by the way same day I loose 7 great reviews to “filtered”
probably a coincidence BUT read this
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/gyrobase/ … toryPage=1

if that is the worst review you received consider yourself lucky…me personally I would not post that note because it will not change anything and just bring ALOT more attention to the negative comments. Just ignore it and focus your time and energy on your business which you can control…move on, you cannot possibly please everyone

We had 1 review on yelp at our new location
“The pizza was decent and the delivery time was fair”
this is the entire review
So, Yelp starts calling me to advertise with them
I told her " why would I want to spend $300 per month to direct people to see that we have a 3 star rating and decent pizza?"
I suggested that I could ask my customers to put reviews for us on yelp
She said those would likely be filtered out - that they only wanted reviews of their Yelp community showing.

Paul

Famous - good solid advice. I guess I don’t mind thoughtful negative comments when we deserve it - we reap what we sow (and we certainly have some of those). We deal with those complaints with lots of sugar. I also am not offended if people do not prefer the taste of my pizza - everyone is different.

I guess I’m just astonished that some jackleg would take time out of his day to post a review alleging my food was average. Or another jackenape that thought my cracker thin crust because he couldn’t fold it over like NY stylesome pizza.

Pizzamancer - Your point is well taken, but I’m more attempting to manage my internet presence. If someone grafitti’d your store, you’d clean it right? If it happened multiple times, you’d take measures to stop it. In this cyber world, I think it is important to be proactive in managing my net persona. Just my philosophy though…

So, while I guess my post is a bit of sour grapes it was meant to be a little educational to those who view it. I’m reminded of Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles:

“Here’s an idea, next time you’re having one of your [Urbanspoon Posts], try having a POINT. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.”

had a similar yelp experience! pissed me off too. We go to such great lengths to provide a quality product, but still need to stay competitive with all of the crappy chains. The guy that fried me was an east coast transplant and said our New York style was nothing close to NYC. His expectations were very high and I simply cannot replicate what he is looking for and keeping the product affordable at the same time. We get ten times the compliments than we do complaints. I can count on one hand how many times people were not pleased. However, he decided to take his plight to yelp for all the world to see. Definitely sucks, but a sign of the times. The internet is a place were people can get high and mighty and still remain anonymous. I guess all that can be done is keep trying harder and service the customers that value our shop. Definitely agree with the posts about not drawing attention to it, will only make it worse and introduce a whole large group of people to yelp and that post and make them think twice about your shop. Great point by poster in creating jobs. My shop is in a small suburb of big city, still think the community benefits more by independents than putting up another Little Ceaser’s.

Wow, “alleging my food was average”. :roll: Maybe, to him/her - your food WAS average. Big deal. Do you really think that everyone is going to think your food is spectacular?

IMO, you are making a huge mistake with that post and trying to defend yourself against comments based on opinion instead of specific facts. If the comment said that he paid $3,000 for a large pizza, then you could argue that fact. But how can you possibly argue with someones opinion?

That said, if someone posts “it was the best pizza ever” - you will be okay with that, even though it is the same - just opinion.

I can understand your irritation, really. But you are just making it much worse than it would have been.

You missed the point entirely. The “cybery world” as you call it has some new rules that you don’t seem to have any idea about (no matter how much you believe in yourself). And making a lame note is not being proactive at all. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the restaurant industry:

If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.

I take ant positives or negatives with a grain of salt.
An example is the guy here who won last year’s World Championship Pizza ( 2nd time he has won it). A second outlet he opened just on the city restuarant strip gets heaps of reviews with about a 50/50 split for like and dislike. It is apparent that a couple of other high profile outlets are either having staff or friends rubbish this guy. They say things like " never go back, I will go to XYZ or ABC as they are much better", or “just as bad as Domino’s but with a gourmet price tag”.
Some other comments that people in the industry say, not the general public, so it obvious someone is trying to white ant him.
I went to his shop when we were closed mainly to try his famous dessert pizzas and we had a selection of pizzas which were very good, plus some dessert pizzas which we were completey disaapointed in. Funny thing people raved about his dessert pizzas and all of the negatives were about his other pizzas. The competitors who I think bag him don’t do dessert pizzas.
Just like one bad review we have had on Urbanspoon. They wrote “New Paint Job Means Poor Pizzas” - " they painted the place up and made it nice at the expense of the ingredients. For mine I will keep going to XZY pizzas at … " . This other place is 20 mins away from us and has about 10 or so other places between so it isunlikely it is a local writing the review. Around the same time this review was made a staff at the outlet was bleating that they would win the state title as the best pizzas and would wipe out all other pizzas stores in the northern suburbs (where we are located). Go figure.
If you join up to these review sites then be prepare to take the good with the bad and be prepared to cop flack from competitors you may be hurting.
We are on every review site and accept that we will get bad reviews as well as some outstandingly good ones.
The main thing is most people who post on these sites are serial posters and you see them on all sites and the review everything department stores to lawnmowing guys, so don’t take any negatives to heart as they may be some nutter filling in time who may have never been to you place anyway.
Your best review is your business growth. If you are growing, keep getting new customers who say “I was recommended to your place”, or customers who phone and say “your pizzas were great” and you get a lot of repeat customers then this is the best review.

Dave

Kind of a timely post on Slashdot.

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/01/06/0634237/Why-Creators-Should-Never-Read-Their-Forums?from=rss

Here it is:

“One full-time Indie developer writes about why he never goes to online forums discussing his work and why he advises other creators to do the same. It’s possible to learn valuable things, but the time and the stress just don’t justify the effort. From the article, ‘Forums contain a cacophony of people telling you to do diametrically opposite things, very loudly, often for bad reasons. There will be plenty of good ideas, but picking them out from the bad ones is unreliable and a lot of work. If you try to make too many people happy at once, you will drive yourself mad. You have to be very, very careful who you let into your head.’”

I’ve had to come to grips with some bad reviews as well, mainly on Trip Advisor. The majority of our reviews are good to outstanding, but there a few that fall short and only one of them appears to be our fault. Some of the complaints are just ridiculous…such as “to brightly light, like a cafeteria.” Really? Or a complaint that it’s not good pizza because only good pizza is available in New York and it’s not NY style pizza. I have had to learn to overlook these comments, but it wasn’t easy.

One thing I will say about Trip Advisor, we are ranked very high at the moment for Restaurants in our city and were all summer. There have been at least a dozen or so new customers, mainly tourists, that have said Trip Advisor was the reason they decided to eat at my shop. It also seems that the more popular you are, the bigger the bulls eye on your back is. Once we hit that mark, more reviews started to pop up, but it’s really out of my hands and I won’t reply to a bad review unless it’s evident that we screwed up. The only thing we can do is to continue to work on improving, from the food, to the service and everything else involved in running the restaurant.

YELP is especially bad, so much that, a number of lawsuits have been filed against them for their ‘practice.’ While it hurts to see obvious comments that may have very little to do with your business, our practice is to reply as much as possible. Although there have been a few, that were just so far off the mark, as to look like a rouge comment that had nothing to do with our store. Its tough to swallow, but it is what it is. Not much stopping a competitor from posting a vile comment about your business.

Ha, Ha.
I went to look at our Urbanspoon status today and saw an unbelievably bad review along the lines of “the pizza taste much worse than it looked if that is at all possible … da de da da”.
Funny thing tonight we got a call from a new customer telling us our great our pizzas are that he got tonight and he will be telling everyone. Couldn’t stop praising us.
So who do you believe.
I guess you put your shop out there on these sites and you get serial posters. The guy who gave us a bad rap has “reviewed” 114 food places from one end of the metro area to the other (about 80km) and has dissed 78. I bet he has never set foot in our shop.

Dave