TripAdvisor - we’ve all used it before and probably even left the odd review or two of in our time. It’s great, but how much should you believe what you read?
Oobah Butler, a London based writer for Vice, wanted to expose the world of fabrication on the internet’s most trusted review site, TripAdvisor. Butler once got paid £10 for writing positive reviews of restaurants, without evening visiting the place. So, he wanted to see how far he could push it.
“One day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation, and society's willingness to believe absolute bullshit, maybe a fake restaurant is possible? ”
So it began. Oobah was on a mission to make his shed London’s top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.
It all started with a cheap disposable phone and a website filled with fake photos and pretentious descriptions of the dishes. What you probably thought in the photo above was a perfectly soft poached egg, sprinkled with parsley, is in fact, a bleach tablet and some shaving foam.
The Shed started at #18,149, the worst restaurant in London, but climbed up the rankings pretty quickly. Within 5 months…and several glowing fake reviews from friends and family later, it got to #156. PR companies were sending freebies, food critics were tweeting about it and people were trying to book dinner on Christmas Day. Madness.
“I realise what it is: the appointments, lack of address and general exclusivity of this place is so alluring that people can’t see sense,”
The phones kept ringing and emails were still flooding in. Six months later, it happened. The Shed at Dulwich was crowned London’s #1 restaurant on Trip Advisor... without anyone having even set foot in it.
So after months of lying and constantly letting people down, Oobah decided bring The Shed at Dulwich to life for one night.
“Now I've created this reality, I think, the only thing left to do is make it reality. In just four days, London’s best restaurant will come alive. I'm going to open The Shed at Dulwich”.
Give the video a full watch for what went down on the night. It involves fluffed up ready-made meals, guests sitting on the roof sipping wine from mugs and an in house DJ playing restaurant recordings. #niche
Oobah concludes by saying you can look at this negatively, and you can’t trust what you read on the internet. Or, spin it around...
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