THE CURIOUS CASE OF FAKE BLOGGERS
A recent fictional satire piece on a food blogger being arrested by the Delhi Police throws spotlight on the blogging culture, and restauranteurs reveal that they face such incidents in reality
Recently, an article made waves on the Internet where a food blogger was arrested by Delhi Police for faking her/his way into cafe and restaurant. For free food, of course! While the story was a satirical piece on the blogger boom, it did strike some resemblance to many such real-life regular occurrences.
Social media users poured in with their own accounts of being fooled by such bloggers, and that’s when we decided to look further into this.
Inderjeet Singh Banga, owner of Prankster, a restaurant in Gurugram, says, “We get a lot of requests from individuals claiming to be bloggers, but they have no credibility and can barely differentiate between a sandwich and a burger. We have dealt with many such people.”
Manvi Chaudhary, director, Pier 38, CyberHub, concurs, “Trusting a blogger is difficult. Not just one but most of them are fake. They have no knowledge of food, ingredients and other stuff. They just have a smartphone with a good camera, and can click and write random things (they sometimes don’t even do that). If the police were to arrest such people, our prisons would run full.”
The emergence of such bloggers is one reason many restaurant owners prefer to go through agencies to procure legit food bloggers. “We get few bloggers, but all of them are credible. The responsibility for that lies with the agency,” says Abhinav Sharma, director of Urban Grill by Chef Scotty.
However, agencies too feel helpless when it comes to checking the bloggers’ credibility. An independent publicist who looks after pubs and clubs in Delhi-NCR, says, “I, too, encountered some [fake bloggers] initially, who ate free food, and then vanished. I kept chasing them... Now, I am more careful and check the credibility before engaging with food bloggers.”
However, the ‘credible’ food bloggers blame restauranteurs for this sudden rise in ‘fake’ bloggers. Sneha Saikia, a Delhibased food blogger, says, “I
have been writing about food for nine years, and have now stopped going out for the reviews. All thanks to these so-called ‘food bloggers’.”
She adds, “First of all, they have minimum knowledge of food and it’s because of them, that our whole community gets blamed for being fake. I have even seen bloggers asking restaurants to pack the food. But, I blame owners for that. For the sake of publicity and gathering views, they invite random bloggers. They should check the credibility prior to sending the invites.”
Another food blogger, Maneesh Srivastava, says, “It’s a very complicated situation. Nobody is going to
Not just one [blogger] but most of them are fake. They have no knowledge of food... They just have a smartphone and can write random stuff. MANVI CHAUDHARY RESTAURANTEUR
If you are offering food, you are responsible to make sure you’ve invited the right person. Restaurants crave publicity, that is where they are at fault. MANEESH SRIVASTAVA FOOD BLOGGER
really benefit from this. I believe if restaurateurs have problems with somebody, they should talk it out openly. If you are offering the food, you are responsible to make sure you’ve invited the right person, and if they are leaving without paying the bill, and you let them be, it is your fault. Restaurants crave publicity, they need stories and that is where they are at fault.”