How many of you have heard of an online service that rhymes with "SCHMELP!". (hopefully you can figure out which site I'm talking about... but I don't want to name them here, 'cause I don't want to be the subject of a lawsuit)
It's a website that allows the public to review local business (restaurants, and such)... and gives personalized experiences by members of the public. It's one of the ways that I know many people are using today to find new restaurants to go to.
One of my colleagues has a son who recently opened a rib joynt, in Chicago... so he was hoping for some good reviews from the public via SCHMELP! Oddly enough, soon after opening, the only reviews that appears on SCHMELP! seemed to be negative. He couldn't understand it, since the general feedback from the public, and more traditional printed reviews had been so positive.
Finally, a bit frustrated, he contact SCHMELP! to see, if perhaps some good reviews just hadn't been pubished yet. They informed him, and this is the part that floors me, that "yes, there were positive reviews too... but they would only publish negative reviews... and would HOLD all positive reviews until the restaurant agreed to pay SCHMELP! $500.00 per month.
Yes, you heard me right. It is SCHMELP!'s policy that they will only print negative reviews until you pay up! The owner of the new fledgling restaurant contact the local authorities who informed him that unfortunately this was perfectly legal. They could publish whatever they wanted on their own website. The negative reviews were totally legitimate, and they could choose to publish only the negative, if they so desired.
It's an electronic shake-down! Plain and simple.
Now, fortunately, word of mouth has spread, and his traditional foodie-reviews have been excellent, so he's doing well, in spite of SCHMELP! But I have lost a great deal of respect for the SCHMELP!.
ALAN MAY, Realtor®
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 2929 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779 Cell: 847.924.3313 Email: Almay@aol.com
Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate • Licensed in Illinois
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