I have written about my Zomato Relationship earlier, and whilst Zomato has tried to reach out, many others have been quite aggressive about my demanding or on the other hand telling me that I am being vindictive or the popular term whining. So here goes nothing.
Episode 1: Today Nandita found a laughable review from ‘Famous Food Blogger’ in Calcutta who felt that he was not given his due importance by a restaurant and ranted. Whilst everyone was laughing on the english, spellings etc, what was really pissing off was his sense of entitlement. Now mind you, this is not because of being a food blogger, though they are the biggest culprits, particularly the new, freebie ones. There are many moneyed, designation, etc who feel a sense of entitlement but that is for another day. So we had many a great Twitterati climbing the “Thrash the food blogger” band wagon, whereas I have seen many of them behaving similarly. The only point in favour I can say is Restaurants are equally to blame when they call “Zomato Reviewers” and are not ready to listen to such things.
Episode 2: Karthik posted another snapshot which had the restaurant graded 1.0 on Zomato and the reviewer writing ‘Such Places should not be allowed to exist’ Duh!
And in all this, there is for and against for each camp – Restaurants, Reviewers, Zomato.
Zomato has not instituted something called Neutrality team, which checks, verifies reviews and publishes. The speed at which my last review was published appeared that it may be a Bot. On my question, somebody from the team sent me an email. I replied with the link of my blog post. Silence.
A couple of days earlier, I was stuck between meetings and decided to visit a new place. Checking on Zomato, nothing interesting appeared and landed up at an old haunt in Lower Parel.
Sipping on a Lemonade, wishing for a Gin and Tonic, Vella as I can be, decided to check Zomato new Leadership Board. A quick scroll turned interesting and so started jotting down some information.
There are 25 people on the leadership board in Bombay with top at 227 reviews and bottom at 96 reviews done over the past 180 days. This translates into 3327 reviews, 181/2 reviews a day amongst the top 25, with the top 10 probably doing upwards of 1.5 reviews a day. Some of the reviews barely meet the 200 character limit, whilst some are prose of 300++ words.
Passing thru the reviews, rarely did one see any disclaimer of any sort; so back of the envelope calculation that approx Rs. 50 lacs spent on reviews, which is definitely not a big sum by Bombay standards, however spending, and writing for free and all, is a little unbelievable.
Called up a couple of friends at Restaurants asking about this, to hear them laugh, and told me Just because you’ve principles doesn’t mean everybody does. Also we have to run our business. Fair enough. So as a stupid old Man my question to:
- Food Bloggers aka Reviewers – Do you do this. Most answered yes. The younger lot said, why pay when you get it free. The older lot are more selective.
- Restaurants – Ganda hai magar dhanda hai. Do you get repeat business – Not really but it is cheaper than advertising. Also given the proximity and competition, one has to do, what competition is doing.
- Zomato – Do you want to continue selling, get your revenue target (probably Yes) And leave your earlier credibility behind (Probably only Deepi can answer). But it would be a real shame.
To round it off Sidin asked a question – Would you trust food bloggers and visit a restaurant? I am sure his twitter time line or article shall give some answer also.
So as Times of India group is upfront that it is a Marketing company that also provides news; maybe the time has come for Zomato to take a similar stance. I am sure there is a target audience for that also.
What are your views?