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Yelp Wanted: Oakland Cafe Bans Yelpers

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You didn't think you'd seen the last of that little logo, did you? Yelp Wanted—our on-going Eater special investigation into the nuances and shortcomings of the Yelp world—is still alive and well. As always, feel free to share your thoughts.


2006_04_helpwanted.jpgWhile some businesses love the attention they buy receive from Yelp, others are growing annoyed with the empire of would-be critics. Such is the case at Rooz Cafe in Oakland, where the owner has placed a "No Yelpers!!" sticker on his counter in the wake of several negative Yelp reviews that the cafe staff says were "being 'snarky' for entertainment reasons or to impress the Yelp community." Rooz Cafe reps say that if customers do indeed hold complaints, the critique should be mentioned to the staff rather than be posted online "with attitude."

Among the personal attack entries on Rooz's Yelp page comes this review from Yelper Kevin L: "Dyed hair, dirty, gothic type staff. Very rude. This business will collapse into an utter pile of vile soon enough due to the Cafe Nazi."

To counter such negative reviews, the owner put up the now-infamous sticker and told his friends/staff to flood the site with positive reviews.

From Bontastic M: "Never noticed this place on Piedmont Ave. but I've been missing out. FINALLY a place in my hood that serves hummus with their bagels! I'm so going back because they also have 3 sandwiches and one pannini on their menu that are vegetarian (probably all could be made vegan)."

Predictably, once those crazy Yelpers caught wind of the "No Yelp" movement at Rooz, even more attention and low-star reviews were lavished on the cafe. This huff-and-puff review comes from Sonia P: "The "no yelping" aspect of this has my panties in a bunch. How DARE you ban my opinion?? And for this, I shall not return. EVER. Not the best business plan in the world buddy."

In the end, the storm has evolved into a perfect summation of many people's complaints with Yelp: a blind hodgepodge of personal bias, shills and nonsensical ratings that makes for difficult user experience. But, hey, lots of people love Yelp.
· Rooz Cafe [Yelp]
· "No Yelpers"; Says One Local Cafe [screenwerk]
· Yelp Wanted: On the Issue of Pre-Opening Reviews [~ESF~]
· Yelp Wanted: Yelp Nation Responds ... Boy, Does It Ever. [~ESF~]
· Yelp Wanted: The Curious Case of the Magically-Appearing Five-Star Review [~ESF~]

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