Image via VICE
The Shed in Dulwich is rated as the number one restaurant in London with amazing reviews on TripAdvisor and an appointment only restaurant basis. Except this restaurant does not exist! Wait, what?
Oobah Butler, a writer for VICE, wants to trick the users on how they are being deceived easily by an online review. The meals never took place; that the reviews were all written by other people like me. Long before he was working in VICE dot com, he got paid 10 pounds to write good reviews about a restaurant despite not ever eating there.
Over time, I became obsessed with monitoring the ratings of these businesses. Their fortunes would genuinely turn, and I was the catalyst.
He began transforming his garden shed into a high-end restaurant, set up a fake website, and enlisting a photographer to take pictures of the food that looks like a 5 star Michelin dish, however, close up shots feature shaving foam, bleach and at one point, the author’s foot.
Butler convinced TripAdvisor that his shed in Dulwich, south London, was a real restaurant by buying a cheap mobile phone, registering that number as the restaurant’s and refusing to give an address because the “restaurant” was appointment-only.
And then, 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? Maybe it’s exactly the kind of place that could be a hit?
Over the months, The Shed in Dulwich manage to climb the rankings, thanks to Butler and his friends who kept leaving positive reviews.
The review on TripAdvisor, image via VICE
The menu also caused interests, with each dish describing a certain mood such as lust, contemplation or comfort.
TripAdvisor told The Telegraph in a statement:
“Generally, the only people who create fake restaurant listings are journalists in misguided attempts to test us. As there is no incentive for anyone in the real world to create a fake restaurant it is not a problem we experience with our regular community – therefore this ‘test’ is not a real world example.”
With the constant emails and phone calls from customers who want to eat in The Shed and Butler keeps giving excuses of fully booked, he finally creates an idea of how the people have envisioned the restaurant to be and open it free of charge for fear of being sued. People who got called to dine there gave only the best reviews. Talk about being pranked, right?
You can watch the full video of his journey and experience here.
This video is viewed at over 12 million and going!
After the goal of achieving number one on the best restaurant to dine in London, he finally reached out to his TripAdvisor’s visitors to let them know on the experiment. In the video, he writes this
“They told us that although the experiment was eye-catching, it didn’t really say much about fake reviews in the real world, as most fraudsters are only interested in trying to manipulate the rankings of real businesses which differs to our fake restaurant.
Even with famous people and foodies commented on the good reviews of this place, would you still be deceived by it?
Tell us what you think of this whole fake restaurant.