Zomato has been proactively delisting non-licensed and non-compliant restaurants from its platform after the FSSAI diktat in September last year.
Taking it one step further, Zomato in its attempt to authenticate the ratings of restaurants, has removed over 300 users from the platform as well.
This is the starting of a Review Bounty Programme (RBP) whereby the company will look closely at suspicious accounts as well as restaurants that are engaging in ‘solicitation’.
The act of solicitation is where the users, especially influential foodies, post a glorifying review for a restaurant in exchange for complimentary food or monetary benefits like discounts.
More than 300 of these accounts have been removed after the company gathered sufficient evidence against the foodies engaging in these “illegal and unethical” practices said the company in a press statement.
RBP’s scope also includes restaurants promoting solicitation and take an action against them.
The process of these actions will start in March where the company will aggressively warn users against suspicious reviews and ratings. The restaurants will receive a notice as soon as such reviews are posted expecting immediate deletion of the concerned post.
If the behaviour continues even after the warnings, the restaurant’s page will show a warning banner regarding the solicitation practices for at least three months.
If in any restaurant users see the malpractice taking place – the restaurant is approaching them to post a good review with high ratings in exchange for material gains – they are being urged to submit a complaint with concrete evidence.
Recently, Zomato had reflected how the table reservation service started in 2016 has been seeing a 45 per cent increase in usage in the last two months. 2018 saw 10.5 million table bookings via the platform.
Keeping in mind that these bookings are done majorly on the basis of ratings on the platform, this is a great move by the company. It authenticates ratings and reviews on the platform and prevents biased influence on users’ restaurant choices.
No matter what traction these restaurants generate in deliveries, the population trusts Zomato ratings when it comes to choosing restaurants. This move is to further keep that consumer trust and keep and expand the loyal user base.