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29 Mar '15

Dropcam footage helps to disprove dishonest Yelp review

Posted by Ben Cook

Most interesting man in world on yelp and Dropcam 

Yelp is great...most of the time at least. However, among the helpful and genuine reviews there are a great many of overly enthusiastic fake reviews and needlessly negative revenge reviews. The latter are every restaurant owner's  worst nightmare because they can have a devastating effect on the business and the owner has little or no recourse against anonymous, vengeful Yelpers.

 In one of our previous blog posts (Big Brother’s Little Brother – how Dropcam  revolutionizes old notions of security & surveillance) we talked about how  Dropcam gives surveillance control back to the people, decentralizes  surveillance power and democratizes security. The rectification of a dishonest Yelp review is a great example of that.

Casual restaurant reviewer Dan W. posted the flowing review on the Yelp page of a Bay-Area restaurant which generally receives favorable reviews. 

---"My experience was at around 730pm on a Wednesday. I was flying solo that night, after a particularly challenging day. The waiter came up and asked how many. I said one, I had planned to sit at the bar or get the food to go. She said "one? no, one?" and then ran off. I waited a minute at the door, and then left. They were busy and potentially understaffed. It's not that classy of a place, but they refused to seat me. Sure, I was wearing jeans and a baseball cap with my flannel shift not tucked in. I had no intentions of taking a full table, just any corner I could fit in, or order off the menu to go once the guy next to me was done with it. Oh well, next time I go out in a group of three to six we'll take our business elsewhere. The key to a good business is to be consistent in the small things. That sucks, I just wanted food and I had cash..."---

This review could have become one of thousands of negative reviews on Yelp and it may, or may not have damaged the business of the family run restaurant.

However, thanks to the detail provided by Dan (time of arrival and a detailed description of what he was wearing) the restaurant owner was able to identify him on the restaurant's Dropcam footage and posted the below video as response to the false claims made on Yelp.


---"In this first video, you can see that you entered at 19:07, which is earlier than you quoted. You can also see that you did not wait a minute at the door. You spent a total of 22 seconds in the establishment. This video also clearly shows that there were other patrons waiting. We are sincerely sorry that we forgot to recognise your very, very "VIP" status at wonderful, a status so special that you don't have to sign the waiting list like everyone else... I've never been to a restaurant where to refuse to seat people because they're wearing what you were wearing... You're dreaming if you think that's why you didn't get service. [...] Dan, we didn't refuse to seat you. You refused to wait in line like everyone else. You thought you were special, so special that you don't have to follow the rules. That's not true, we caught you."---

After this incident people flocked to the restaurant's website to state their support for the family owned business and overall the incident generated a lot of positive publicity - and all that thanks to the Dropcam footage. 

This is yet another incident of how Dropcam has given surveillance power and a feeling of security back to individuals and small business owners.  

1 Comment

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