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Fake Reviews, The Power of Reviews, & “The Shed”

taking-photo-of-foodAPPRECIATING YELP’S FILTERS

The next time Yelp filters a positive review of yours, don’t complain.

Even though Yelp’s algorithms often frustratingly filter authentic reviews, they do a great job of filtering fake reviews.

As a company that relies heavily on review sites to authenticate our marketing claims and service levels, we remain big fans of Yelp and filtering.

100% FAKE RESTAURANT IS #1 ON TRIP ADVISOR

The need for effective filtering was highlighted last year with a comical (and interesting) story about a 100% fake restaurant called “The Shed.”

The Shed was started by a journalist in London last year who wanted to see if he could create a restaurant sensation with nothing but fake reviews.

And, he ended up creating the most popular restaurant in London, even though it didn’t exist.

He started with nothing but a fake phone number, a fake website, and a bunch of raving (but very fake) reviews from friends and family on TripAdvisor.

The best part of his ruse was his fake food photos that included household items like shaving cream, bleach pellets, nail polish remover, and even someone’s left foot.

People, especially “foodies,” fell for it and before long the fake phone was ringing nonstop with reservation requests from actual “locals, travelers, celebrities, and CEOs.”

But, it gets better.

Once “The Shed” became London’s top restaurant, the journalist decided to open up a real fake restaurant in his own run-down backyard garden.

He rented chickens for the “farm to table” effect, he hired actors to rave about the food, and he accepted some reservation requests.

He then served dressed up microwave food (like Mac ‘n Cheese) and wine from jugs on a freezing cold November night, and the guests all raved about the food and the experience.

You can read all about the entire escapade here. There is also a great 18 minute Youtube Video documentary that tells the full story, for those of you who aren’t too A.D.D. to last 18 minutes (I only made it to minute 7 – a record for me).

Anyway there are three great takeaways from all this:

1. As a consumer, be sure you’re reading legitimate reviews!

2. As a business owner, never underestimate the power of reviews! (if you need to generate more reviews – contact our team for help at agentsupport@jvmlending.com).

3. As a consumer or a business owner, you might want to appreciate Yelp’s filtering algorithm a little more. I suspect Yelp would not have fallen for “The Shed’s” fake shenanigans.

Jay Voorhees at (925) 855-4491
Real Estate Broker, CA Bureau of Real Estate, BRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646