Hasan al Lawati on why social media reviewers need to get real with their reports.
In Oman, it is nearly impossible to find an honest review online about anything, be it a luxurious five-star resort or a near- abandoned food joint on the outskirts of Muscat.
Even the new, “independent” Instagram pages can’t be relied on anymore as users are apparently obliged to cash in by eulogising business owners.
And since 2014, when the famous Omani Cuisine page stopped posting restaurant reviews – I don’t know why – choosing a place for dinner has been just like playing the lottery.
While this could also be linked to oversensitive businessmen’s attitude toward criticism, it is unarguable that profit is the number one reason behind the lack of sincere reviews in Oman.
Which makes me wonder: Instead of shooting in the dark, where can we read a proper review that discloses all the good and bad about a product?
Y Magazine is the answer. You can read honest reviews on restaurants and tech products, here.
Another platform is TripAdvisor, which is an open forum for any user to submit a review. I think it is still one of the very few legitimate sources of reviews.
So to all foodies here I say: it is the time to stop relying on the fawning social media faces who would burnish any product to get a free sample.
I think the local market is crying out for a credible, local-based app or website, run by professionals who can openly give “brutal” reviews and make money from a financial backer that has zero interest in hotels, restaurants or cars.