Your anonymous OpenTable reviews will soon display your first name

OpenTable’s restaurant pages still feature a lot of reviews left by anonymous diners at the moment, but that will not be the case starting next month. The online restaurant reservation service is changing its policy around reviews so that they’re not as anonymous — and it’s even applying the new rule retroactively. As BleepingComputer reports, it told users in an email that starting on May 22, it “will begin displaying diner first names and profile photos on all diner reviews.” Further, “this update will also apply to past reviews.”

“We’ve heard from you, our diners, that trust and transparency are important when looking at reviews,” the company also said in its letter, insinuating that it’s changing the way reviews work based on user feedback. As BleepingComputer says, it’ll be easy to match a bad review with customer reservation records based on the user’s first name and when the post was made. It could be a very uncomfortable situation for people who wanted to talk about bad experiences without the fear of not being welcomed back into a particular establishment. Sure, the new rule could ensure that bad reviews have merit, that a customer legitimately dined at that restaurant and any complaint they mention truly is worth looking into. But we wouldn’t be surprised if people feel put off and even betrayed by the decision to apply this upcoming policy to old posts.

Those who have no intention to go back to restaurants they didn’t particularly like could change their first names if they wish, though future reservations will be made under that name. Users can also change their profile pictures if they want and even delete their reviews altogether before May 22.

Updated April 12, 2024 12:51PM: We removed the reference to Glassdoor, which did not publish real names with employer reviews. A previous report, instead, talked about how the website populated some users’ profiles with their information, including their names, without their consent. In a piece published after that report came out, Glassdoor CEO Christian Sutherland-Wong wrote that “[p]rotecting anonymity is at the core of [the company’s] mission and [its] pledge to… users.”

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