A Negative Review Policy and the Streisand Effect

A hotel made the news over the weekend when it was revealed that it was threatening their clientele with $500 fines for bad reviews that get taken out of their deposits. When outed for the practice, their previously golden reputation on review sites plummeted to 1 star on Yelp in just a day. Ouch!

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss what a negative review policy and  ‘The Streisand Effect’ have in common.



Ian: The Streisand effect of the Negative review policy! What’s in front of us!?

Andrew: They’re our drinks apparently!

Ian: Cheers!

Andrew: Cheers!

I don’t know what the hell is in it!

Ian: Like my mother used to say! “Wash your mouth with soap!”

Thank you Barbra for joining us! We have been enjoying this Streisand effect so much we thought we’d make Barbra a permanent fixture on the show.

Andrew: She is our special guest tonight. Today… Tonight…

Ian: Wherever you are in the world! All good! So thank you very much, Our Guy in L.A for sending us a hilarious article. Now, now hilarious for the business. But they are a bit of a silly mob for trying to fine people for writing bad reviews.

Andrew: Mmmm, yep!

Ian: I am gonna let Andrew take over from here.

Andrew: I don’t wanna mention their name.

Ian: You can just Google it anyway.

Andrew: There is this hotel in the greater N.Y area.

Ian: Haha, They are gonna find it!

Andrew: They’d have to do their own Yelp search.

The Hotel does not allow for negative Yelp reviews for wedding guests. Do you know what they do? They charge you 500 dollars for every negative review and either you or one of your guests has to leave.

Ian: And then if you take the review down they will give you your 500 dollars back. How to they enforce this? What ridiculousness isn’t this!

Andrew: Before we get into that: Just before all of this blew up in the media because on of the guests made a big deal about it. Before there were about 30 something reviews. Most of them a bit iffy… But after the media got ahold of this and they put this post up there were ( at that point 19 hrs ago) 572 reviews. So from the odd 30 to 572, and most of them were actually negative. However I just had another look at that particular review site and now there are over 720 since this article was actually posted.

Ian: Oh, no!

Andrew: So once again it is the Streisand Effect! Named after our special guest here. If you try to mess with the natural the natural flow of things. like in this case reviews, you will draw unwanted attention to yourself.

Ian: You do! And now you got the opposite effect of what you wanted to achieve.

Andrew: Absolutely!

Ian: Thank you, Barbara!

Andrew: They only wanted good reviews but of course now every man and his dog is coming out! Their policy is: “ Please know that despite the fact that we and couples love “………….” your friends and families may not. If you have booked “…………..” for a wedding of any other type of event and given us a deposit of any kind there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review placed on any internet site by anyone in your party. WOW!

Ian: I find it very interesting. Wow! I know! I find it very interesting that the hotel tried to deny it by actually saying it was a joke. They did not mean that they were actually gonna charge people $500. Then this email came out from the hotel: A guest supplied a particular news company with. And they were actually asking $500 for the bad review.

Andrew: Unbelievable!

Ian: You can’t make up this stuff!

Andrew: I worked out that they can have a thriving by asking people for bad reviews! And getting guests to pay for them.

Ian: How much would they make?

Andrew: There are about 720 reviews on there. Let’s say it is only 700 negative ones. 700×500=350,000 dollars!!!!! In 10 hrs!

Ian: Ironic!

Andrew: My goodness! Really they have just left themselves open for every nut job to actually place a negative review. And what it has done is that it has crucified their reputation. We are not getting into too much detail but they claim to be an old fashioned type of establishment with old fashioned furniture and all of that stuff. Which is wonderful but…

I have just picked a few random comments about this place, one of them goes: Everything here is old and quirky in a bad way the curtains spell like combination of body odour and cigarette smoke and the cupboards made me feel greasy.

Ian: (laughing away)

Andrew: Yes! Greasy! Like that film you feel on your hands after petting your long haired and it needs a bath. And the furniture looks like something you’d pull out of grandma’s basement.

Ian: No, you don’t want grandma’s basement…

Andrew: Imagine something along the lines of creepy uncle Dave’s overly pungent cologne – smacks you in the face when you walk in and all your clothes will smell like it when you leave!

Ian: Is anybody going to go to this hotel now?

Andrew: Not now! Once again someone quoted their cancellation policy and part of it says: “Cancel at your own risk. We do not accept all cancellation requests.” Which is illegal for a start and is just not enforceable.

Ian: I’d love to know who the management is!

Andrew: Another one: “My girlfriend and I stayed here over the weekend and they limit us to one poop a day or we were to be charged an excess fee of $200.”

Ian: Is that someone having a lend of them, is it?

Andrew: I stayed at a place once, about 20 odd years ago, in Adelaide. It was one of these hostel type, cheap accommodation.  This was my wife and I at the time. They said to us you can either sleep on the double bed or on the single bed and if you guys have a fight you have to make that bed in the morning or we’ll charge you.

Ian: Hahaha, so just made sure you did not have a fight!

Andrew: No! We just jumped on all beds. That is ludicrous!

Ian: I know! It is a bit like saying to a kid: “Do not eat that chocolate easter egg!’

Andrew: Yep.

Ian: Of course the kid will be all over it!

Andrew: And one more review! I’ll censor it because it a bit… You know…

“The maids told us we could smoke weed in the room if we kept it down. But we always be smoking loud! So you know the manager was at the door in 20. We thought he was gonna trip but he was so cool about it! 6/10 we would stay here again!” Of course you would buddy because you can smoke dope in  your room.

Ian: And you would not mind how the curtains smell! Because you could not smell it over your own whatever!

Andrew: Mmm… Uncle Dave’s cheap cologne!

Ian: Once again we are completely flabbergasted by people out in the world running businesses who has little or next to idea of how to manage, run , policies, reputation issues… Come on! They have gone from bad management and now to attorney and publicist to somehow recover their image. If that is even possible. They probably just have to close down.

Andrew: I reckon they were really worried because they knew the reviews  are not gonna be great. I mean the place is just not up to par. Putting all the funny ones aside of course. Excess poop charge etc… I don’t know if that is true or not. The smell of the place generally seems to be a theme if you have a look through the comments. It’s the smell. It’s the sanitation. It’s all of that sort of stuff that really get’s them. I think that is what they were trying to get to. Or rather the management was trying to squash. But once again the Streisand effect! You try to negate something it will come back and bite you on the backside!

Ian: You can’t treat it that way. You either have to make improvements to your establishment, your management etc or you got to get proper customer feedback. Not threaten them with $500 fines.

Andrew: Well, this is the lesson in the streisand effect! Clean up your act and don’t try to squash reviews and make people pay for it.

Ian: Talk to people normally. Get feedback.

Andrew: The only reason this blew up is because they made such a big deal out of it in their policy. And of course the guests got really peeved off and BANG!

Ian: For more entertainment  you can go on and find this particular establishment and read the reviews! There are some real clangers on there! I think most of the ones written the last 24 hrs are not true. They are just people making a point really.

Andrew: Well, they have opened themselves up for it!

Ian: Don’t annoy the public! And don’t be an A-hole when running a business. Alright!

Andrew: And we’ll make sure Barbra comes in every so often. “Just to pop in and say: Hi!”

Ian: Yes, you can tune in for more of the Streisand Effect along the way we will have many, many more examples of it! There seems to be more than I realized.

Andrew: I’ll check back tomorrow! I bet you there will be over a thousand!

Ian: I bet you there will! I bet you they’re on their way to not having a business at all. No one is going to want to go there!

Andrew: Alright, cool! I was expecting a call from Barbra.

Ian: Speak to you all very soon! She should call! Because it could be fantastic publicity we’re giving her… how ironic!





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