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09.42 8 Dec 2017


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Review site TripAdvisor has been tricked into making a garden shed the top rated restaurant in London.

Oobah Butler made a website and took pictures of "food" - which was made from household items, including shaving foam, bleach blocs and sponges.

He and his friends then left positive reviews which sparked interest among potential customers - and he also got phone calls and e-mails looking for bookings.

Butler would then tell all the callers the restaurant was fully booked out.

This 'dish' is actually some honey, black peeper, shaving foam - and a bleach bloc | Image: theshedatdulwich.com

He also said companies started using the estimated location of The Shed on Google Maps to give him free samples.

And that people who wanted to work at The Shed got in touch "in significant numbers".

Writing on vice.com, he claimed he used to be employed by restaurant owners to write a positive review of their place, despite never eating there.

"This convinced me that TripAdvisor was a false reality - that the meals never took place; that the reviews were all written by other people like me.

"However, they're not, of course - they're almost all completely genuine."

But he said: "One day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation... maybe a fake restaurant is possible? Maybe it's exactly the kind of place that could be a hit?".

This 'dish' is actually a sponge covered in paint, with shaving foam | Image: theshedatdulwich.com

"With the help of fake reviews, mystique and nonsense, I was going to do it: turn my shed into London's top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor."

In November, six months after listing was posted, the restaurant was ranked number now out of 18,092 in London.

He even built a website and Facebook page to further the idea.

But then on December 6th, he let his 'customers' in on the secret:


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