DonRocks

Yelp Best Restaurants

241 posts in this topic

I'm sitting here, sipping a Willett, and wondering why Yelp is kicking my ass (I think it's the same reason why musicians criticize Lady Gaga, but that's not my point).

I Googled "Yelp Top Rated DC" (no quotes) and got the following page with the following list:

#1 Pi Truck DC

#2 Manouch Hot Dog Stand

#3 Minibar

#4 Hana Japanese Market

#5 Obelisk

#6 Basil Thyme

To all the restauranteurs I've supported over the years who have a Yelp sticker in their front window, and no mention of this website anywhere: Go dig up your dead grandmother and fuck her eye socket.

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I'm looking for...er, just found...this which seems somehow on point. As your search makes clear, we need you on that wall, Mr. Rockwell.

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As part of this demographic, I feel I can say this... Yelp is for 20-something wannabe hipsters on a budget. There is a bias towards perceived character, and divey vs. fine dining. Most Yelpers will rate something higher if they feel they've "discovered" it. If it's popular, they will probably try to take it down a peg or two. Hence, the outcomes you see on Yelp. I actually think it would be nice to aggregate the ratings from Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Opentable (which I usually go by since there's anonymoty and no real axes to grind) into a composite score of sorts. Of course, DR too, but since there aren't "numeric" grades as it were it would be more difficult.

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Imma put a big homemade sticker on my door that says "mentioned on occasion on DonRockwell dot com" :-)

For better or for worse, Yelp has an established brand and visual identity. While DR is a significantly better product, aside from including a shout-out in narratives, such as websites and possibly press interviews, restaurants probably don't know how to promote or recognize the site officially. Ever considered printing up some stickers with your logo and "Best Restaurant" or something on it? Or, since cost is an issue, a PDF that could be distributed and then laminated for their walls? In order to build a reputation and the recognition as a consistent, trustworthy source of information and advice, you need to establish a standard brand identity that can then be promoted in a way that benefits both the site and the restaurant/bar/distributor.

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You could pay for those stickers by bribing restaurants, what Yelp doesn't do that, what am I saying.

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By the way, brand recognition goes far beyond trust; it stimulates use. Being named a Yelp Best Restaurant means nothing to me personally, but seeing the visual identity at a restaurant reminds me, if self-consciously, that I value the site as a glorified address book (21st century Zagat), that their mapping app is excellent--and that I need to remember to use both.

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Have you have you given any thought to giving out best of or some other kind of award? It could be members only voting, and you could hand out a silly sticker or award that would serve as promotion for the site. Restaurants will usually do the rest and at least mention it on their website.

I'd be interested in seeing who the winners would be and could promote good discussion.

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The LTH Forum in Chicago has a guide called GNR - Great Neighborhood Restaurants. The restaurants are typically the lesser known, "hole in the wall" ones. Each year they put out the guide and give the restaurants a certificate and sticker to put on the window. Every year the GNR guide changes, but it is wildly successful in Chicago and the restaurants really look at it as an honor.

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I love this idea. Members could vote once a year, or once every six months, and either the top X% or the top # in each area, or something, could get "DR Member approved" stickers! I know I would love to see that at an unfamiliar restaurant entrance. Personally, I shudder a bit when I see the "Yelp" sticker. I don't find Yelp reliable, and after reading lots of Yelp reviews in both cities where I live, I conclude that I am just not in the Yelp target market. Which is fine.

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I kinda like this idea. Since we divide up by "neighborhoods", perhaps it could be the top x number of places in any given "neighborhood" (I am using this as a loose term as the dining guide isn't EXACTLY by neighborhood, but does have geographical dimensions to it), as voted on by members. That could also be a draw to becoming a member, can't vote until your an active member (more than one post).

I do agree the app and mapping aspect (address, telephone number, hours) is generally all I use Yelp for, but that part is often helpful when I am in a different city and need hours or telephone numbers.

Perhaps this is the modern version of the DR handshake or the DR membership cards. Just something to make the members feel kinda special and the restaurants too.

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To all the restauranteurs I've supported over the years who have a Yelp sticker in their front window, and no mention of this website anywhere: Go dig up your dead grandmother and fuck her eye socket.

F*ck those B*tches !!

IzKhy.jpg

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That is the sticker right there, of course if you had to edit out the language it could just be, "Eat this."

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I kinda like this idea. Since we divide up by "neighborhoods", perhaps it could be the top x number of places in any given "neighborhood" (I am using this as a loose term as the dining guide isn't EXACTLY by neighborhood, but does have geographical dimensions to it), as voted on by members. That could also be a draw to becoming a member, can't vote until your an active member (more than one post).

I do agree the app and mapping aspect (address, telephone number, hours) is generally all I use Yelp for, but that part is often helpful when I am in a different city and need hours or telephone numbers.

Perhaps this is the modern version of the DR handshake or the DR membership cards. Just something to make the members feel kinda special and the restaurants too.

I wonder how many people think I was hammered when I wrote the first post above; I wasn't - I was on my first, and only, drink of the evening.

A recent thought I had is based on the time-honored concept of tagging.

Business cards (eta - or, ZOMG, the picture above), furtively attached to conspicuous places in the bathrooms.

I was at Pearl Dive the other night, and thought it would be just perfect to stick one right on the guy's crotch on the bathroom wallpaper, or maybe the mirror above the sink, or even a bocce ball.

Obviously, I couldn't officially support such a thing, but if anyone here, on their own volition, figured out how to design and make them available, well, there wouldn't be much I could do to stop people, now, would there. :ph34r:

Not once have I ever marketed this website, but if I did, it would be something funny, creative, and harmless - like this.

The dr.com Tagging Network - coming soon to a restroom near you!

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That is the sticker right there, of course if you had to edit out the language it could just be, "Eat this."

If I had photoshop I would make it souless and monochrome to get the true DR.com feel.

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If I had photoshop I would make it souless and monochrome to get the true DR.com feel.

"Soulless?" I assume you are speaking of the look, and not the people. I've been kicking around the internets since 1995 or so, and have participated in many, many message boards, food listservs, etc. This website has the most passionate, knowledgable, and creative collection of cooks and diners that I've ever had the privilidge of hanging out with, both in the cyber and the literal sense of that term. And some of the best food writing on the web. Not everything here is 100% wonderful, but the depth of knowledge and sincerity of the posters here have kept me around since April 16, 2005, and will probably keep me reading for another 7 years. I would pay to keep this site going if Don would let me. And I BY FAR trust the opinions here over the random bullshit I see posted on Yelp.

So, yeah, soulless.

Love, Member #25

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I got nothing against you, Ms. or Mr. Bacon. Please consider my rant as anti-Yelp.

I should be yelling at those damn kids to get off my lawn before too long.

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Instead of "Best Restaurant" stickers, it should just say "Bolded" or "Italicized" or "Grudgingly listed".

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Go dig up your dead grandmother and fuck her eye socket.

Meant to say the above quote from DR is not a very nice thing to say. Sorry you're so angry.

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Go dig up your dead grandmother and fuck her eye socket.

Meant to say the above quote from DR is not a very nice thing to say. Sorry you're so angry.

Wow, cranky aren't we! I'm trying to keep this on a sincere track, with a little humor thrown in for good measure. Isn't this an open forum?

"Not a very nice thing to say." That's rich.

In fact, it was a phrase I coined about 25 years ago when a couple of us were sitting around trying to think of the worst possible thing you could say to someone (that wasn't personal).

Anger? You bet. With a little humor thrown in for good measure. You should hear me tell The Aristocrats sometime.

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I wonder how many people think I was hammered when I wrote the first post above; I wasn't - I was on my first, and only, drink of the evening.

A recent thought I had is based on the time-honored concept of tagging.

Business cards (eta - or, ZOMG, the picture above), furtively attached to conspicuous places in the bathrooms.

I was at Pearl Dive the other night, and thought it was be just perfect to stick one right on the guy's crotch on the bathroom wallpaper, or maybe the mirror above the sink, or even a bocce ball.

Obviously, I couldn't officially support such a thing, but if anyone here, on their own volition, figured out how to design and make them available, well, there wouldn't be much I could do to stop people, now, would there. :ph34r:

Not once have I ever marketed this website, but if I did, it would be something funny, creative, and harmless - like this.

The dr.com Tagging Network - coming soon to a restroom near you!

geez, I think you are actually on to something here..

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Scale of gradation could range from Rocks Swell to Sucks Ventworm Nuts -- I'll leave it to other more creative minds to fill-in the in-betweens.

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I think it should say "This place Rocks!"

I can see this on a sticker, with donrockwell.com below or on the edge or whatever.

ETA: And I guess it would need to give a year. DR.com seal of approval 2012.

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geez, I think you are actually on to something here..

Honestly, I think I am too. Can anyone help me with the logistics of getting a few thousand of these things made?

I'll do the tagging. :ph34r:

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Honestly, I think I am too. Can anyone help me with the logistics of getting a few thousand of these things made?

I'll do the tagging. :ph34r:

They could be made available to anyone interested in acquiring at certain events, say a $20 Tuesday or the Spring Picnic?

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Whenever I needed something of high quality printed, fast and cheap, I went to Master Print in Alexandria. www.master-print.com

But you need to accept donations to defray the cost, and then we can all start tagging every shitter in DC. Epic idea.

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I second B.A.R. on the donations idea. This is just too good an idea to let pass because of cost concerns.

TSchaad

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You could do this exactly the way the Post and Washingtonian do it. Once a year (maybe in the spring or summer opposite when the other "best of" lists come out), we (I'd be happy to help) compile a list of all the bold and italicized restaurants in the dinning guide and Don issues a press release that will likely be picked up by Eater DC and every other food blogger in the area (and possibly some of the mainstream media). Any restaurant included gets a certificate with the year printed on it, which they will doubtlessly frame themselves and display in their front window for time immemorial. This could all be done on a color printer and without a ton of effort (right now there are only two relevant rankings -- "Very Best" and "Best"). Free publicity for the restaurant and nearly-free publicity for the website.

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I will donate. I am only in DC part-time, but when I am there I dine out as much as possible. I want to be a part of the fun.

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Can I get a bumper sticker of this?

You can make them for way cheap on zazzle.com (provided the image isn't copyrighted...) ;)

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Some thoughts on all this:

1) I'm all for it because it's funny, rebellious, and harmless

2) "Eat This" is about as far as I can support; I don't want obscenity or offensive material posted where children (or, for that matter, sensitive adults) can see it. I'm more old-fashioned than people think. I do think cheaply made copies of that picture (with a caption) is a good idea because it's funny. If there are any type of copyright issues, we need to find out, and if so, we'll just use another image.

3) I don't want to cause any damage at all to any physical structure, including paint. Tape is about as strong an adhesive as we should use - something that could be quickly and harmlessly peeled off, i.e., no glue. Some of these bathroom murals and paintings are quite expensive, and I don't want to harm them by removing these tags.

Can anyone think of anything else? If not ... I say, all systems go. Believe me, I need all the help I can get, and I am beyond flattered (truly, it warms my heart) to think that multiple members here would help support me when I'm getting destroyed by a website such as Yelp. I'm convinced (maps, addresses, etc., aside) that we have the vastly superior product. And yeah, it kills me that mercenary MBAs in suits have gotten extremely wealthy while a bonafide expert (I know that sounds a bit pompous, but I really am, dammit!), who has dedicated his recent life to a mastery of the subject, has toiled for years so that others may benefit, and continues to languish in relative obscurity. That last sentence sounds very close to being petty, but it really is starting to wear me down and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't becoming deflated. I've worked SO hard with other people in mind, and have never asked for anything in return from anyone.

In case anyone wants to support the places that acknowledge me, all you need to do is take a look at who I follow on Twitter (the one exception I can think of is Corduroy who doesn't have a twitter account so I can't follow them - there may be a few others. My one - and only - criterion for "twitter following" is that i follow restaurants who mention donrockwell.com or dcdining.com on their websites in some form or another, no matter how small the mention is. And it's pretty pathetic that I only follow 20 people as of this writing (as a corollary, if you're someone I don't follow - please don't be offended because this is the only reason why).

I also want to add that not once, not one single time, have I ever let any of this effect a restaurant's placement in the dining guide or my reviews of them. Not once, because the moment I do that is the moment when I become a fraud, and at that point, you should no longer believe anything I ever tell you again. That's how strongly I feel about ethics. I'm not a perfect parent, but I've tried to instill a sense of ethics in my son, and he knows. He sees it. And he also thinks I'm a fool for not having cashed in on these people who have been cashing in on me for years. But I just can't do it because I have to be able to live with myself.

As an aside, another idea I've had before - which is probably even more effective than this one (albeit a bit more tacky) is standing outside restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory in Clarendon and handing out one-page leaflets to customers walking into, walking out of, or walking towards the restaurant, which say, essentially, "Here's Where You Should Be Having Dinner Tonight That's Less Than Two Blocks From Here." I'd look like a buffoon, but I'd also be right. And it would hit these lousy, national chains (hell, even the lousy, area chains) right where it hurts. I would include my name and email address for full accountability.

Where do we start with all of this? I'm rarin' to go and you guys have a tiger by the tail. If someone can arrange for the printing of these little Post-it things, I'll start the tagging process the day I get ahold of them. I don't know if I'm comfortable taking financial donations from people for this (it's a legitimate marketing expense), but if someone can organize the process? That would be great because I know my limitations, and this could easily become yet another in a series of great ideas that never get off the ground. And when the time comes? We'll need people to join the Tagging Network!

Remember above all else: mischief, not malice! This needs to be fun and good-natured.

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Is is possible to do a "Post It" type of sticker...one that adheres but is also easily removed? I don't know about the quality of the image that can be reproduced, or the cost...but i'd be more likely to carry a pad of sticky notes that a roll of Scotch (or other brand) tape.

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Is is possible to do a "Post It" type of sticker...one that adheres but is also easily removed? I don't know about the quality of the image that can be reproduced, or the cost...but i'd be more likely to carry a pad of sticky notes that a roll of Scotch (or other brand) tape.

Could someone take on the assignment of doing this, or at least researching it? This is the one thing on the critical path, and is the single most important thing to making this work.

Once this is done, maybe we should figure out the most effective targets so everyone here gets the recognition they deserve? It won't necessarily be fine-dining establishments; it could be going for the masses inside stadiums, malls, massive restaurants such as Old Ebbitt Grill or Cheesecake Factory or Sweetwater Tavern or Seasons 52 or Channel Inn? This needs to be what's best for the website, and the dining community as a whole. What do you all think? I say conspicuous locations and high traffic, and to heck with "fine dining" - people can learn fine dining; we need numbers.

Man, I want to educate the masses more than you could ever possibly believe. And I say this with the most honorable intent imaginable. I want people to know about places that deserve being recognized. Remember Food Matters? So do I. Not many others do, and that's a tragedy,

I say 5,000 tags for starters, to be distributed among 50 people or so. That's 100 per person which is pretty doable, right? Or, hell, let's get 50,000 and do an airplane drop.

You know what I really want? I want 100,000 members on donrockwell.com. Is that so unrealistic? I want to climb up on a building, and scream to the world that Tom Power is making kick-your-ass soups, Tony Comte cooks without cream or butter, Eric Ziebold is my best friend in the industry who is a top 50 chef in the world, Johnny Monis is doing a $45 regional Thai menu, Frank Ruta is a scholar of regional Italian historical cuisine, Cathal Armstrong makes the best game in town, Fabio Trabocchi is cooking just as well as he was at Maestro, and so much more. My goodness, I have so much great information to tell people, and I just want them to hear what I have to say. Nobody else is saying it, so please, everyone, give me the medium to do it in a really funny, mischevious, and harmless way?

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Could someone take on the assignment of doing this, or at least researching it? This is the one thing on the critical path, and is the single most important thing to making this work.

Is this the kind of thing you're talking about? It looks like the custom design option prices out as a packet of fifteen 5" circle stickers for $19.99. The downside of something this easily removable is that anyone could just peel off the sticker and take it, but it's better than defacing someone's property.

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Is this the kind of thing you're talking about? It looks like the custom design option prices out as a packet of fifteen 5" circle stickers for $19.99. The downside of something this easily removable is that anyone could just peel off the sticker and take it, but it's better than defacing someone's property.

Peeling it off and taking it is actually good, isn't it thought? The person that takes it is more likely to be curious and come to the website. And the next sticker-carrying DR person who goes to the establishment can re-sticker the place.

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Peeling it off and taking it is actually good, isn't it thought? The person that takes it is more likely to be curious and come to the website. And the next sticker-carrying DR person who goes to the establishment can re-sticker the place.

I guess, at this point, I'm not sure what these stickers are going to be saying and where they are going to be put. At first, it seemed as though they were meant to endorse particular restaurants as being exceptional, but now it sounds like they are to advertise the website rather than to designate excellence. If the purpose is to advertise the site only, then having them easily removed is very good, but that could easily get very costly. (N.B.: I didn't exactly do any kind of extensive research here, so there may well be cheaper sources of stickers than the site I linked to, but I'd expect that removable stickers are going to be more expensive generally than the permanent type.)

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I guess, at this point, I'm not sure what these stickers are going to be saying and where they are going to be put. At first, it seemed as though they were meant to endorse particular restaurants as being exceptional, but now it sounds like they are to advertise the website rather than to designate excellence. If the purpose is to advertise the site only, then having them easily removed is very good, but that could easily get very costly. (N.B.: I didn't exactly do any kind of extensive research here, so there may well be cheaper sources of stickers than the site I linked to, but I'd expect that removable stickers are going to be more expensive generally than the permanent type.)

To clarify I think it is a bit of both. I think it would be kind of an honor for a restaurant to be "tagged" because it means a DR member went there and approved of the food. But I think the main purpose is for more traffic to the site. People would be able to remove business cards with scotch tape, so I think an easily removable sticker is pretty much the same, except someone may be able to re-stick it somewhere that we might not want it to end up. OR the owner could move it to somewhere visible to attract people familiar with DR if they so desired.

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When Don first harshed me out about 3 or 4 years ago for not having anything of his on the wall or on my website (well, I didn't have one at the time), I told him that I would proudly display a certificate, a la Washingtonian, or a sticker, a la Yelp, Zagat, City Eats, Fearless Critic, etc. etc. etc., but that I couldn't just make something up myself. I also mentioned that since he didn't publish actual reviews (which was the then the case) that there was nothing I could include in any of my literature.

At the time, I thought that a bit of promotion of the web-site was crucial to its future and that Don's original proclamations of impossible standards of nobility and selflessness when he started this site and his original vows to never make a penny from this site had painted him into a corner that he would later regret never being able to escape from, and I said so. Let's hope it's not too late to reverse that.

I love the whole underground, Banksky-esque, approach being discussed now and I think it could go a long way to making Don into the figure he wants to be and give this site the greater public presence it deserves.

At this point, however, it's not clear whether this is meant to shame offending restaurants and scold ignorant diners, or whether it is meant to bring exceptional restaurants to the attention of open-minded diners while also creating a groundswell of awareness to the site--but either way the support evidenced in this thread is validation in and of itself.

As an independent chain owner, I would love to support this whole-heartedly, monetarily or other-wise, were it not for the obvious appearance of "pay-for-play".

This community is never at a loss for ideas or talent, though, and I am sure that the right idea will be found.

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As an independent chain owner, I would love to support this whole-heartedly, monetarily or other-wise,

Yay!
were it not for the obvious appearance of "pay-for-play".
I'm not seeing that, but perhaps I'm biased.
This community is never at a loss for ideas or talent, though, and I am sure that the right idea will be found.

Yay!

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vistaprint.com

100 sticky note pads (50 3"x 3" sheets pad) = $99.99, shown on their web site as a sale.

There is a set up charge, but it is not expensive.

3M also offers custom post-it notes in larger sizes.

If this is a viable option, I am happy to do more research.

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When Don first harshed me out about 3 or 4 years ago for not having anything of his on the wall or on my website (well, I didn't have one at the time), I told him that I would proudly display a certificate, a la Washingtonian, or a sticker, a la Yelp, Zagat, City Eats, Fearless Critic, etc. etc. etc., but that I couldn't just make something up myself. I also mentioned that since he didn't publish actual reviews (which was the then the case) that there was nothing I could include in any of my literature.

At the time, I thought that a bit of promotion of the web-site was crucial to its future and that Don's original proclamations of impossible standards of nobility and selflessness when he started this site and his original vows to never make a penny from this site had painted him into a corner that he would later regret never being able to escape from, and I said so. Let's hope it's not too late to reverse that.

I love the whole underground, Banksky-esque, approach being discussed now and I think it could go a long way to making Don into the figure he wants to be and give this site the greater public presence it deserves.

At this point, however, it's not clear whether this is meant to shame offending restaurants and scold ignorant diners, or whether it is meant to bring exceptional restaurants to the attention of open-minded diners while also creating a groundswell of awareness to the site--but either way the support evidenced in this thread is validation in and of itself.

As an independent chain owner, I would love to support this whole-heartedly, monetarily or other-wise, were it not for the obvious appearance of "pay-for-play".

This community is never at a loss for ideas or talent, though, and I am sure that the right idea will be found.

I'll reply to this in more depth later (I'm running out the door, and it merits a more thoughtful response), but in terms of tagging, I envision two types of stickers: the "real kind" that people will be proud to put on their windows, and the "playful kind" that people will be in a rush to remove and discard after finding them affixed to their bathroom windows. Hopefully, based on the quotes I've seen here (a dollar a sticker?!) they'll come in at two very different price points - I'm hoping for more like a dime apiece for the bathroom models (like business cards?), and if we have to buy 2,000 to get that price, then let's do.

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Name recognition is key. I've recommended this site to many people, and no one can ever remember the name of it. It doesn't stick in their heads as a food site, or a DC site. I get "Oh yeah, that site with some guy's name" :-/

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if the restaurant is good or great, whatever, `this place rocks` would be great. another sticker should be made `this place sucks` just so we know

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Okay, here's a more thoughtful response than what I had time for last night:

When Don first harshed me out about 3 or 4 years ago for not having anything of his on the wall or on my website (well, I didn't have one at the time), I told him that I would proudly display a certificate, a la Washingtonian, or a sticker, a la Yelp, Zagat, City Eats, Fearless Critic, etc. etc. etc., but that I couldn't just make something up myself. I also mentioned that since he didn't publish actual reviews (which was the then the case) that there was nothing I could include in any of my literature.

Yes, and you weren't alone. I approached several people and groused about it, and the responses were all pretty much the same: 'We'd be happy to display a sticker - just give us one!'

At the time, I thought that a bit of promotion of the web-site was crucial to its future and that Don's original proclamations of impossible standards of nobility and selflessness when he started this site and his original vows to never make a penny from this site had painted him into a corner that he would later regret never being able to escape from, and I said so. Let's hope it's not too late to reverse that.

I was actually naive enough (dumb enough?) to think I'd get a MacArthur Grant to keep this website going. Well, first of all, Don, do you realize that someone needs to APPLY for one of these grants, and that they don't materialize out of thin air?

My problem is that, although I'm quite confident in my knowledge, abilities, etc., I'm just not a natural self-promoter. I *hate* talking about myself, and I also have problems distinguishing between "marketing" and "boasting" - to me, they both seem a lot alike (which is why, I suppose, people have agents). I kept thinking that the work I've done would speak for itself, and that Ed McMahon would show up at my door, and that all this venture capital would be pouring in, and that my phone would be ringing off the hook with requests for interviews, appearances, etc.

Surely, I thought, someone will take note of what I'm doing, and my entire future will all fall into place. "They" would be fools if they didn't.

Nope, doesn't happen like that. People have taken note, all right, the street cred is well-established, and the brand recognition is there, but without the pump being primed, Donny Boy will languish in relative obscurity until the end of time. I'm not comparing myself to Johnny Depp, but way back when, he was considered a highly respected cult actor who refused to sell out to Hollywood. He didn't go from being an unknown, substantive, art-house trivia question to "someone bigger than Tom Cruise" randomly; he got himself a good agent and people finally saw what he was capable of doing. There are plenty of brilliant people out there, in all professions, languishing in obscurity for exactly the same reasons this website is.

I love the whole underground, Banksky-esque, approach being discussed now and I think it could go a long way to making Don into the figure he wants to be and give this site the greater public presence it deserves.

At this point, however, it's not clear whether this is meant to shame offending restaurants and scold ignorant diners, or whether it is meant to bring exceptional restaurants to the attention of open-minded diners while also creating a groundswell of awareness to the site--but either way the support evidenced in this thread is validation in and of itself.

dr.com was founded with several tenets in mind, one of the most important ones being "kindness." (Yeah, I know, how do I reconcile that with Rosa Mexicano Sucks Ventworm Nut.) "Shaming" and "scolding" are two words that I prefer not to even think about. On the other hand, "creating a groundswell of awareness?" Yes, for sure! But this can be, and should be, all done in a positive way, and it's largely a matter of mindset. I strongly believe that kindness is one of the most underrated qualities a person (or for that matter, a corporation) can have. It is a quality that I value perhaps above all others.

I've learned many things over the years. One of them is that "If you build it, they will come" is not necessarily a true statement, romantic as it may sound.

As an independent chain owner, I would love to support this whole-heartedly, monetarily or other-wise, were it not for the obvious appearance of "pay-for-play".

You've always supported this website, and I for one have always appreciated it. Do not think for a moment that I've forgotten that extra $1,000 you wrote in that check to Emmaus' Services for the Aging. You're successful enough now where you don't need this website in the least; ironically, it's the ones who *do* need it, that don't even know it exists. I've had numerous restaurateurs tell me, in so many words, 'Damn, your community has a huge reach.' Just pulling a random example out of the air, if the owners of, say, Himalayan Heritage, became active here and posted about themselves a couple times a month, as well as becoming active in other topics, I'll bet that within one year, their business would increase by 20% as a result. That's because when people post here, it's not "just here." Everyone sees the stuff - I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it trickles up, it trickles down, it trickles sideways. There are huge, indirect effects of being active on this website that really aren't even measurable. Can I prove that as fact? No. Do I know it to be true? Yes.

This community is never at a loss for ideas or talent, though, and I am sure that the right idea will be found.

I really think the double-sticker thing (the funny, bathroom sticker, and the serious, window sticker) is a good idea. I should probably also get a PR rep, but then again there's also the Michael Landrum model.

Name recognition is key. I've recommended this site to many people, and no one can ever remember the name of it. It doesn't stick in their heads as a food site, or a DC site. I get "Oh yeah, that site with some guy's name" :-/

Yep, it's a problem. The ironic thing is that people often ask me, "is Don Rockwell actually your real name?" Because it sounds so ... I don't know ... "strong." I guess I could always make this website dcdining.com, but that precludes me expanding outside of DC, and I really have my sights on New York and beyond. For me to get the website brand out there, I've got to simultaneously get my name out there, and I just don't think there's any other way to do it. It's a problem, but it's not the worst problem in the world.

Okay those are my dehydrated, still working on my first cup of coffee thoughts of the moment.

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i think you should change your name to Don Plotnicki and try to set up a Tom Sietsema/Robert Sietsema-type dialectic.

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Yep, it's a problem. The ironic thing is that people often ask me, "is Don Rockwell actually your real name?" Because it sounds so ... I don't know ... "strong." I guess I could always make this website dcdining.com, but that precludes me expanding outside of DC, and I really have my sights on New York and beyond. For me to get the website brand out there, I've got to simultaneously get my name out there, and I just don't think there's any other way to do it. It's a problem, but it's not the worst problem in the world.

Maybe I should donate the www.Gourmet411.com and .net URLs that I have parked.

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i think you should change your name to Don Plotnicki and try to set up a Tom Sietsema/Robert Sietsema-type dialectic.

I was going to suggest "Max Power" but I think I'm dating myself on that Simpsons reference...

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Well, Don, unfortunately, you may have to self promote-Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean? (which I love, btw). If you don't buy lottery tickets, you're not going to win. No one will think less of you, it's just a side effect of business...

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Here's the current situation: we have lots of volunteers, even donors (although I've politely declined their kind offers). I got this email from a member which has fallen through - nobody seems to do Post-It notes:

I will contact Master Print for a quote on Post-it Notes.

If I can get 10,000 5'X9" four color, two sided postcards on card stock for less than $1K, I can probably get this done. And I would love to plaster them all over town but with the wife sick, the kids school, and work killing me, I don't even EAT on most days.

Do you have a graphic designer? I can try to find one on the cheap but surely there is one in membership.

So everything is in limbo - which is the usual state of things for me and my projects. :) I'm really good at two things: high-level, big-picture visualization, and low-level microscopic minutiae (which is essentially what I do in running the site day-to-day, keeping up with which mushrooms are being served on H Street, etc.) It's that gaping middle ground that slips by, that 90% of mid-level detail that involves seeing the forest *and* the trees, together, at the same time. I see things as a satellite picture, or under a microscope, but not very well with the naked eye.

Can anyone help me get this kick-started?

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What about magnets? That would solve the removability problem and there should be some type of surface in most bathrooms that they'd adhere to; mirror parts, stall doors, etc... Haven't researched, but a quick google search brought up this

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What about magnets? That would solve the removability problem and there should be some type of surface in most bathrooms that they'd adhere to; mirror parts, stall doors, etc... Haven't researched, but a quick google search brought up this

Magnets are almost surely too expensive; we need nice stickers for the front windows, but we can go super downscale for the underground stuff.

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Magnets are almost surely too expensive; we need nice stickers for the front windows, but we can go super downscale for the underground stuff.

What are we talking quantity and price-wise?

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I looked again at vista prints, and they seem to do the right product at the right price point (200 units of 50 sheets each for $249.99) as mentioned above by DCandOhio. The sticky notes are only 3X3, though, so about the size of actual post-its. A friend has used them before for custom printing and was happy with the results. They also do window decals and something called "business cards stickers," which might be an alternative to window decals. Magnets would seem to be a great idea for distribution to the public, while window decals would be something businesses could display.

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I They also do window decals and something called "business cards stickers," which might be an alternative to window decals.

I believe the business card stickers are paper business cards that have an adhesive backing, so those wouldn't be suitable for window decals.

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Branders seems to have relatively reasonable prices for sticky notes: 2.5" x 3", 50 sheets, free 4-color imprint and set-up. Costs start at $.48/per for 500, $.43/per for 1000, and drop off with volume.

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Thank you to everyone for helping with this. Just to keep things rolling, I look at the window decals as something to be proud of, and that's going to cost some money for design and quality decals; the "bootleg tapes" can be a lower quality recording. :)

I have my checkbook open and ready to go.

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How about an Avery Easy Peel address label (I think the product code is 8163)? these are 2 inches by 4 inches and I THINK they'll peel back off of a surface in one piece, just with a little more effort than a post-it. And they are designed to be printed on, obviously, in a laser printer, then peeled easily off of a sheet of 10 per sheet (I think). IIRC these are under $10 or $12 for a box of 250...

I know we don't want to harm property but I just think post-its are not adhesive enough to last more than ten minutes on a restaurant bathroom wall. Need to check on how easy these are to peel off, will raid office supply cabinet tomorrow & report back. If anybody is interested in this different approach.

just googled, these are what I'm talking about: http://www.avery.com/avery/en_us/Products/Labels/Shipping-Labels/White-Shipping-Labels_08163.htm?N=0&Ns=&refchannel=c042fd03ab30a110VgnVCM1000002118140aRCRD

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We can have multiple underground approaches going on at once. :)

A long-time website member has stepped in, and is going to work with me using a printer and designer he knows (I'm in contact with the printer, and it looks like it will be doable and affordable), so the urgency of scrambling for a design and a printer seems to be at bay. Give me a couple of days, and I'll have some more information.

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How about an Avery Easy Peel address label (I think the product code is 8163)? these are 2 inches by 4 inches and I THINK they'll peel back off of a surface in one piece, just with a little more effort than a post-it. And they are designed to be printed on, obviously, in a laser printer, then peeled easily off of a sheet of 10 per sheet (I think). IIRC these are under $10 or $12 for a box of 250...

I used to work with those all the time when I worked in a mail room, and they don't peel off that easily. Or, at least, they did not back in the late 90s...

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I guess no-one clicked on my Post ItTM note full size printable sheets.

  • Write labels by hand or print with laser and inkjet printers

http://www.amazon.co...28041418&sr=1-5

Yeah, this is not a bad idea for the backroom stickers. I think 8.5 x 11 is too big, however - maybe we can do 2-3 per sheet? Is this something you can do? There's honest-to-goodness momentum here right now (and not just in this thread), and I want to run with it, big time. I definitely don't think we need a uniform "look" for the underground stuff; just to get the word out there. I wasn't kidding when I said I was thinking of handing out flyers to people walking around tourist areas, bad restaurants, etc., and for that we don't need Post-its, but for the other stuff - I agree, nobody is going to want to walk around with a roll of tape.

Did you know that the concierge at one of the absolute tip-top, most expensive hotels in the city recommends La Perla to his clients (even though it's a cab ride away)? Also, these restaurants in Woodley Park on the east side of Connecticut? Guess where the concierges of two of our city's largest hotels (Omni Shoreham, Marriott Wardman Park) send them. And guess why. This is all just wrong.

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Also, I got this message from the printer. I guess we'll just use the logo on the top-left of the main screen unless someone has a better idea. (This is for the window stickers). I'm thinking the text should read "Best Restaurant Award" - something that could go on both Marcel's (superlative) and Ben's (noteworthy). But what about the OTHER 90% of all restaurants? It would be nice if we could have a sticker that says "DonRockwell.Com Rated" or something like that, but those are pretty boring words - can someone come up with a few words of text for restaurants that aren't distinctive but might benefit from a sticker anyway? Maybe that should use dcdining.com since it's a stronger term?

I know everyone is more excited about the underground stickers (and so am I!) but the window stickers are what will get people to take us seriously in the long run, so I have to worry about both for sure.

If you could please send over your logo in its original vector file we will need that to print properly and capture the correct color. This is a file that usually end in one of the following extension: .ai or .eps If you don’t have one of those, but have a .psd we can see if it is high enough resolution and made with layers that we may be able to use that.

I want to add one thing for emphasis: I'm struggling right now for the basic survival of this website which is why I'm so genuinely grateful to everyone here. Damn, I just need the right person to notice what we're doing here and it's just not happening.

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If you could please send over your logo in its original vector file we will need that to print properly and capture the correct color. This is a file that usually end in one of the following extension: .ai or .eps If you don’t have one of those, but have a .psd we can see if it is high enough resolution and made with layers that we may be able to use that.

Also, for the underground ones, do we want to do 5x3 or 6x4? I vote smaller so they can be pocketed more easily but I really don't know anything about this stuff.

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Also, for the underground ones, do we want to do 5x3 or 6x4? I vote smaller so they can be pocketed more easily but I really don't know anything about this stuff.

Yep, If we went 5x3 we could print 4 stickers per 8.5x11 page. Cut them with a guillotine.

Name the design.

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I'm late to the party, but I have a few observations. First, I respond better to praise and enthusiasm than shaming and scolding, and I suspect most restaurateurs do too. I also pay more attention to what is in the window of an establishment than what is in the bathroom when making choices on where to dine. I'm guessing that's pretty much universal. And I found myself thinking about this when I went to Elephant Jumps in Merrifield for lunch and found, in addition to the menu, a Xeroxed copy of a recommendation from Tyler Cowen in the window.

And I love the phrase "This place Rocks!" as a quick seal of approval.

My take is that something in the window of an establishment would happily be posted by most restaurants as an indication of the DonRockwell.com community's recommendation. It would also serve to notify the public that this is a website worth checking out. As to stickers, I wonder if if that is necessary now that smartphones serve as instant note-takers and reminders for a large number of people. I have nothing against it, but it involves a lot of work that might be better put to another use, maybe like handing out flyers in a coordinated, one-day publicity blitz?

I love the ideas that so many have come up with and would love to see this happen in a big way.

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More thoughts: I too like the, "This Place Rocks!" with the logo underneath, or somewhere. I think the window sticker needs to show that we are fun, have a little personality.

On the other stickers: I feel really uncomfortable about anything that can be inkjetted only for the reason that I think if it takes any more work than just touching the thing and being able to pull it off (so anything harder than a post it, or scotch taped business card) would not be very nice, as it would take work for someone to pull it off, and could pull off paint or etc. Unless I am wrong about the stickiness factor. I have never used a label through a printer that I have been able to easily get off anything. I could be wrong though. The nice thing about a business card type of thing, is you wouldn't even necessarily need to use tape. As an example, a business card corner could be slipped between toilet paper holder and wall without tape. Or one could be placed on top of a picture frame. I just don't like the idea of there being an annoyance factor. I would be more than willing to go in on business cards or post its or something that wouldn't be a real sticker, but would feel uncomfortable with that.

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More thoughts: I too like the, "This Place Rocks!" with the logo underneath, or somewhere. I think the window sticker needs to show that we are fun, have a little personality.

On the other stickers: I feel really uncomfortable about anything that can be inkjetted only for the reason that I think if it takes any more work than just touching the thing and being able to pull it off (so anything harder than a post it, or scotch taped business card) would not be very nice, as it would take work for someone to pull it off, and could pull off paint or etc. Unless I am wrong about the stickiness factor. I have never used a label through a printer that I have been able to easily get off anything. I could be wrong though. The nice thing about a business card type of thing, is you wouldn't even necessarily need to use tape. As an example, a business card corner could be slipped between toilet paper holder and wall without tape. Or one could be placed on top of a picture frame. I just don't like the idea of there being an annoyance factor. I would be more than willing to go in on business cards or post its or something that wouldn't be a real sticker, but would feel uncomfortable with that.

Up until recent years, I would have thought "This Place Rocks!" would have sounded childish for a front window sticker, but look at names such as "Yelp!", "Google" and everything else. If anything, we're graduating from baby talk to teen talk. :) (*)

I'm working with the designer / printer on the non-invasive factor. In the meantime, the ball's in my court, she's waiting for me to get her this:

If you could please send over your logo in its original vector file we will need that to print properly and capture the correct color. This is a file that usually end in one of the following extension: .ai or .eps If you don’t have one of those, but have a .psd we can see if it is high enough resolution and made with layers that we may be able to use that.

And I don't even know what a "vector file" is! So if anyone can help me get a vector file, that would be on the critical path. (Thanks in advance because we're dead in the water without it.)

(*) There's just something "stately" I miss about the old Washington Post, although I guess these "window dressings" have *always* been marketing B.S. Everything now seems to be flash this, and buzz that. I don't like it. And I'm quite certain a similar mindset is the difference between short-term wealth vs. long-term legacy. That having been said, I'm pretty sure we've got the long-term legacy thing covered; now, we just need to survive.

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Image files are vector (printing) or raster (computer) based because of the intended audience.

http://en.m.wikipedi...iew_normal_site

In any of the 'illustrator' type programs you can choose the output format.

Brian just sort-of whipped up the dr.com logo on his computer; I don't think he really did any kind of illustrator thing, so we may be vector-less.

The "Eat This" picture (which everyone I've talked to except one person thinks is perfect for Tagging Art) was done on this thread so I'm not sure how it was generated.

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The "Eat This" picture (which everyone I've talked to except one person thinks is perfect for Tagging Art) was done on this thread so I'm not sure how it was generated.

I don't have a super strong opinion on this one; however, I would like to cast a(nother) hearty vote for weezy's "This Place Rocks" for the official fancy sticker.

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Brian just sort-of whipped up the dr.com logo on his computer; I don't think he really did any kind of illustrator thing, so we may be vector-less.

The "Eat This" picture (which everyone I've talked to except one person thinks is perfect for Tagging Art) was done on this thread so I'm not sure how it was generated.

What program did he use? It will be like 'Microsoft Word' in that you can save a different file formats like word97, .doc, ... Here the printer is asking for .ai or .eps format.

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Everything now seems to be flash this, and buzz that. I don't like it.

"I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too."

Sorry. I was imagining you with your pants pulled up to your ribs, waving your cane at the computer monitor and having the cyber-equivalent of "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!"

:D

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Sorry. I was imagining you with your pants pulled up to your ribs, waving your cane at the computer monitor and having the cyber-equivalent of "YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!"

:D

At least it's real cane and not HFCS, by cracky!

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"I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it, and what's it seems weird and scary to me, and it'll happen to you, too."

Did you also have an onion tied to your belt, as was the style at the time? :)

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+1 for "This place rocks!" That's briliant, funny, a tad irreverent, different from the other toads in the best of ways, and easy to remember. How about member t-shirts or ballcaps with "I rock. Do you?" Sales could go to giving invision the boot or Matt's college fund, either of which would be grand with me.

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+1 for "This place rocks!" That's briliant, funny, a tad irreverent, different from the other toads in the best of ways, and easy to remember. How about member t-shirts or ballcaps with "I rock. Do you?" Sales could go to giving invision the boot or Matt's college fund, either of which would be grand with me.

I want a T-shirt that says "I Rock. Do you?"

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I may be able to help with a printer. I have a printer in VA I use for work who I can ask if you can give me quantites and dimensions. He does all our printing and we do alot of volume with him. I saw you said 10,000 earlier but is that really how many you want?

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I want a T-shirt that says "I Rock. Do you?"

I have a place in Virginia I've used before that kicked butt and I'd recommend for t-shirts. In fact, after I get this next batch of "ambush marketer" shirts made up, I'll write them up for the anti-yelp section.

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Any chance ball caps too? And, any kind of design input from someone who knows creative would be very cool. Higher quality shirts/caps could be priced higher, make more money and be more consistent with the brand. FWIW.

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All this will great, but I'm going to have to get vector files of the logo + the Eat This thing to the printer before we do anything at all (I think) - and I want to get *something* printed and done first. I have this biting fear that I'm not going to be able to get these files to the printer because I really don't understand what they are. This is a lot like trying to get something programmed when I need an Invision change - it's totally out of the area of my expertise, and I'm like a deer in the headlights (which is why I'm asking for help here!) I've been a one-man band for way too long, and I need to go back and refocus what I'm good at (and delegate what I'm not).

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I can ask my husband for some input on how to do this tonight if he has some time, unless someone else knows?

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The short answer is, there's no effective way to convert an image in JPG, GIF, etc. format to a vector image. You have to redraw. Some of the advanced graphics packages have an "autotrace" feature that sort of does this, but I wouldn't consider the resulting image high-quality - you still have to edit.

Bottom line - someone with Photoshop or the equivalent needs to rebuild your logo files for you.

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