Q. When is a review not a review? A. When it’s censored

A friend of mine recently had a bad experience in a restaurant.  She and her husband only WENT there because it came highly recommended on a restaurant review site.

So, after complaining at the restaurant and refusing to pay for part of the meal she decided to put her own review on said site.

Today, she received this email:

>Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2007 16:55:35 +0100
>Thank you for your recent review of Gurkha Grill
>As you may have noticed, it has not yet appeared on Sugarvine’s Reader
>Recommended section.
>The aim of this section of the site is for people to recommend restaurants
>they have enjoyed to other people — we have tried to make this clear both
>in the title (Reader Recommended) and in the FAQs box (Our policy on Reader
>Recommendations). We don’t post negative reviews for two reasons — legally
>we have been advised we are on unsafe ground posting potentially libelous
>comment unless we have actually visited ourselves and also we have no way of
>differentiating between ‘genuine’ poor reviews and malicious reviews from
>jealous competitors, disgruntled staff etc.
>We do, however, forward these reviews to the restaurant concerned,
>explaining that whilst we are not going to publish what has been submitted
>to us, this is legitimate customer comment which they might wish to take on
>I do hope you will continue to write restaurant recommendations for us.
>Daniel Coffey

Is it just me that doesn’t get it?  You can submit your reviews, but only if they’re good.  In which case – what’s the point of the reviews?  You don’t get a full picture of what all the customers really thought, you just get the few that thought it was fabulous – which is misleading surely?

Imagine if you could only say great things about anything you ever bought.  Imagine if theatre critics could only say good things about the plays they see, or food critics only publish rave reviews for restaurants they’ve finished. 

Criticism is an essential part of building a business.  How do you change those things that people don’t like if you don’t allow them to criticise?  In this age of online reviews and word of mouth marketing, this sort of censorship is not welcomed by anyone I know of.

Come on Sugarvine, there must be a better answer than censorship. 


Filed under Personal


On Tuesdays, I work from home.  This means I don’t spend 3 hours of the day in my car (hurrah!) and getting work done in a quiet, uninterupted environment – unless you count the cats fighting for space on my lap.  My boss is convinced that I spend every Tuesday in the pub, but my local doesn’t move with the times enough to have a wifi broadband connection so alas, I’m sat at my dining room table with my laptop and a pile of paper. 

It’s a great place for me to work on my latest projects – all will be revealed soon – which has resulted in me spending hours trawling through the internet looking at how social media has been used for marketing initiatives and recruitment solutions.  I’ve seen some really really bad examples, and some really really good ones, but this in particular made me smile:


Well done Focus PR!  Engaging and light hearted, eyecatching vlogging at it’s best.

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Filed under PR, Social Media, Vlogging

Four Poofs and a Cock Up

Currently I’m reading Citizen Marketers which is an interesting insight into how social media has made word of mouth easier and how companies ignore their customers at their peril.

Then today, I stumbled across this:


In case you don’t want to read it, basically a bride to be wrote to Noel Gay, the management company of Four Poofs and a Piano, of Jonathan Ross fame, asking how much it would cost to hire them for her wedding.  The email was duly forwarded on within the company, resulting in an email response to the bride. As follows:

Bride’s email:

"We are getting married on Sunday 30 September 2007 at Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Every week when I tune into Jonathan Ross I say it would be great if they could play at our wedding so here I am to see how much an appearance from 4 poofs would cost. I expect its out of my budget but at least I’ll know I’ve tried!

Look forward to hearing from you."

From ‘Jane’ to ‘Lou’

Dear Lou

Oh dear!

Another …Thank you.


From ‘Lou’ to ‘Catriona’

another bloody wedding – what’s wrong with people?

Thank you


From ‘Catriona’ to the bride:

Dear Karen,

Thank you for your interest in 4 Poofs & A Piano. This date looks to be feasible. The boys usually go out for around £4,000 for this sort of thing.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,

The bride, outraged, posted it on a public forum – full of other brides (and presumably potential customers) who were also outraged and quite rightly she replies saying she really didn’t think they meant to leave the insults on there, and includes the link to the topic in the forum.  Someone from Noel Gay comes on to make an apology (which most of the readers don’t buy) and the damage is done.

Then I write about it on here and who knows who will read it after that?  Which is a perfect example of how powerful word of mouth can be.

I certainly won’t be using Noel Gay next time I need four poofs.

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Filed under Social Media

PR Job Watch takes off!

Pr_job_watch Our Facebook group, PR Job Watch, is really taking off.  We now have over 100 members and with recruitment consultants and PR agencies signing up to advertise their jobs there there may finally be an easy place to see what’s happening in the PR job market.  You don’t have to join if you’re worried about your boss seeing you belonging to a job focussed group – just bookmark it and come back when you need us. 

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Filed under PR, Recruitment

Flashing Farce

The London 2012 logo has been unveiled.   If it’s not enough that the vast majority of people hate it (I was at a conference today where we were asked who liked it – 3 people raised their hands) – it’s now having to be removed from the website amid fears that it can trigger epilepsy.

On the BBCs Sports Editor blog, Clare Stocks asks us to give it a chance.  The 53 comments on her post so far don’t seem that gracious about it.

I saw it and thought "eurgh" – and how dated will that look by 2012?  I’m waiting for it to grow on me.

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Filed under Current Affairs

Fame at last!

No, I’m not one of the reserve contestants for Big Brother 8.  One head hunter on there is enough don’t you think?  Instead I’ve been featured on Louise Triance’s blog, of UK Recruiter.  Thanks Louise!

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Filed under Recruitment

Is this the future?

This You Tube clip is American, but makes interesting reading nonetheless.  Whether the figures predicted are accurate is anyone’s guess but if they are there is one thing for sure, recruiters aren’t going to be out of a job any time soon.

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Filed under Recruitment