Small Businesses Strike Back!

Yelp reviewers are the bane of many small businesses.  One reviewer can potentially devastate a business with a few keystrokes and the business owner has limited options to counter the impact of the review.  One of their options might be to file a defamation suit, but it is very difficult to pull off and in some situations makes the situation much worse.

Which is why I find Claire Cain Miller’s post today in the New York Times Bits’ blog so fascinating.

A pizzeria in San Francisco has decided to strike back!

They created T-shirts with the negative customer reviews on them and distributed them to their employees to wear.

This is a brilliant marketing tactic.  It is disarming, and I believe it will be effective for this business. However, I don’t believe this would work for professionals, e.g., lawyers, doctors, dentists.

What do you think?  Will this tactic work for the pizzeria?  

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  1. Jake Myer says

    This is a brilliant idea. It eliminates the costs and time that come with law suits. It also avoids the possible bad publicity that can come when a company sues a website; that it makes the company look like a bunch of whiners, who instead of making good products, decided to sue. In fact, this move has generated good publicity (the cited NYT article).
    Additionally, when a customer sees the shirt and asks about it, they will get an explanation about the bad reviews on Yelp. A customer, who never would otherwise use Yelp, may have the intensive to post a good review.
    From the Lawyers point of view, ideas like this would endlessly please clients (assuming they work).

  2. campbell says

    So what are doctors and dentists supposed to do? We can’t respond to the defamation because of HIPPA . We deal with a**holes on a regular basis who rip us on rating sites because they don’t want to pay their bill or think we should have kissed their booty more for their lousy $10 copay. Do any of the reputation defender sites work? If so how do you choose one? Most of us don’t have the time to sue or the money for lawyers.

  3. Greg says

    Wow, this isn’t rocket science folks. If your business is being targeted reviewer, it’s quite simple to post some fake “postive reviews” to counter balance. Ok so technically this is dishonest but do the yelpers represent a fair-cross section of your customer base anyway? Typically, you get a higher of proportion of gripers on review sites. It’s an unfair situation to begin with, so who says you have to play fair as a business?
    Not rocket science folks…

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