“Give us one star on Yelp and get 25% off any Pizza!” chef Davide Cerretini, owner of the Italian joint Botto Bistro, advertised in 2014. The discount would then be changed to 50% after a time. Why would he do that? It was because he got tired of Yelp.
Like many small businesses, [Botto Bistro] was enslaved to the whims of online reviewers, whose public dispatches could make or break its reputation.
In the months after Botto Bistro’s grand opening, Cerretini began receiving dozens of calls from Yelp salespeople, who implored him to buy ads.
According to Cerretini, when he rebuffed these offers, he’d often notice that freshly posted 5-star reviews would be removed from his page — often no less than 24 hours after getting off the phone with a Yelp rep.
“I came from Italy, and know exactly what mafia extortion looks like,” he says. “Yelp was manipulating reviews and hoping I would pay a protection fee. I didn’t come to America and work for 25 years to be extorted by some idiot in Silicon Valley.”
And that is why he made such a crazy offer to customers. For small business owners like him, Davide is a hero.
More details about this story over at The Hustle.
(Image Credit: Davide Cerretini)