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2-min read

Zomato Realizes it Has a ‘Solicitation’ Problem, And Has Decided to Take Action

As Zomato users, everyone is invited to share with proof their observations about a potentially malicious or suspicious review on the platform.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:February 26, 2019, 5:25 PM IST
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Zomato Realizes it Has a ‘Solicitation’ Problem, And Has Decided to Take Action
As Zomato users, everyone is invited to share with proof their observations about a potentially malicious or suspicious review on the platform.
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If you had felt all along that there was something very amiss with the entire concept of ‘influencers’ hawking products on social media platforms such as Instagram with enthusiastic reviews, you were probably right. Zomato, a popular restaurant discovery, reviews and food delivery platform has identified that it has what it calls a ‘solicitation’ problem on the platform and has removed more than 300 high activity users.

As per Zomato, they classify this ‘solicitation’ as, “where influential foodies are incentivised or offer to join hands — in some cases for monetary gains — to write about restaurants.” The company says they took action against the 300+ users after gathering sufficient evidence to prove their involvement in these unethical, and sometimes even illegal practices. “As a core Zomato value, we have worked relentlessly to identify both restaurants and users who engage in unethical means to influence restaurant ratings and reviews,” says Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato.

Starting March, when you open Zomato to browse through and discover new restaurants, you will immediately be notified if the restaurant in question has been persistently involved in gathering suspicious reviews from ‘influencers’ to boost their ratings. As a first step, Zomato will send a warning to restaurants which are believed to be gathering suspicious reviews on the Zomato platform. The onus is then on the restaurants to have these reviews removed from their pages.

If the malicious behaviour continues in tandem with ‘influencers’, Zomato will start to display a warning banner on the restaurant’s page on the Zomato platform. The banner will remain the page for a period of three months. Zomato will be rolling out an update for its app to enable this feature. “This is the first of many safeguards that Zomato will put in place to counter bad actors while placing trust front and centre. We are also working closely with our entire restaurant base to come up with ways to proactively help their business as they work tirelessly to compete in a tough and inspiring food world as well as our foodies who have made our community what it is today,” adds Goyal.

Zomato now has more than 80,000 partner restaurants across 150 cities in India.

The company is also launching the Zomato Review Bounty program. As Zomato users, everyone is invited to share with proof their observations about a potentially malicious or suspicious review on the platform. Zomato confirms that the proofs would include quotations, email exchanges, whatsapp group screenshots, Facebook Groups posts & more—with up to Rs 10,000 worth of Zomato credits for your troubles.

Clearly, only Facebook, Twitter and YouTube don’t have a problem with bad actors on the platform. Zomato is currently in a tough battle with the likes of Swiggy and Uber Eats, in India. Just recently, Zomato launched two more affordable Gold subscription options, called ‘Starter’ and ‘Medium’. Both these packs offer limited unlocks for benefits at partner restaurants, but they are not bound by any specific validity. For instance, the Starter Pack is priced at Rs 300 and offers three Gold unlocks to avail the benefits (2+2 on drinks or 1+1 on food dish). The 'Medium' pack is priced at Rs 700 and offers 10 unlocks with no validity limitations. Once these unlocks are exhausted, you can choose to continue with either of these packs or upgrade to the flagship Zomato Gold subscription which is priced at Rs 1,500 per year and offers unlimited unlocks at restaurants.

Also Read | First Bite: Zomato Now Has New Gold Membership Powerpacks With No Validity Limits And Lower Prices

Also Read | YouTube Has Heard The Advertisers Message, And is Now Cracking Down on Pedophiles

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