I’m sure Yelp used to be a super helpful service once upon a time, but more and more we’re hearing about all kinds of ways to game the system and make an establishment look better than it may actually be.
Or, in the case of Botto Italian Bistro, gaming the system to make it look as awful as possible.
Why would a restaurant want to have the worst Yelp rating in the Bay Area? Well, owner David Cerretini decided to show his disapproval with Yelp when, he claims, they tried to blackmail him.
Cerretini says that Yelp called hime 20 times a week to advertise, and he caved to the tune of $270 for six months. He decided not to continue, and that’s when his negative reviews went up and his positive reviews disappeared. Can Yelp do that? According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, legally they can.
So, Cerretini’s turned his negatives into a positive by offering 25% discounts on pizza to customers who give the Botto Bistro 1-star Yelp reviews. The results have been hilarious, clever, and downright negative in the best way.
Apparently, Yelp sent him a threatening letter about the stunt, but Cerretini isn’t backing down. He claims that the campaign has attracted lots of loyal customers (not to mention great press).
Check out some of the reviews and Botto’s offer after the break.