Letter From San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — The reputed inventor* of the modern Mission burrito – the Chicano food tube that’s sustained entrepreneurial San Franciscans from the 1849 Gold Rush through both dot com booms, has a problem. Judging by Yelp, the historic Mission eatery has been coasting along more on tradition than taste. Even OG’s aren’t impervious to the brash rules of the review economy, thus a beleaguered La Cumbre rep toils online, addressing their poor reviews one by one.
It's the Cops!
Are you sick of potential dates being turned off by your ex-girlfriend’s online claims that you were a coke-addicted, abusive mess when you dated? Then you will love a new website called Brand.com, which cleanses Google of false information about people, places and things.
Brand.com’s president, Michael Zammuto, told VentureBeat the site’s “patent-pending De-Indexing Action Plan is the first turnkey process that can permanently erase misleading content from Google, Yahoo, and Bing’s search algorithms.”
Does that vile pizza joint down the block have a suspiciously high Yelp review, thanks to a series of glowing, five-star reviews by people who’ve written only the one and also sound suspiciously like the manager but wearing a Groucho Marx disguise?
Well, the long arm of the law is reaching out for them, at last. The New York Times reports that, after a yearlong investigation, New York State is cracking down on the practice of fluffing your online reviews with fake positive reviews, as well as the companies who’ll do the dirty work for a small fee.
A Groupon employee and certified Internet tough guy who threatened to have his friends write disparaging Yelp reviews about a small business owner has been fired.
Last week, proprietor Trip Hosley posted a note on his restaurant’s Facebook page of an email exchange between him and Groupon sales rep Andy Johnston. Apparently Mr. Johnston was displeased with Mr. Hosley’s habit of hanging up on him, so he threatened to unleash his “huge network of friends that are all extremely active on social media” to post negative remarks on Yelp about the bistro.
Two of the city’s biggest online food delivery companies merged in May — but New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is hoping to keep the online food ordering game competitive with a few new rules (well, for now).
Mr. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with GrubHub and Seamless. The agreement states that the companies will no longer be allowed to form exclusive agreements with certain vendors, a release from Mr. Schneiderman’s office states, and they must sever any existing ties within the next 45 days.
Yelp may have inadvertently created the most effective online courtship tool since eHarmony.
This heat map shows where certain words pop up most often in Yelp reviews throughout the Big Apple. So next time you’re cruising for dudes in the five boroughs, why not use it to filter bachelors by stereotype?
Yelp for Help
There are plenty of struggling writers in the city looking for a few extra dollars, so someone has smartly devised a plan to use their skills and to game the very legitimate review system on Yelp. As discovered by Eater, a posting on Craigslist (in New York’s writing/editing jobs section, natch) is hiring people for $25 to write “well-written” reviews on the complaint outpost website for the restaurants suffering with poor scores. In addition to having the penmanship of Frank Bruni, interested writers are required to have 50 reviews in their profile.
Did you pick your Sunday afternoon brunch spot based on Yelp reviews? If a recent study is any indication, you have plenty of company. The Guardian reports that two Berkeley economists have decided to quantify the impact of your glowing Yelp review on that Thai place down the street. The results:
Two more execs are leaving Yahoo. Call it the “Mayer effect.” Or is that the term for bringing Googlers to Yahoo? [AllThingsD]
The social media sector has LinkedIn and Yelp to thank for boosting its image by meeting their projected revenues. The rest of y’all look like chumps. [Wall Street Journal]
Hey everyone let’s freak out and say you can’t read Quora anonymously. But psst…you can. Just change your settings. Problem solved! [GigaOm]
Au revoir, piracy police. At least in France, anyway. [PaidContent]
Yes, you can go to jail for admitting to rape on Reddit. Also, you’re a monster. [BuzzFeed]
Marissa Mayer is reportedly getting straight to work Googlifying Yahoo. She officially made the food in the Valley HQ free again, much to the delight of the company’s starving engineers. [AllThingsD]
Speaking of Ms. Mayer, Dave McClure thinks she should focus on transforming Yahoo into a female-oriented company. Unfortunately, he called his blog post on the idea, “Pink is the new Purple.” [500 Hats]
Craigslist is stifling innovation by suing PadMapper. [New York Times]
Companies actually listen to your online reviews. Rejoice, asshole Yelpers! [Wall Street Journal]
Presented without comment: “Mr. Blodget now presides over Business Insider from a makeshift standing desk in the middle of a 50-person newsroom in New York, where he barks questions (“Is it cool?” “Can we clip that video?”) at his reporters.” [WSJ]