Relentlessly wandering restaurant critic Hanna Raskin has published the e-book Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews on Amazon. Clocking in at 79-pages and priced at $2.99, it is supposedly the "first how-to book for online restaurant reviewers." The online review site Yelp is the home of capricious, insufferable, and degenerate extortionists. It is also, according to Andrew Zimmern, a "forum for uninformed morons." It is a little weird that an ex-professional restaurant critic is giving advice to Yelpers. But sure, why not. Just last year Dallas critic Nancy Nichols wrote that websites like Yelp have "contributed to the mass murder of true critics."
Raskin writes that today critics have less influence and that "the power to determine a restaurant's future rests almost entirely with civilian eaters." She also admits that while the "majority of online reviewers are well-meaning," Yelp reviewers do in fact have "grudges and narcissism." Also: "many of the most egregious online reviews are written by vindictive diners."
But leave it to the famously unanonymous Hanna Raskin to set these scurrilous Yelpers straight by offering a short history of restaurant criticism and telling readers to find their "voice." Readers of the ebook get "practice exercises" with instructions to do things like "print out half a dozen reviews from professional critics" and then underline cliches. Sounds fun.
Also, apparently Raskin is a connoisseur of x-rated materials? Best line from the ebook: "A five-star restaurant is like pornography: You'll know it when you see it, and it will likely bring you great pleasure."