Ethic cleansing: At Between Meals, Michael Bauer ever so gingerly toe-kicks the issue of ethics. Did Mel's Diner cross some line when it offered diners 20 percent off their -- oh, let's say bacon burgers and freezer fries -- if they produced a glowing Yelp review they'd penned about Mel's? Now, sure, we, too, tweeted about the offer, asking "sound marketing strategy or shameless bribe?" But with the perspective of a few days (and a hella sleep deficit), we're not so sure what all the simmering outrage is about.
It all started Wednesday, when restaurant PR macher Jared Rivera blogged about the Mel's offer as a "virtual bribe." Well, yeah, but come on: We're pretty certain lines get crossed all the time -- subtly or not -- in the murky PR atmo, especially in as competitive and ego-filled a realm as restaurant marketing. In San Francisco, for god's sake. And anyway, how do you prove, exactly, that you're the author of a certain Yelp review? And Yelp is Yelp: unreliable except for addresses (most of the time), but occasionally entertaining. Whole thing seems like a lot of indignation over -- think about it -- a crappy burger and shake.