Restaurant Claims Yelp Is Deleting Their Positive Reviews

    September 11, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Do you use Yelp? If so, you probably let it decide which restaurant you’re going to visit when traveling. You don’t want to eat at a potentially bad place and Yelp helps decide what’s good in a community based upon what others have said. Losing good reviews could seriously hurt a small business, yet one restaurant claims that Yelp themselves are manipulating their reviews.

A small restaurant named Verace in Shelton, Connecticut told local news WFSB that Yelp has been taking down their positive reviews. They claim that it’s all because they refused to buy advertising. Since then, positive reviews have been removed from the site.

The restaurant’s owner, Kelly Calandro, says that she thought she did something wrong, but soon found that other small businesses claim the same thing. It’s true that Yelp has been sued in the past for their business practices, but nobody has ever won against them.

For their part, a Yelp spokesperson told WFSB that they would never manipulate reviews over money. They also reiterated the fact that court cases brought against them by small businesses have never been successful.

As of now, the restaurant has only three reviews on Yelp with the best being a three out of five. The restaurant has only been open for less than a year, however, so the small number of reviews could be within normal operations. Calandro offered no proof that reviews were deleted so you’ll just have to take her story at face value.

WFSB Channel 3

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    I have a brick & mortar business which had a few good reviews (no negative) and last time I looked yelp (now yap in my book) had deleted them all. A classy outfit!

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

      Did Yelp ever contact you about advertising? That seems to be the real kicker in this case. If Yelp is extorting small businesses for good reviews, that’s no good.

      • Liz

        I too am a new small business and had placed my business on Yelp. When I started getting reviews, I was happy. Then one by one I saw them being filtered. I emailed Yelp questioning their logic and why and never got a reply. Shortly after Yelp contacted me to sell me advertising. I declined and the remaining reviews I had on Yelp were deleted aka filtered until now I have no reviews. I don’t know if Yelp did this purposely or why it happened. I only know legitimate clients left their opinions and Yelp deleted them. Since I don’t depend on Yelp for my business, I simply took those reviews that were filtered and put them on the reviews page of my website. Now I could care less if Yelp has any reviews for my business or not.

  • Do The Math

    I took my wife to a BBQ restaurant that had high marks on YELP. Turned out it was in the worst part of town, every building around it was going or out of business, the place had so many bars it looked like a prison, and the windows on one side were boarded up with scrap plywood. To top it off, it looked like we interrupted a drug buy when we pulled into the parking lot.

    Needless to say we got out of there fast and never went back. It was then I started looking at the posts more carefully. After a while I noticed a pattern of common phrasing, spelling and grammatical errors that repeated far to often to be coincidental. I then picked some of the frequent posters at random and did some simple math based on their claims of being where and when. Unless more than one came from the planet Krypton, the math showed it was physically impossible for these fine diners to travel across multiple time zones to eat multiple meals in multiple restaurants.

    Now my findings may not hold up in a court of law, but for now… I think I’ll pass on trusting any reviews on YELP, good or bad.

  • http://adoors91@wowway.com Richard

    American doors is the name of our company we do garage doors. We only had 1 review they took that away from us for no reason. We have 22 reviews from Angie’s List all good . We decided not to pay yelp they’re 300 dollars a month they were asking for which is ridiculous. They have pretty much ignored us since then. I come to the conclusion of not talking to them at all I don’t need their business. they obviously don’t need ours.

  • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

    I heard that Apple maps would be using Yelp as Google does with Yellow Pages.

    I have a listing. I can sit in my shop and can never find my business on Yelp with check in unless I actually search my business name. Something does not add up. Please let me know if I am missing something.

  • http://www.blueiceinteractive.com Chris S.

    Yelps filter is brutal and many of my customers, I help with their reputation management, are calling them extortionist. I recommend people focus on the other directories and get your reviews spread out. If you are only focusing on 1 or 2 directories you are missing out on traffic from other sites and if you have negative reviews on other site they could possibly negate the positive reviews.

    Here are a few things we have seen that helped with getting reviews to stick on Yelp.

    1. Have a customer who already has a profile on Yelp and a few reviews download the Yelp app when they are at your location. Have them check in and go home and leave the review on their desktop.

    2. Have the customer leave the review on their tablet

    3. Have an customer / friend who is active on facebook create a Yelp account, fill out the profile as much a spossible, leave reviews on place that they have been such as restaurants, theaters, and etc. places that you would go to frequently. Give it a few weeks and see if the other reviews have stuck and leave a review for your company.

    Obviously, all of these reviews need to be truthful.

    Hope this helps some people.

  • Darlene

    A groomer/boarder for Pets just purchased a business in our town. Everyone was leaving great reviews. There was one from the previous owners customer that was not great and was over a year old. When the new business owner asked that it be removed, all positive reviews were “filtered” and they left the bad review. The business owner declined the advertising fee. Yelp is corrupt

  • Heather Turner

    Their Yelp page has 19 filtered reviews, many of the reviews were written by reviewers too close in time period and with only one review to their names, I’m not saying the restaurant wrote them but it is one of the reasons Yelp will flag reviews. And too may “perfect” reviews written in batches, similar to Tripadvisor listings will red flag an account.

  • Joanne

    I don’t even use yelp when determining where to dine because they are so inaccurate with their rating system.

  • MarleneX

    I have a small business that is in no way reliant on yelp reviews, my customer base is generally not the kind to leave reviews on yelp, as I do high end privately commissioned designed work – and am not a retail concern. However over the years several reviews had appeared, all positive, (very initially some were scraped from articles written about my work in various magazines- like many of these listings sites started- yelp entered your business info and ask you to claim it) …regardless, I did manage to garner several positive reviews after “claiming” my business. 2 years ago (after over 15 years in business) Yelp contacted me to try and sell me advertising- sales person was insanely aggressive-no matter how many times I tried to explain that it is just not something my clientele does with their time & I was fine with my reviews as they were, Thank you. Boy, those positive reviews – which by that time had been up on yelp continually for over 5 years – came down so fast you head would spin!!!! It seemed much too coincidental. Additionally the salesperson became unbelievably NASTY after her 4th call received the same answer I told her it would…So, I do believe Yelp follows very unsavory / unethical and probably illegal business practices.

  • John

    I gave up on Yelp awhile back. It seems the restaurants that I have visited that had great reviews have been terrible. I now use TripAdvisor for finding good places to eat while traveling.