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Houston restaurant bombarded by 1-star reviews in blackmail attempts

Houston restaurant bombarded by 1-star reviews in blackmail attempts

A Houston restaurant owner says he is being blackmailed with one-star Google ratings after refusing to pay on an email claim for a $ 75 gift card.

Aaron Lyons, owner of the Daily Gather in the city center, said he received the email on Wednesday from a man who claimed to be in India. In the email, obtained by the Chronicle, the man threatens to bombard the Daily Gather with one-star ratings from several bot accounts daily until the amount is paid.

“We sincerely apologize for our actions and do not want to harm your business, but we have no other choice,” it said in an email to Lyons. “The fact is that we live in India and see no other way to survive.”

“We ask you to send us a Google Play gift card worth $ 75… we hope this amount will not be critical to you. After selling this gift card, we can earn about $ 50, which is three weeks’ income for one family. Send the code of the email address, and we will immediately stop giving negative feedback and remove the existing ones. “

Lyons said he refuses to pay out of the principal and worries that the man will not stop after the ransom is paid.

“It does not seem like a lot of money, so what if we pay?” in Lyons. “Then they win, and what’s stopping them from raising the price or coming back?”

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Since the alleged blackmail attempt, Lyons said his restaurant has been flooded with one-stars.

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He noted that he has reported the reviews to Google, but the process of getting reviews removed may be timely. Meanwhile, Lyons said he fears the company’s reputation will be damaged.

Lyons, who also owns the Dish Society in LaCenterra, wrote about the alleged blackmail attempt on Facebook on Wednesday. “I inform everyone about this so that you do not think negatively about Daily Gather if you read our reviews, and take negative reviews of any restaurant with a pinch of salt for that matter,” it said in the post.

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