Code of Conduct
If there’s one thing we truly love, it’s sharing in all the great foodie moments you have, whether they are good, bad or ugly.
While we welcome your opinions and descriptions of your dining experiences, there are a few things we expect from every user on Urbanspoon. Your reviews and photos, as well as your profile and the comments you share, are all subject to Content Guidelines, our Foodie Code of Conduct.
If your activity on Urbanspoon doesn’t match up to these content guidelines, we reserve the right to take action as we deem necessary. This could include altering or deleting your reviews or comments, or deleting your Urbanspoon account altogether, with or without notice. Urbanspoon also utilizes an algorithm to aid in removing suspicious reviews. If you feel your review was deleted in error, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foodie Code of Conduct
- Keep out the clutter: To make sure we collectively work towards building the highest-quality content that’s useful to everyone, reviews need to be a minimum of 140 characters long for dine-in reviews. That’s just about the length of a tweet, so it’s convenient even for all you micro-bloggers. If you cover the food, service and ambiance, you shouldn’t fall short on characters. We do not have 140 characters limit for an online order review. However, if any review is filled with junk, we might have to remove the review altogether.
- Keep it relevant: Please keep your contributions relevant to Urbanspoon. Accounts placing irrelevant, inappropriate, or promotional content, that solicit customers, that spam restaurants, or are based on any already disclaimed or informed policies and practices of a restaurant, may be deleted without notice. If your review has been removed or moderated by us and if you repost another experience for the same restaurant, we reserve the right to remove that review too, even though such review might be in line with our content guidelines.
- Keep it clean: Whether you’re writing a small snippet or a delightfully detailed account of your meal, keep foul/abusive/hateful language, threats, and lewdness out of it. We, just like you, hate junk and will delete it whenever we see it. This also includes (but is not limited to) derogatory comments on someone’s protected characteristics (e.g. race, gender, religion) or indication of a personal vendetta against a business and its associates.
- Keep it fresh: Only one review per restaurant for a dine out experience and one review for each online order transaction can be submitted and your most recent experience at a place counts. That’s what is going to help people when they’re trying to decide whether or not to eat there. You’re free to edit and update your review based on subsequent visits at any time. Reviews about old experiences (more than 6 months old) may also be deleted from our platform.
- Keep it real: Write your review based on facts and your own experiences (e.g. not a friend’s or any hearsay experience or based on media reports). Please don’t exaggerate or falsify your experience. We do not take sides in cases of dispute, so make sure you can stand by your word. Content that indicates the reviewer hasn’t even visited or availed any services from the restaurant will be removed. For example, “Never been here, never want to. Management is horrible and the food is worse!” Deceptive, fake, or misleading reviews will be removed. Reviewing a bunch of fast-food outlets in quick succession (even if you eat at them more often than you should) is considered suspicious activity, and it’s likely these reviews will be moderated. Accepting or soliciting a kickback – monetary or otherwise – in exchange for reviews or photographs is also not acceptable and could result in removal of your profile.
- Don’t steal: Plagiarism is something we take seriously. Copying others’ reviews or photos from Urbanspoon or other platforms, or even re-posting your own in multiple places on Urbanspoon (in full or in part), is something that will not be tolerated and may be removed or moderated. We trust that you’ll play fair and create your own content.
- Tell the whole story: If you luck into a free meal or dine as a guest of the restaurant or have a relevant association with a restaurant or its owners, give full disclosure in your review. We’re sure that honesty is the best policy, and other users will respect you even more for it. If you have made it to the major league as a food writer or critic, let us know and we can provide special access for your blog link to appear with your reviews. We love summaries, but incomplete reviews with a manually added link will be removed.
- Be yourself: Your profile is your identity on Urbanspoon, so keep it real. You’re welcome to use a screen name (foodonym, maybe?), but please refrain from using inappropriate names, bios, or profile images. We want to stay clean, and we might end up removing your account depending on how inappropriate your profile is.
- Don’t misrepresent: Identifying or promoting yourself as an official Urbanspoon blogger or using your status to solicit benefits in exchange for promotion or at the threat of negative reviews on Urbanspoon will not be tolerated. If reports or evidence of such instances are brought to our attention, we reserve the right to delete your Urbanspoon profile, no questions asked.
- Don’t be a bully: We take allegations of blackmail or threatening behavior against restaurants and its associates very seriously. This activity is strictly against our guidelines and may also be illegal in many locations. Reviews submitted in an attempt to blackmail a restaurant and its associates will be deleted.
- Play by the rules: The content you add should be in compliance with Urbanspoon’s Terms and Conditions, including terms and conditions of any of Urbanspoon products, as well as the prevailing local laws and regulations. Local laws take precedence, and content may be moderated or deleted to adhere to these.
- Seek help from the right people: Urbanspoon is a website and mobile application with no claims to be a court of law or a ministry of health (we aren’t serious enough to do those jobs). If you have a dispute with a restaurant, or if you feel a restaurant does not measure up to health codes, we encourage you to contact the appropriate authorities directly. Urbanspoon is not the appropriate platform for reporting illegal activities, physical confrontations, health code violations, or anything under investigation by local governing bodies or law-enforcement personnel. We encourage that such accusations be reported to the concerned authorities rather than being mentioned in reviews.
There’s no easier way to show how deliciously chocolate-y that chocolate mud cake was than with a picture, right? That said, it’s important to keep in mind our photo guidelines, and understand why some photos may be moved or removed once they’ve been added.
Food shots that are clear, in focus, and delicious enough to make the viewer wish Urbanspoon included smell-o-vision will be featured in restaurants’ photo galleries. Ambiance shots that highlight the overall feel or vibe of a place will also be highlighted on restaurant pages.
Photos that don’t make the cut to appear on a restaurant’s page, will show with your review or on your profile depending on how useful it is to other users and how relevant it is to the review. Photos with hair and bugs will be shown only with a review for validation and context.
Exact duplicates or confusingly similar photos, plagiarized photos, promotional content, photos of others posted without their permission, and very unpleasant photos that ruin people’s appetites and photos containing and focussing on subjects other than food or restaurant ambiance will be removed or moderated altogether. Sorry, no room for negotiation here.
Guidelines for Restaurants
Urbanspoon is a great way for restaurants to reach out to our vast foodie community. A few things you should keep in mind:
- Keep your listing updated: While our team makes every effort to keep information on Urbanspoon up-to-date, we appreciate you letting us know when an update is required. If your timings change and your listing is not updated, customers arriving late won’t be too happy with you (or Urbanspoon).
- Don’t solicit reviews: The best way to get reviews is to delight customers with your food and service. Selective solicitation is a strict NO, and offering any type of compensation or kick-back for reviews is unfair, so you definitely want to keep away from that, too.
- Respond to criticism positively: Take two deep breaths when you get a negative review. Three, if required. This happens to all restaurants who have customers. The customer is always right, even when they are wrong. Take the unflattering reviews as constructive feedback and use it as an opportunity to fix things. Whether you agree with the feedback or not, take the criticism in good spirits. You can reply with a management response to show you care, but please don’t use this as a platform to hit back or offer the customer an incentive to edit their review. Your response can’t be edited after posting, so choose your words well.
- Be accountable: Urbanspoon will not moderate any questionable activities about your restaurant posted in reviews. (e.g. serving shisha where it is not permitted, serving alcohol to minors, or staying open later than permitted). Urbanspoon may also not moderate or delete any reviews where any third party service provider is involved. Such a review may be retained if it falls within our guidelines. This business requires thick skin – stating the perceived attitude of owners or employees and reporting of individual actions are not considered personal attacks.
- Don’t entertain: Fulfilling the demands of customers who ask for benefits at the threat of bad reviews or ratings, sends a message that this behavior is tolerated. Similarly, inviting users who have reviewed and given a low rating back to the restaurant for a complimentary meal, invites false negative reviews. These issues affect the entire community and require everyone’s participation to curb their prevalence. Please report users who engage in such activities to email@example.com.
- In a concerted effort to maintain the neutrality of content on Urbanspoon, restaurant owners, employees, and any affiliates with business interests are no longer permitted to write reviews on Urbanspoon. We understand that being in the restaurant industry, you are truly passionate about food, and would love to share your experiences. But when you’re unavoidably invested in your business, it becomes hard to leave emotions (and bias) at the door. This is a step towards maintaining neutrality – and quality – of the content on Urbanspoon.
It’s also important to note that we (Urbanspoon) have no employees or affiliates who are paid to review. If any guest identifies themselves as an official blogger, review employee, or associate of Urbanspoon, it’s not true. Employees of Urbanspoon are contractually and ethically forbidden from using their status to solicit free meals or receive special treatment. If you observe any such practice, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Appropriate action will be taken against the user or employee if evidence can be provided.
Urbanspoon Employee Code of Ethics
Employees of Urbanspoon are expected to adhere to and uphold the highest standard of ethics and integrity. This includes acting in accordance with our core values and the below listed policies at all times.
Urbanspoon employees are prohibited from using their employee status to solicit discounts, freebies, or special treatment at restaurants. Unless visiting a restaurant for official business, Urbanspoon employees are to refrain from identifying themselves as employees of Urbanspoon.
All Urbanspoon employees in client facing roles including but not limited to Sales, Sales Support, Neutrality, and Client Servicing across all transaction/ business/function at Urbanspoon are prohibited from writing reviews and/or giving ratings for dine out experiences on Urbanspoon from either their personal or Urbanspoon accounts. They are also not permitted to influence others to write biased reviews or give ratings.
Urbanspoon’s review and photo moderators are required to always act in favor of keeping Urbanspoon a neutral platform. They are required to use their best judgement in implementing moderation guidelines and are prohibited from giving preferential treatment to restaurants. Deleting any authentic review from a restaurant page is in violation of our policies. Similarly, keeping reviews, which are proven to be unauthentic, is in violation of our policies.
Please email email@example.com if you witness any behavior not in compliance with this code as it is in direct violation of employee contracts.