Thoughts & Ideas

August 5, 2014

Union Street Guest House’s bad policy generates 1000+ negative reviews

When the news about Union Street Guest House’s policy, that would allow the inn to charge its guests $500 per negative review, broke out on 8/4, unhappy readers decided to take revenge.  Let’s see which review sites were the most popular channels for the readers  to showcase their frustration.

Here is a screenshot of the policy that started all this, in case you were interested.



Here is the break down of generated reviews by each major review site as of 7:43pm EST 8/4:

# of reviews before 8/4 # of reviews now # of new negative reviews
Yelp 52 599 547
Facebook 24 462 438
Google 5 273 268
Foursquare 0 14 14
Tripadvisor 113 113 0



As you can see from the screenshot, Google may have spotted an unusual activity and stopped updating this profile. The current rating is frozen at 4.2/5, as it is clearly much lower now.  One of the downsides of crowd-sourcing is that unhappy reviewers started marking Union Street Guest House as “closed”.

Total Reviews: 273

42 Negative Ratings (star rating without written reviews)

226 Negative Reviews Written

5 Reviews from before.




As of 7:43pm EST, Tripadvisor was entirely avoided; the latest review is 3 days old.




With 547 negative reviews, Yelp seems to be the winner in number of new reviews.




Given Facebook’s recent interest in reviews, which prompted the website redesign with a dedicated review page (read more), they are the close second to Yelp with 438 negative reviews.



Before the news broke out, Foursquare had 0 tips/reviews; it is at 14 tips now.

From the previous experiences, Yelp and other review sites will normalize these reviews. For a example, Big Apple Pizza, where the owner bear-hugged President Obama and had over 2900 positive Yelp reviews,  now has only 29 left (see here).


In conclusion, as it stands now, Union Street Guest House is obviously in trouble.