No Yelpers, But Some Publicity’s Good

    August 17, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Not that he’d know who’s a Yelper and who’s not – it could even be a ham-fisted way of getting publicity that’s likely to backfire – but a café owner in Oakland has reportedly put a sign in his window that reads "No Yelpers."

In her blog post, CNet’s Stefanie Olsen doesn’t mention the café-owner’s name, nor the name of his café. Of course, various commentators on the Internet didn’t mind pointing fingers.

The sign appears to many to be akin to the infamous "No shirt, no shoes, no service" signs of the past – okay, so those signs are still up in a few places. But there are no pictures either, so it all could be made up. There’s no, um, sign of the sign in the Google Street Views picture

If you don’t know, Yelp is a consumer review website where people can rate local businesses. Presumably the owner of the café wanted to keep his potential online critics at a safe distance.

But one person in a comment section hints that it may have been more of a joke, others have labeled the move colossally stupid as it nearly dares people to go online and bash the place.

Hasn’t happened yet, though, Rooz café is still getting rave reviews there.  At least, that appears to be where they’re all talking about.

It demonstrates a couple of important points though. Online reviews can be powerful in both directions, even if blatantly manipulated to be positive by the owners or negative by competition. And as we know about Wikipedia, too, where there is a vested interest and anonymity, there will be mischief.

The other point is this: In a more transparent world, you better be on your game. Shine your shoes, stand up straight, mind your manners, do your job, be a servant, and most of all, do not tempt the Internet.