Another Open Letter

Dear Food Publicists,

Here at MenuPages Boston, we have no problem with you. Sometimes you send us press releases that alert us to exciting events we hadn’t yet heard about and sometimes you send us press releases that are just plain hilarious. We fully understand that it’s your job to generate positive buzz about restaurants and we respect that.

Here’s the thing though. We have a job too, and part of our job is to maintain the integrity of user-submitted reviews. To that end, we don’t validate reviews that obviously come from publicists or people affiliated with the restaurant. We generally get fairly few user-submitted reviews per day, so when four in a row are about the same restaurant, we can smell a rat. The stink only intensifies when two reviews using different user names but emanating from the same IP address are submitted within eleven minutes of each other. Each review hits the same talking points: that this restaurant (a Cambridge pizzeria which we will not name here) is the “only true Italian restaurant in Boston” (one review goes so far as to call it “the best Italian…and not only in the Boston area!”) and that it feels like home. When we inspected the Yelp page for the restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice that a startling number of reviews were from Yelpsters without any other reviews to their names…another near-sure sign of a shill attack.

Food publicists, please chill out. If you want to promote a restaurant, feel free to send us a press release. We love press releases! They’re entertaining! But please stop trying to hijack our user review system. You’re not that good at it.

MenuPages Boston

[Photo: The Shills]


Another Open Letter