How Social Media Can Ruin Your Business: Barstool Sports vs Dragon Pizza

barstool sports and dragon pizza review viral video



In today's digital age, social media plays a pivotal role in shaping public opinion, promoting brands, and connecting people globally. While it offers numerous benefits, it can also become a double-edged sword that can quickly tarnish a business's reputation. The adage "any publicity is good publicity" doesn't always hold true, as demonstrated by the unfortunate case of Dragon Pizza in Somerville and its encounter with the power of social media, spearheaded by Dave Portnoy.

The Rise of Social Media

Social media platforms have revolutionized the way businesses market their products and services. With a potential reach of billions, these platforms offer unprecedented opportunities for brand exposure, engagement, and growth. Businesses can interact directly with their customers, receive instant feedback, and showcase their offerings to a global audience. However, this increased visibility comes with its own set of challenges, particularly when negative content gains traction.

Dave Portnoy: The Influential Force

Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, is a prominent figure in the world of social media and sports commentary. His platform boasts a vast and dedicated following, and his opinions hold substantial weight among his audience. Portnoy's candid and often harsh reviews of pizza establishments, referred to as "One Bite" reviews, can either make or break a pizzeria's reputation. His influence on social media is undeniable, making him a potent force in the digital realm.

Dragon Pizza and Somerville Saga

Enter Dragon Pizza, a small pizzeria in Somerville, aiming to make a name for itself in a competitive market. In an unfortunate turn of events, Portnoy visited Dragon Pizza and delivered a scathing review of their pizza, criticizing everything from the crust to the toppings. With Portnoy's massive following, the video quickly went viral, exposing Dragon Pizza to a vast audience who shared the negative sentiment.The Snowball Effect

The viral review ignited a wildfire of negative attention. Social media users shared Portnoy's video, accompanied by their own negative comments, memes, and reviews. What could have been a minor setback turned into a crisis for Dragon Pizza. Despite the adage "any publicity is good publicity," the relentless stream of negative feedback severely impacted the pizzeria's reputation and customer base. The snowball effect took hold, with news outlets picking up the story, further amplifying the negative sentiment.

Lessons Learned

The Dragon Pizza case study highlights several important lessons for businesses operating in the digital age:

  1. Impact of Influencers: Influencers and figures like Dave Portnoy wield significant influence over public perception. Their opinions can quickly sway sentiment and shape a business's reputation.

  2. Vulnerability to Virality: Social media can amplify negative content and transform a minor incident into a full-blown crisis. Businesses need to be prepared to manage their online presence proactively.

  3. Reputation Management: A strong online presence and positive reputation are vital for business success. Regularly engaging with customers, addressing feedback, and monitoring online sentiment can help mitigate potential damage.

  4. Selective Publicity: The notion of "any publicity is good publicity" doesn't account for the potential harm caused by negative publicity. Businesses should aim for balanced and positive exposure rather than relying solely on attention, positive or negative.


The story of Dragon Pizza in Somerville serves as a cautionary tale about the power of social media and the unpredictable nature of online content. While social media platforms offer incredible opportunities for businesses, they also pose risks that can quickly spiral out of control. The case study of Dave Portnoy's review of Dragon Pizza underscores the importance of strategic reputation management and the need for businesses to tread carefully in the digital landscape. In this age of viral content, businesses must be prepared to handle both positive and negative publicity to safeguard their reputation and long-term success.

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