Tabelog, Japan’s Yelp Reportedly Tainted By Undercover Positive Review Agents

tabelog logo

A popular consumer restaurant review site Tabelog [J], who has been competing the top position of restaurant listing site against Gurunavi with user-generating-contents power, admitted on January 4 that there were reviews and ranking manipulations on Tabelog, by third party agents who sell a package like planted favorable comment posting and voting for rank-up, according to 47 News.

Kakaku.com, Japan’s big price comparison service who runs Tabelog, said that they confirmed the agents existence in January 2011, a year ago, and posted an alert on the Tabelog’s site policy page. Kakaku said that they identified 39 agents at now, and are thinking to take legal actions to stop them.

The number of Tabelog’s monthly visitors is 32 million, and how many stars (out of 5) restaurants have on it now affect how much they attract guests.

Sankei reported that Consumer Agency started collecting information [J], and 60 restaurants union of monja-yaki(Eastern Japanese style pancake) in Tsukijima, Tokyo, investigated and found at least two of their members paid an agent to manipulate the online reputation on Tabelog [J].

Nippon TV broadcasting network(NTV) reported this news at night news on 5, which aired (via @kansaitakako [J]) that a certain restaurant told it that it paid 1,000 yen per day if it was ranked within top 5, 500 yen if 6th to 10th. TV-Asahi and other channels also reported.

Back in November, a Turkish restaurant Topkapi in Aoyama, Tokyo, got attention by net users by writing complains on a shop owners page on Tabelog, which claimed that Tabelog’s agent pitched them to buy such review manipulation plan. Tabelog warned Topkapi that the “official 49 agents” must not do such dirty work and at the end deleted the text. For net-savvy, it is not so strange that open internet sites can be manipulated, but as newspaper and TV’s report this incident, regular people are expressing their surprise, which show how they depended on the site.

See Also:

47 News interviewed an agent (video) [J]

Yahoo! Market Opens For Android By Yahoo! Japan

Yahoo! Japan started its own Android Market, Yahoo! Market [J] on October 9.

The market is based on Android applications information from the official Android Market, comes with Android app news provided by several Japanese Android app review media/blogs, such like Octoba, Sumaho-Girl, Andronavi, EX Droid, giveUp de Android, etc. Over 300 reviews per month is expected, which is the largest in Japanese according to Yahoo! Japan.

Each app page, most of which information seem to be taken from the official Android Market and so there are not only Japanese but all language apps, has a link to Yahoo!’s popular Q&A service Chiebukuro (Japanese version of Yahoo! Answers) so that users will ask about the app to all Yahoo! Chiebukuro users.

Currently, it seems to be just another app review site, though it has many reviews providers and potential visitors from Yahoo! Japan. According to Japan Internet.com, Yahoo! Japan is planning to implement apps registration/sale functions in Spring 2012.

I noticed that the site’s top-level navigation has “Android App” button, which does not make much sense if only with it. Yahoo! Market may have another corners, maybe iOS and/or Windows Phone apps later.

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Press Release [J]

Androidoll – Android Apps Review Site For Girls

It was 2 months ago that I introduced a new segmented Android Apps review site for Otaku – Moedroid. Now, rapid-spreading Android phones in Japan has brought us another interesting review site, for Japanese female cellphone users, Androidoll [J].

“Android apps review site from the viewpoint of girls” is the catch they put in large on the top.

Another catch, “You need apps to be cute!”,

The site offers Android app generators, by which you can create your original Android apps – 1. your original movie player app (max 15 seconds), 2. your photo album app (max 15 photos) and 3. clock gadget app with your own photo.

Their apps ranking on today:

  1. earthquake alerter
  2. polygraph app
  3. ShootMe – screen capture by shaking handset
  4. app to display nail arts overlay on your finger
  5. QR Code Scanner
  6. Dolphin Browser HD
  7. Kaocho – easy typing Japanese emoticons
  8. Try On Accessories – display accessories over your photo
  9. twicca BETA – Twitter client
  10. Skype

Moedroid – Android Apps Review Site Only For “Moe” Apps

Moedroid [J] is a Japanese Android review site which introduces “moe” applications only. “Moe” is a Japanese slang which means “little, adorable and cute” mostly in the context of Anime. So the site is dedicated for introducing cute Android applications.

The main content is “moe” Android app reviews. There are app rankings, featured corner to teach how to customize your Android with cute themes, icons, etc. So far, 80 applications and 7 comics are reviewed, all “moe” but no pornographic.

Unfortunately, this niche review site is only serviced in Japanese.