Facebook post (OP's link): http://archive.is/lIFF5
Negative reviews left: http://archive.is/js6nY and http://archive.is/hnMmA
The attackers reviews on Yelp: http://archive.is/Itdbw
I'd imagine Andy's actions expose his employer to many liabilities, but there's no indication that Groupon condones these actions thus far.
I'm just saying they gotta hurry up because their customers are not blaming this dude, they're blaming them directly, and it seems to be spreading really fast. Some of those facebook comments have some real vitriol.
Edit: He just changed his name to West C. what a guy :)
Another Edit: Just look at his reviews date - they all are written on July 29-30 - why would anybody write so many reviews unless you receive a commission to do so?
Negative reviews = No sale
Positive review = Sale
Indifferent review = ???
You should patent this: "a system and method to filter Yelp reviews based on Groupons offered in locale" :)
I wonder how long it's going to take before he realizes he is fucked?
Now I know that you could wait to review places, but that certainly seems like a suspicious line. Also 2 of the 3 total reviews he's ever given a 1 star rating to are Sauce (out of 71 total reviews).
So while he probably was just writing the review to help his friend, his review is informative and factually based so really, there is no reason to remove it or the guy's account as far as I can tell.
This also makes Andy J's threat to make his active Yelp friends aware of his discontent with the restaurant make all the more sense as they are obviously better at it than him.
So, while true, it is a bit misleading.
I've gone to restaurants based on their 5-star Yelp average, and ended up not enjoying my experience. I've gone to places with 2 and 3 star averages ("Yelpers say it sucks, but I'll still take a chance"), and loved them.
I wish Yelp had a prediction/discovery engine for restaurants along the lines of what Netflix has for movies.
What do you use instead?
The salesguy is clearly over the top aggressive and likely new to the business. He will get let go, if he hasn't been already, and some other person will replace him. If you deal with sales folks you will find the ones who have had the most success in their career seem to push right up to the line and don't cross it. This guy will no doubt re-calibrate and head back in selling windows or something.
I expect it is the nature of sales, you measure someone on their completed sales, period. You don't measure anything else and they will experiment with different ways of maximizing that number, some of them illegal (see the behavior of the Google sales guys in Africa  as an example) Businesses fire the ones that generate ill will and keep the ones that don't.
Incidentally, "As a resident of San Francisco for over 25 years" is code for "this is my first job out of college". Hopefully he'll be a little smarter by the time he finds his second.
How come every other scumbag tend to be everything above?
Does it naturally attract these sorts of people?
So, I guess it shouldn't be shocking that this former media studies major is not what we'd call a genius. The twitter account includes references to studying at Berkeley, supporting the Giants, Chicago, sharing Groupons, using MDMA, and smoking pot.
I wonder how long before Andy Johnston renames / deletes this account too, as part of his futile attempt at a cover up.
http://instagram.com/p/WF2X88xgST/ (if he takes it down: http://i.imgur.com/GzdJ9su.jpg)
There is a line and this thread is crossing it.
I haven't seen anybody posting his home address, identifying his relatives, harassing his friends, revealing private nicks, or really anything else that I'd associate with a 4chan style doxing.
The DOUCHE is strong in this one. Bet he doesn't make a second year at Groupon. Bet he doesn't make Tuesday.
WC's Yelp is closed now too.
Jobs where being an asshole can be an asset attract assholes. Simple as that.
As far as I can tell, Berkeley's prestige is largely historical, and largely based on the graduate programs, especially in science and engineering. Undergrad engineering programs are also well-respected. Andy should have majored in something other than "American Studies," whatever that is.
Source: I went there.
LinkedIn is a massive circle jerk of buzzwords and whores recommending other whores.
Cold calling seems like a good fit.
edit: Just noticed. I also have only one Yelp friend.
Note that the health score is 83, and could be much worse, and that there were 5 other inspections before that, which were all over 90. http://www.yelp.com/inspections/sauce-san-francisco
In my place, this would mean that their customer acquisition costs would skyrocket from fines for such incidents.
We found a great remedy: answer their calls with a soundboard. We like the Mr. Rogers soundboard . Its fun, harmless, and they'll stop calling very quickly.
 http://www.ebaumsworld.com/soundboards/play/1866/ (warning, autoplays some sounds)
Of course it applies to outgoing calls from businesses, as that's the entire point of the law.
If "don't care" is a reasonable option, then that particular DoNotCall regulation is defective by design.
Apparently, 10 people is a HUGE network.
But I'm not sure if this is what you mean. I'm curious to how you think one can be quantified/qualified on a site to be useful to others.
Is this HN story going to do anything negative to his career?
> "Extortion is a criminal offense of unlawfully obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion."
> "In the United States, extortion may also be committed as a federal crime across a computer system, phone, by mail or in using any instrument of interstate commerce."
> "What is Extortion? The use of threats to extract money from people is a crime in the United States..."
> "Which Kinds of Threats are Illegal? One common characteristic of extortion is the use of threats, that is, an express intention to inflict injury, loss, or some other bad consequence on another person. The threat has to be sufficiently plausible and imminent that it could convince a reasonable person to give in to the blackmailer’s demands. In addition, there has to be some evidence that the threat was actually made for the purpose of obtaining money or property."
> "A person commits the federal offense of extortion if he or she transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any demand or request for ransom or for a reward for the release of a kidnapped person, any threat to kidnap or injure another person, or any threat to injure the property or reputation of another person or to accuse another person of a crime with the intent to extort."
Now that one specifically mentions that threats to injure persons, property or reputation qualify as extortion when done to get money from someone.
Here is the actual federal law:
> "Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
It seems very clear that that is what has happened here.
But if this form of threat by a Groupon employee to extract money from people is not extortion, what is the subtle difference that would enable such threats to be considered non-criminal?
Had the rep instead said "maybe all this could be avoided if you would simply make the time to talk to me for 15 minutes on the phone tomorrow", it might be more cut-and-dry.
The sales punk didn't like how he was treated, so he gets revenge by (threatening) to leverage his own personal network.
It's pretty unlikely this is some organized practice at Groupon.
Is the culture such that anything goes?
Are the systems that review performance of sales reps not catching up with this sort of behaviour?
Groupon allowed this to happen, and it's for Groupon to fix.
Firing the guy would be a knee jerk reaction that would not to me be the right one. Not firing him and doing nothing would be worse. The best answer is a blame-free full review of how this occurred, and how they can design their organisation and process to make it never occur again.
Sounds to me like it's a kid barely out of college who can't control his emotions and is having a pouty hissy fit. His emotional age obviously is not advanced enough to prepare him for sales.
If you want to blame anything, blame the culture (Web 2.0? SF? VC funded world?) that believes that younger is always better.
That said, if we were talking about hiring a node.js dev, and comparing a 22 year old vs. a 57 year old, would "I fail to see how this has anything to do with his age. There are great developers at all stages of life." be applicable as well? Or would it reasonable to make some generalizations while appreciating exceptions?
What might happen: front page of Reddit, followed by the guy being sacked shortly afterwards.
While this is unprofessional to say the least, I see no extortion or anything like it all as the wording states that this recourse is based on a past event and is not contingent on Trip's future actions at all. Also it is everyone's right to tell their friends if they think a place or a person sucks, that's part of what friends are for. And Andy doesn't say that he's going to write a bad review or have his friends write a bad review, he just says that he's going to tell his friends how Trip treated him. That doesn't mean that his friends will necessarily write reviews for him and because of that there is no guarantee of harm in any way.
What's most interesting to me about this whole situation (and the part that seems backwards) is the Trip's way of dealing with this. So okay, a Groupon employee wrote an angry letter to a restaurant owner that was 100% unprofessional and was probably understood by the restaurant owner to be a threat of defamation by the Andy's network of friends. Trip's response? To publicly post the letters to Facebook along with the Andy's name, cell phone number and other contact information so that everyone else that doesn't like Andy's immature letter can call him any time of the day to tell him how much of a jerk he is? It seems a bit much.
Trip's response letter was well written and had good advice but I believe it should have ended there. By making this whole thing public, Trip is really acting no more mature than Andy was when he wrote the offending letter. Not to mention that it could open Trip up to legal liability as I believe California has laws regarding the publication of private facts (e.g. Andy's cell phone number). Either way, I think this whole situation demonstrates a lot of immaturity on both sides.
I don't see how the offending employee doesn't get fired, but I think I would have given the boss a way to make me whole before going public.
What you suggest is more like extorting Groupon back by insisting on compensation for keeping quiet about the extortion -- instead of warning other businesses and customers about Groupon's criminal activities, and preventing it from happening to others in the future.
Obviously Sauce is not the only company who suffered from Groupon's extortion, and I'm sure Andy Johnston is not the only extortionist working at Groupon. Sauce keeping it under their hat in exchange for a free Groupon deal would be unethical and idiotic.
Groupon deals don't even work well, and Sauce already wanted nothing to do with them.
"Extortion is a criminal offense of unlawfully obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion."
"Which Kinds of Threats are Illegal? One common characteristic of extortion is the use of threats, that is, an express intention to inflict injury, loss, or some other bad consequence on another person."
I'm generally not a fan of laws banning blackmail, when the threat is not itself illegal. I find it odd that it would be perfectly legal for me to tell my neighbor's spouse that he is having an affair, or to request money from my neighbor, but it would be illegal for me to request money from my neighbor and promise to tell his wife about his affair if he declines. I'm not generally a big fan of Walter Block's approach to libertarianism, but this is his argument, and I do agree with it: http://mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_2.pdf.
The employer is paying the employee to provide a service according to rules that both parties agreed to when the employee was hired. Insisting that they show up on time isn't coercing the employee, since it's something they freely agreed to as a condition of their employment.
"Restaurant patrons couldn't threaten to leave a (only one) negative review if their service is poor."
The restaurant patron is paying to be served, so they wouldn't be getting something they're not already entitled to by threatening to leave a bad review.
"but it would be illegal for me to request money from my neighbor and promise to tell his wife about his affair if he declines."
The difference here is that you're trying to force your neighbor to give you something you're not entitled to (his money) by threatening to do something bad to him. It's different from the boss or restaurant patron, who are demanding services that they've paid for.
All in all, it seems like just another bad PR day at Groupon.
Generally it has taken a savvy owner to make it work for them. Non-savvy owners would get over-sold by the deals sales reps. At the height of the deals craze, small business owners were getting 5 calls a day from various deals sites.
What Groupon never figured out is how to make a sales organization that wouldn't burn out merchants. So now they're pivoting into being Woot.
I would love to see how many times a business that tried groupon after the first time.
They have tended to be places like paintballing or sky diving, things where the cost doesn't go up that much more with the more people who come. And who can upsell (paintballs, photographs). There's a technical business term for those businesses that I can't remember.
But apparently they do do well out of groupon.
Anything with inventory costs (e.g. restaurants) have a much harder time. Food costs are a significant portion of the cost of serving a table. It wouldn't be bad to have a loss-leader for one or two meals, but grouponers don't become "the next repeat customer", so you just lose money on the meals with not much to show.
A business can make money off a Groupon deal if you don't think of it as a loss leader (since it will just wind up being a loss). You're not going to acquire new customers and they'll likely never come back without you offering another deal, so think of them as a one-time customer and make money off that one visit. It will only work for very high margin businesses where you can upsell a lot of add-ons. And only if you price it so you make money, even just a little bit, if the customer doesn't buy any of those add-ons.
Also common sense thing about the Internet: assume that whatever you send in email has the potential to be seen by everyone, for perpetuity. Hope this sales person was listing a Google Voice number
To say something like this on the phone is crazy, and something to get fired over. To put it in writing is a career ender. Any company that does background checks will not hire someone like this. Absolutely amazing.
Yelp salespeople have threatened restaurant owners that negative reviews would be more prominent (or could disappear if they "ran a deal" w/ them)
Who knows if company policy, but cowboy/cowgirl sales reps are doing a fantastic job of burning goodwill
An offer from groupon would be spam to me and an opinion on yelp wouldn't be seen because nobody I know uses it.
Andy Johnston II GROUPON GETAWAYS
Area Sales Manager
He's the one who published his personal cell phone number and office desk number in his written extortion letter, while acting as an official representative of Groupon, from his authentic Groupon email account. Not my problem.
If you really want to get to the root of the problem, you might try cold calling his number, and advising HIM he shouldn't put his cell phone number in email when he sends threats to people. Maybe he'll hang up on you, and you might "sincerely appreciate him hanging up on you", just like he "sincerely appreciated" the owner of the restaurant doing that to him.
It's on the front page because the voters decided it should be.
> know why this is even on the front page...
> It shouldn't surprise anyone that
Yay! I just completed my HN-comment buzzword-bingo card!!