Reactions to Yelp tend to fall into three categories: love, (love to) hate, and complete disinterest. Clearly in the second camp, Dave Lieberman of OC Weekly recently unleashed a new round of reviews of Yelpers. His initial take took aim at some of the worst of Orange County Yelp entries—self-indulgent in attitude and poor form in review writing—while acknowledging there is good to be found. That’s not the case this time around.
Some may balk at what seems like a harsh assessment, but Lieberman’s criticism of the entries stems from a concern that we might not be discerning enough when looking to the review aggregation site for information. For one thing, he flags the issue of reviewers who claim food poisoning from a restaurant. As he points out, “Absolutely no newspaper or magazine in the country will allow its writers to claim they got food poisoning or an allergy attack from food at a restaurant under review.”
For restaurants, that’s a tough allegation to get past. Lieberman clarifies, “These issues are the hardest for restaurants to address on Yelp, because there’s quite literally no way for them to move forward; if they argue that it didn’t happen, there’s no saving the client relationship; if they admit that it might have happened, they expose themselves to lawsuits that would cost much more than a lost customer.”
For Joe Plummer, the reviews represent a part of our daily lives and all fair game for entertainment. His Gotta Kid to Feed production company features real actors like Marsha Stephanie Blake and Darren Goldstein reading Yelp reviews and doing what The Atlantic sees as “celebrat[ing] and eviscerat[ing] the site’s particular brand of comically weaponized consumerism.”