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Yelp Leaves Tips for Restaurateurs
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From Kim Severson of The New York Times: "The people who try to herd the vast Yelp nation want to persuade restaurant owners to stop offering discounts for reviews. While most of you were heading to the beach [Sept. 4], the Yelpsters in charge of reaching out to local businesses tried to clarify in a memo how the whole customer review thing is supposed to work. It doesn’t, apparently, include a pay-for-play clause. “For starters, paying people to write reviews about your business is another form of shilling and that’s just wrong,” the memo says. “Second, very often you’ll offend a customer and the offer will be quickly outed in your reviews, resulting in unintended negative reviews and/or negative publicity.” The memo points business owners to a section of the Yelp website that describes how best to respond to reviews, both positive and negative. I can see reaching out and thanking someone for a good review, but I had no idea it was common for business owners who have taken a hit on Yelp to search out and to respond privately to the offended diner. You can see how that might get quickly out of hand. Which is why the tutorial is a pretty fun read. Apparently, it’s like “Lord of Flies” out there:

“But please be very careful here: if your reviewer perceives that you are being rude, condescending or disingenuous in any way, there’s a chance he or she could get angry and make the situation even worse. Keep in mind that this is a vocal customer who could well copy and paste your message all over the Web.”

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