mens ugg scuff slippers Prankster gets TripAdvisor to make restaurant number 1
In an article for the magazine, the 26 year old explained that he set up a website for ‘The Shed at Dulwich’, as the restaurant was called, and he began getting friends to write reviews to get round TriAdvisor’s anti scammer software
The website described the fake establishment as: ‘An appointment only restaurant located in South London, The Shed has been operating privately for years.
To convince the website he bought a cheap mobile phone and registered the number as the restaurant’s while refusing to give an address, on the basis that ‘restaurant’ was appointment only.
Each dish on the menu was based on a mood such as lust, comfort or contemplation, with ‘Empathetic’ described as: ‘Vegan clams in a clear broth with parsnips, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Served with rye crisps.’
As more positive ‘reviews’ were received, the ‘The Shed at Dulwich’ climbed the rankings, with its elusiveness sparking curiosity among potential customers.
Among those taken in was Guardian restaurant reviewer Jay Rayner who tweeted: ‘At last: a restaurant that recognises food is all about mood.
The prankster got his friends andacquaintances to write fake reviews, getting round TripAdvisor’s anti scamming software
‘Of all the shed based eating experiences out there this one sounds like the best. Or at least second best. (I have my own shed, hence). Personally I’m keen to try “contemplation”.’
Butler says his restaurant worked its way up the rankings his phone rang ‘incessantly’ as people tried to get make bookings, while companies tried to get in touch offering free samples.
He fobbed off callers by saying the restaurant was booked six months in advance and at one point the website was getting 90,
000 search results a day.
After it finally made number one, he held an opening party, at which he served guests supermarket meals, dressed up to look like they could be haute cuisine.
After the prank was revealed in Vice, Rayner held his hands up and admitted he had been taken in by a ‘brilliantly executed piece of work’.
TripAdvisor spokeswoman said: ‘Generally, the only people who create fake restaurant listings are journalists in misguided attempts to test us.
Rayner later admitted he had been taken in by the prank which he said was ‘brilliantly executed’
‘As there is no incentive for anyone in the real world to create a fake restaurant it is not a problem we experience with our regular community therefore this ‘test’ is not a real world example.
‘Most fraudsters are only interested in trying to manipulate the rankings of real businesses so naturally that is what our content specialists are focused on catching. We use state of the art technology to identify suspicious review patterns, based on modelling of what normal review behaviour looks like.
‘This is why the distinction between attempted fraud by a real business, as opposed to attempted fraud for a non existent business, is important.
‘Real businesses, whether they try to game our system or not, have a footfall of genuine customers coming through the door and those customers contribute to the review patterns we would expect to see.
‘Spotting the difference between a business genuine customer reviews and its fake reviews is one of the ways we catch fraud. If a business does not exist at all, then clearly those patterns are going to differ from normal models of activity.’
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