Will Yelp’s Lawsuits Curb Phony Reviews?

    September 15, 2013
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

As phonebooks become a thing of the past, local and small businesses now rely more than ever on the internet to get the word out about their services. However, the social nature of today’s web makes it hard work for business owners to control how their business is perceived. A bad review can stick around forever, and the anonymous nature of the net can make it impossible to investigate claims or offer recompense.

On Yelp in particular, bad or vindictive reviews can often hurt the reputation of a small business. Millions of people each month rely on the site to find local businesses, and low ratings can mean the difference between sales and bankruptcy. Add to this the fact that Yelp’s business model runs on selling advertising to the very business’ that inhabit its website and the situation becomes one that can cause resentment from business owners who are trying hard to promote their services on a limited budget.

Have a Yelp horror story? Let us know about it in the comments.

Within this climate, it isn’t surprising that Yelp has been sued multiple times by people who all but claim (though some explicitly claim) that Yelp is extorting small businesses. These claims include the hiding of positive reviews and the placing of competitor ads on business review pages.

For its part, Yelp has strenuously denied being a racket and has generally come out on top in lawsuits. Through multiple blog posts and reports, Yelp has tried to explain how it attempts to filter out reviews that it sees as fake. These would include reviews from business owners themselves, as well as reviews from companies that sell false Yelp reviews.

Now, after being on the defensive in lawsuits and implementing features such as consumer alerts on its website, Yelp appears to be going on the offensive. Yelp is now suing sites that sell false reviews for its website. As recently as June of this year Yelp filed a lawsuit against the provocatively-named website BuyYelpReview.com (it’s gone now). This week, a new Bloomberg report points out that Yelp may even now be targeting individual business owners who file false reviews.

The report centers on a San Diego lawyer named Julian McMillian who sued Yelp in small claims court over an ad deal and actually won. He then began soliciting other businesses who had grievances with Yelp. Though his victory was overturned on appeal, Yelp seems to have used the case as an opportunity to dig into McMillian’s Yelp comments. Yelp is now suing the man for more than $25,000 for allegedly planting fake reviews on his business page.

Being sued by Yelp is a notion that could easily strike fear into the hearts of small business owners – and that’s likely the point. By making an example of an unscrupulous business owner, Yelp could be hoping to deter others from creating their own astroturf reviews or turning to fake Yelp review sellers. It’s a tactic that the MPAA embraced years ago, suing individuals (including clueless parents) who had pirated copyrighted content using Bittorrent. And as with piracy, the tactic would be unlikely to work for Yelp.

On a basic level, suing small business owners directly could easily increase resentment from those that struggle with poor reviews. For those who already believe that Yelp gives review-filter favors to business that advertise with them, this could simply be seen as Yelp shutting down their competition.

On a technical level, Yelp uses an algorithm to determine what reviews should be hidden on a business Yelp page. As Google knows, it can be hard to stay a step ahead of scammers trying to game an algorithm. It’s a constant process that takes expertise and creativity to manage, and even then the legions of spammers working against an algorithm always seem to find a way to game it.

It’s a problem that will almost certainly never be fully solved. There simply isn’t enough manpower to check every Yelp review thoroughly. Though Yelp likely accounts for some amount of false reviews in its star ratings system, individual reviews would still require a human touch to completely verify. For better or worse, Yelp and small business owners seem to be bound to each other out of necessity – with false reviews making it difficult for both sides to trust the other.

Is there some way for Yelp to filter fake reviews that doesn’t risk hurting small businesses? Let us know your ideas in the comments.

  • John Muscella

    Yelp is supposed to be there to help people find out about a restaurant before you go but if you’re going to take negative comments off what good is it. I left a justified negative comment of a local restaurant and it disappeared days later, did they get paid off?

  • martin w

    If yelp can’t control their content they should shut it down, not keep making excuses! They are frustrating and hurting a lot of hard working small business owners with their malicious content. They are trying to automate a process that is not possible to automate, they are under some delusion that an automated review filter will weed out fake reviews and all its doing is damaging a lot of great small businesses, I see it all over with businesses that I have used for years getting unfairly slammed on a regular basis, it ridiculous. There is no automated filter that will work in regards to filtering out bogus reviews. How many times have we been told we are all unique individuals? If they want to be in the review business they need to operate like the Better Business Bureau and deal with each complaint on a case by case basis with a real person dealing with each complaint and listening to both sides of the story, not trying to automate something that is impossible to automate and hurts a lot of people. The number of complaints about these people is through the roof! There systems are very heavily flawed!

    • http://austincakelady@aol.com Annie

      I’ve been harassed by Yelp and all their harassers for years now. They use selective feedback and, although I’ve had 100s of great feedback Yelp use a couple of bad posts and write the others themselves.I’ve seriously asked to have a couple of vicious untruths taken down, they laugh and create more themselves. I’ve been in business for 33 years, won best by City A-Voter, have an A+BBB rating, have perfect reviews by Wedding Channel and Wedding Creations. Yelp won’t take it down and won’t permit my own rebuttal unless I’m willing to pay them $800-$1000 a month to have them change it to good feedback. We’re back to the 20s with Al Capone’s gangs collecting money from the shopholders to keep from having their shops burned down. This is EXTORTION. If you have a problem with Yelp, seriously report them to the FBI who will follow up your complaint and will file charges which they need. This is going to make it to the Supreme Court! There’s freedom of speech, then there is YELP who manipulates that speech into anything that will get them an extra few dollars. What snakes and lousy excuses for humanity take orders from Jeremy Stoppleman or whatever the CEO’s name is. He’s the lowest of the low. He’s the greatest creater of poverty that there is and he’s destroying the American dream and the beliefs that this country were founded on. Yelp is definitely doing selective posting. I’ve had hundreds of positives and 3 negatives…guess which they post…just before the phone call to me saying “Let us help!”

  • meg

    Make sure you check the filtered reviews on Yelp. I don’t think it’s right that many reviews can be removed especially if the business is receiving consistently negative reviews. Not all those reviews are phony, but now the business rating is phony.

  • andy

    sooo, all i have to do to bankrupt my competitors is spend some mponey on fake reviews for their yelp page, then report it to yelp and let yelp sue my competitors. this is almost as easy as negative SEO 😛

    • http://essaywritingcentre.com Joe Writer

      That sounds ingenious! Use Yelp to do your dirty work and come up on top…atleast until someone else does the same for your business :( Sounds like Yelp is frustrating a lot of people

  • http://www.realitist.com Robert

    What about the Reputation Repair sellers who push negative reviews off the 1st page with a flood of false positive reviews? Personally I find it hard to praise Red Lobster’s Shrimp Feast of translucent skewered shrimp with a smear of Wabasi paste, just try to get a nice piece of 1/2 inch thick prime rib as shown on TV as being available at Golden Corral. The local Chinese buffet, soup like a bucket of salt, infact every dish preserved for extended steam table life, with excess salt, too much for me and I normally put salt on everything. Or the local supermarket that sends the food outdating tomorrow to the deli for lunch/dinner specials, gotta have a strong stomach these days.

    • http://www.bestcomfort.com Trey

      I agree, there is no truth left in advertisement any more! 1st amendment rights, with large loop holes tend to trump consumers impressions of what they are getting for there money. Notably If you are going to advertise something, input a facts statement about what you are seeing. Example: Big huge juicy burger standing 3.5 inches, when in fact is a flat piece of meat standing on the legs of a gimp.
      YELP, needs to be smacked harder in the mouth than a “Cursing Child”. Sadly we all work hard for the all to difficult to obtain “Positive” Reviews, we all know you can get a negative anything just for waking up in the morning. To get someone to say something good about you more or less to you. Well that appears to be along the lines of the “republicans” agreeing with “Obama”. In summary “Yelp” may be offering a positive service to the public with there site, but in all honesty the equal if not worse negative is making companies look like the little good they do get is “Bad”, simply put “That is just not right”!! I don’t think there is much we can do about exposing the web as a half safe place to obtain information. Just must assume the world has common sense that just is not all that common!

  • PayTheUpfrontPrice

    Yelp has the responsibility to vet its members if it wants legitimate reviews. I hope the judge that hears this case not only throws it out, but slaps Yelp publicly for trying to blame their incompetence and flawed business model on others.

    I’m not sure they do now, but Zagat had the right model when they started and they took “responsibility” for the reviews appearing in their guide. Alternatively, it appears Yelp is just after a money grab and not only wants to blame its mistakes on others, but wants them to pay for them as well.

  • http://www.denverinternetmarketing.org/ Ken Fry

    YELP…. That is the sound of small business owners being extorted and now sue’d. What a pathetic company…. I would not use or trust any review or info on the site. That is based on Yelp not it’s customers and reviewers.

  • J

    My small business was shutdown thanks to someone claiming to have been my customer. I had never seen nor heard from that person in my life prior to her horribly negative review on yelp. She just went by initials and yelp wouldn’t give me any information as to who she was. There was no way to dispute it nor could I do anything about it. F*ck yelp and any bad that happens to them is KARMA.

  • Brian

    Had the same tactic happen to our company. A nonexistent customer complained and gave a bad review to simply hurt our business. Conveniently he gave great reviews for competitors. I have an easy real solution that will help businesses as well as yelp. Have yelp make it mandatory to upload a purchase recipt for a real transaction from a real client to be able to give a review. This doesn’t eliminate competitors from buying and giving a bad review, but its less likely and at least business owners will get a real sale and not some fake yelp employee writing false comments and giving bad ratings for no reason other than hurting a competitor.

  • http://www.thesolarbiz.com Tom

    We have been in business for 44 years, we have over 960 dealer/installers and have enjoyed a stellar reputation.
    Several years ago one of our installers (Not part of our company) had a client for a solar install on their second home. The husband wanted the solar. During the install they got divorced, and the wife shut down the job and demanded all the mony spent be returned, including shipping. The installer who paid in advance for the equipment didn’t have it to return as it was already spent.
    After she got nowhere whth the small installer, she tried to sue us (unsucessfully). I’m not even sure if we were the only supplier
    We’re always fair and honest so, to help out the poor installer we agreed to refund him her money less the shipping cost incurred to ship the equipment to her from New Mexico to California.
    She then went on yelp and lied saying we ripped her off and would not return anything. She was returned all the equipment cost.
    Now bear in mind she wasn’t even our customer, and we had no business relationship with her at all, but she pretended she did on Yelp and they allowed it with no proof whatsoever.
    If you look us up on Yelp (The Solar Biz) her’s is the only posting visable.
    We have had a number of good reviews from legiitmate customers on Yelp but ALL, yes ALL are hidden. This is not fair and impartial screening. But as I read about these guys it seems to be the norm.

    • http://www.604painter.com Rick Anderson

      yelp is the scum of the earth and the owners deserve nothing less than to die as a result of blunt force trauma…

      having said that..the way we dealt with this piece of shit company was to build mirror websites and companies that do the same thing as our company that got illegitimately trashed…..we therefore are making more money than we would have made were it not for the bogus business practices of this scum bag company known as yelp

      • Brian

        Very cool. Im glad you turned the tables on them – good for you!

  • http://www.GreatLasVegasHomes.com Diann Tonnesen

    I had the opposite problem with Yelp. I have legitimate clients giving legitimate reviews and they have ALL been filtered. So basically I have a Yelp profile that has ads on it for my competitors who paid to be on Yelp. That is not exactly third party neutrality.

    • http://www.Disneyland.com Afraid of Wrath of Yelp

      THIS IS THE INTERNET MAFIA! Am I the only one that sees it?!

      I had a woman who worked for my competition call our office one day. We saw on caller identification that she was calling from our competition. When she called, we answered all the questions professionally. She started to ask us information about real estate that we do not share over the phone due to liability reasons. Questions like, should I buy this property? Do you think this is a good or bad investment at this address? We explained that as licensed professionals we can not make certain types of comments to people over the phone who are not our clients. She immediately hung up the phone and began a 6 month battle with our organization from our competitors office. When we reported to Yelp all the proof we had that she worked for our competition (which in their terms of service clearly states reviews from competitors is NOT allowed), they ignored us. They told us we would have to take her to court even though we had proof. Long story short, we also learned this SAME PERSON previously was employed by a company that targets FIXING your bad Yelp reviews. So this was a person who had more than 150 Yelp reviews online who worked for a company that intentionally manipulated Yelp for money AND who worked for our competition now in real estate. We had proof of ALL OF THIS and STILL YELP ignored our phone calls. They told us we would have to spend money on lawyers, lawsuits, etc. EVEN THOUGH THE PERSON COMMENTING WAS CLEARLY WORKING FOR OUR COMPETITION AND FOR COMPANIES THAT MANIPULATED YELP FOR MONEY. They also told us that we could do all that legal stuff but that we would lose anyway, so why waste our money.

      We believe that because Yelp KNEW this woman, they were allowing her to do what she was doing. Yelp sells services to help prevent negative reviews from hurting your business. Why wouldn’t they also make money from people on the outside of the company doing the same things. They could merely CONTRACT OUT services…the same service they sell.

      Long story short, I should not have to be a private investigator to eliminate questionable reviews from my Yelp review page. If I had the ability, I would remove myself from Yelp, but they won’t allow that either. I do not believe that I should be forced to participate with a company that has zero integrity with their public reviews process meaning NO SCREENING of their reviewers or no liability for the things those reviewers say. If STAR MAGAZINE falsely reports a story about my company, I can SUE THEM! Why is it if YELP falsely reports a story, I can’t do anything? They allow FALSE reporting on businesses and even after you provide PROOF that things are a LIE, they attempt to sell you services to reduce the negative impact of the lie. This is the BIGGEST SCAM in America and I can’t believe our government ALLOWS businesses like this to interfere with our economy.

      If anyone is forming any type of lawsuit, please contact me. I’ve got pages and pages of evidence of what I’m claiming. This review appeared as the number 1 comment on my review page for 6 months. We did not get 1 listing during that time. Eventually, the review was removed by the reviewer for reasons I won’t mention here for fear I won’t be able to pursue her and Yelp legally at a later point. But YELP is a CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION that is WORSE THAN THE MAFIA! Someone MUST put a stop to this unregulated organization.

    • http://teddybearspersonalized.com StevenH

      I have the exact same problem. I have 8-9 reviews all filtered out. I have a client who has 5 positives filtered out, yet his single negative from a customer he never served has stayed posted. This is lame. I’m sure that if we were to pay for some Yelp ads, we’d have all of our positive rating magically appear, like lucky charms.

  • http://www.eicagency.net Sanford Wilk

    As one of the founders of a digital agency – I have a simple solution for what I call junk sites (sites that allow postings that are anonymous, unsubstantiated and often negative). Sites like Yelp and pissedconsumer should be dealt with like all hostage takers: Do not negotiate and shoot-to-kill. I realize that this sounds harsh but listen folks: if you allow hostage-takers to propagate, they will NOT create a more positive and trustful internet experience for users and SMB’s! TELL YOUR CLIENTS TO KICK YELP SALES REPS OUT OF THEIR BUSINESS. We have been VERY successful in stopping our clients from advertising and even removing the Yelp stickers from their doors. Kill the revenue and they will eventually wither up and die.

  • Randy Fox

    Yelp is a shady operation at best and a scourge at worst. Complain to Google without the search engines they are SOL.

  • http://sfpetgrooming.com James

    I hate Yelp. Nut cases can say anything they want with no verification. At least the BBB verifies complaints.

    Moreover, it seems that once you’re in you can’t get out.

    How do I get out?

  • http://markJordanphoto.com Mark

    My horror story with Yelp is best expressed in my blog post, “Yelp – Ethical or Corrupt?” In it, I explain how all my long posted 5 star reviews were “mysteriously” filtered right after declining to advertise with Yelp: http://markjordanphoto.blogspot.com/2012/02/yelp-ethical-or-corrupt.html

  • Prashant

    I have read so many horror stories about Yelp that I now completely avoid reading reviews about any products or services in Yelp

  • http://www.belfast-architects.co.uk alan

    The business model of Yelp, and similar, is flawed. It is open to abuse. How many of you would write a good review for a business that gave you the service you expect? Seriously! Not many unless prompted to do so, or owned by a close friends or family.

    You may be more likely to write a bad review, but is your assessment of that business typical of how it runs? Just how well informed are you and what is your experience in the overall context?

    Then there are those with vested interests who write bad reviews, or ask others to, because the business is a competitor. Unfortunately such people are probably more common than we may think and I have heard of ‘reviewers’ going round and asking for payment!

    So why take rankings on these review sites seriously when the process is skewed towards malcontents, professional complainers who enjoy moaning, and people with vested interests of one form and another. Why include rankings and reviews at all in a directory?

    The directory owner should have to accept responsibility for all inaccurate information posted, and the consequences, and if people are making complaints they should be made to do so using proper identities.

    Add into this mix Yelp’s sale of advertising plus accusations of screening out positive reviews, and you have the potential for a toxic mix. I have read numerous complaints and it is not a particular interest of mine.

    For business owners the best way to deal with such sites is not to advertise with any of them.

    Finally I would ask people generally to think long and hard before writing a bad review for any small business. You do not know the owners circumstance, and what you write could have consequence well beyond what you intend.

  • Joe

    I left a bad review for a restaurant that was legitimate, factual and deserved. Yelp censored my review and there is no recourse for disputing it. Why would anyone use such a service in the first place? Now I use other services.

  • http://www.synertel.com Technology Svcs CEO SF Bay Area

    Yelp – argh. Dozens of positive reviews disappeared within months; one bad review posted by a customer who signed a scope of work clearly stating “make these changes to our internet filtering and bill at this rate”, then decided she was entitled to the work for free remains posted something like 7 years later. Every time our clients post a positive review – it disappears rapidly. Calls and emails to Yelp give only murky references to “the Algorithm” (sort of a deity over there) that cannot be messed with. We don’t even ask our clients to post to Yelp anymore cuz its proven to be such an unfair information exchange. Oddly, Yelp doesn’t seem to call us to sell marketing/ads, either. We can only guess that they have other paying clients in our business space, and part of their “deal” is to suppress positive reviews of other competitors. If I wasn’t busy running a business, and had lots of legal resources, I’d join in a lawsuit against Yelp …

  • Jim W.

    TBH the BBB is not much better in some places. A few years ago a local mechanic was ripping off people with unnecessary work (a news reporter did an undercover sting and proved it). But when consumers complained to the Better Business Bureau, they were told the mechanic is a “supporting member” (which was a premium package the BBB sold to business to advertise in its directories and websites here) and the complaints would not be investigated.
    So since the BBB wouldn’t investigate a paying member, the consumers posted reviews on Yelp. The mechanic filed a lawsuit against Yelp demanding the identities of the reviewers with plans to file slap suits, but the court rejected them.
    Somebody really needs to invent a service that allows reviewers to give honest opinions without threat of punishment, and allows businesses protection from the false reviews.

    • Mike

      Ever since the BBB started trying to turn a profit they stopped being a place for accurate business information. You’re 100% right.

  • http://www.cfasecurity.com Shana Cooper

    Yelp Sucks! Real good reviews that our customers tried to post for us were denied and never shown on our site, but Yelp representative calls us constantly to sell us AD space. Yelp is a joke and I wish they would lose in court and their site taken down. They are helping no one but themselves.

    Home Security Atlanta-http://www.cfasecurity.com

  • http://www.weeonesclub.com Kara Turrisi

    As a small business owner for ten years, I am shocked to see how YELP has chosen to publish one, extremely angry review and “hidden” up to nine positive reviews. I have been told that YELP only likes to publish the reviews of people who review on YELP on a consistent basis. Some of my clients claim to have written reviews on many businesses, including ours, and still their reviews are not shown. It is explained to us that YELP has a complex system to decide which reviews are shown. I can’t help but feel that if we pay YELP for advertising, they would then show all of the reviews showing everything that the public wants to share about our business. You simply have to read the unreasonable rant written about our business by one person and then read the lovely “hidden” reviews. This simple investigation would be enough to make any reasonable person question the validity of the information YELP is offering to consumers.

  • http://seozenpro-review.com/ SEO ZEN

    I would ask people generally to think long and hard before writing a bad review for any small business. You do not know the owners circumstance, and what you write could have consequence well beyond what you intend.

    • Mike

      I disagree. A bad review protects consumers and informs the business owner that there is a problem. If the business owner cares about their company they will address the concern and respond. Personally I don’t look for good or bad reviews, but multiple reviews both good and bad because that tells me the business is real and active. You can’t please everyone so some negative reviews are expected.

  • http://tyrannogenius.blogspot.com Neil Bates

    Looking for repetitive or very similar multiple messages with name substitutions and contextual adjustment is probably the best way, but it will generate false positives since some people will tend to write similar messages, especially if short ones. The easiest thing is to weight as more reliable, groups of comments from diverse URLs etc.

  • http://dansullivaninsurance.com/ Dan Sullivan

    I always check the filtered reviews because if its been posted online its worth taking a quick look at, I have seen the filter work backwards in many cases.

  • http://www.actmedia.net actmedia

    I think the better way is instead of suing the small business owners, Yelp can intimate them about the fake reviews and discuss with the business owner about its findings. I don’t think Yelp’s algorithm is working good at all times. There are some flaws in yelp’s algoritm too in filtering the reviews. Yelp can talk/connect with business owners and give time to rectify the faults if any, before legal proceedings. So business owners also have opportunity to prove supposing if any might go wrong from Yelp’s side.

  • http://www.murderbydesign.com.au Angela Cockburn

    I don’t know about Yelp, but it’s noticeable that when I review a hotel or restaurant unfavourably the better ones always reply, address my concerns, and often have tackled the issues when I return. The bad ones don’t respond at all, and the very bad ones argue.

  • http://www.murderbydesign.com.au Angela Cockburn

    I don’t know about Yelp, but i do know when I review a hotel or restaurant unfavourably the good ones always respond, address my concerns, and often have fixed the issues when I return. The bad ones never respond, and – judging from what I read – the very bad ones argue.

  • Gale Rosenberg

    I posted a negative review of a serious nature about a doctor whose nurse (ITT tech graduate!)that had administered a pain shot in the wrong location and caused me not only dehibilitating pain (not in the area where I got the pain shot for) in my sciatica and caused now ongoing problems of a very serious nature. When I contacted the doctor afterward, he refused to offer any help.

    The doctor managed to get the comment “hidden” from public view. That’s wrong on so many levels!

  • http://www.lawyernortheastphiladelphia.com max

    I always check the filtered reviews

  • http://BetterLifeMedicalWeightLoss aracely

    Review filter support, Missing reviews are affecting our score please contact us. Our patients reviews are real and have had patients ask us about them not showing up on yelp either. Please help ASAP

  • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

    This is not only Yelp as say FBook up to 65% of all accounts are fake.

    No day guys by when I can buy followers, reviews and even bad reviews.

    And it all starts with the likes of us right?

  • http://inthenewspr.com/ Mike

    I put up a bogus company on Yelp to document how to set them up for local marketing purposes as a 3rd party citation.
    Not long after, I got a call from my Yelp ‘account manager’ letting me know he could help me bury the bad reviews I had if I came on board for the $375/mo program. Yes, indeed, there were 2 scathing reviews on a non-existent plumbing company.
    The guy was a bit angry when I told him those were bogus reviews he planted on a bogus site.

  • http://www.seosteve.com/ Steve Wiideman

    Oh I see, so if you work hard to earn a review from someone who infrequently uses Yelp, they will filter ONLY those good reviews (rarely a negative if you look at filtered reviews as a whole).

    But if you incentivize someone who does frequent Yelp to leave a review, you get sued by Yelp. Fascinating.

  • Chris

    The legal action taken by Yelp just adds more evidence that Yelp is basically an extortion scam, not a legitimate review site.

  • http://www.elijahclark.com/seo-orlando-company.html D. Manco

    So Yelp now is suing others due its own problems? LOL! Another reason for a business to pay close attention to the social networks they participate within, and if those particular social networks hold their target audience. No business should ever have all positive reviews because positive reviews are not equal in quality. Businesses need to focus on understanding why the negative review occurred, and how they can learn from it to improve the brand for consumers.

  • http://my.telegraph.co.uk/areyeastinfectionscontagious/ Alina Yoshimura

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I’m experiencing issue with ur rss . Don

  • Lee

    Hate the way a Yelp reviewer can write anything they want (true or false), with no verification and be anonymous. But when the business owners wants to respond to any comment they have to be verified by Yelp AND have a real name and photo put up on their web site.
    Yelp is sooooo one sided. They have one thing in mind and that is to profit from their site as much as possible. They don’t care about the businesses. They know negativity is a love/hate thing and if they can make money off that, then that’s the plan. Yelp the money machine! Reminds me of that corrupt site complaintsboard.com . You will see some horror stories about the way they operate if you search.

  • http://www.lawyernortheastphiladelphia.com Max

    I made a mistake of advertising on Yelp once. What a waste of money.


    They could start by allowing the positive ones.
    no positive reviews have made our posting – 8 filtered- yet all seem to be legit
    also – why not confirm with the business or indivdual- eg proof of purchase-
    as of now YELP only posts 1 negative review and has filtered all positive
    they are the REAL false reviewers- and hide behind there filter system
    I am willing to advertise with them and prove my point or take them to small claims to prove there negative review has merit

  • http://www.lecachetspa.com laszlo

    We are a popular New York City Day Spa and Laser Center, with pretty good percentage of positive reviews overall for over 12 years now.

    Our Day Spa Le Cachet Skin Care and Laser Center had really great reviews on Yelp, from many of our loyal clients. After receiving a few salesmen calls from Yelp to advertise with them, since at the time we did not agree to advertise with them, all of our positives reviews were removed (so called FILTERED) and bad really ugly fabricated lies in a form of reviews appeared.

    If you visit us on Yelp you will see 8 reviews out of which 6 or 7 very bad, fabricated lies. If you click on the so called FILTERED reviews its a nice way to say removed reviews by Yelp, you will see about 21 reviews out of which 20 all positive….why would yelp remove positive reviews while promotes negative reviews…its simple – IF YOU REFUSE TO ADVERTISE WITH THEM, THEY WILL PUNISH YOU!!!! -Yelp should be prosecuted in full force of the LAW.

  • http://www.lecachetspa.com laszlo

    We are a popular New York City Day Spa and Laser Center, with pretty good percentage of positive reviews overall for over 12 years now.

    Our Day Spa Le Cachet Skin Care and Laser Center had really great reviews on Yelp, from many of our loyal clients. After receiving a few salesmen calls from Yelp to advertise with them, since at the time we did not agree to advertise with them, all of our positives reviews were removed (so called FILTERED) and bad really ugly fabricated lies in a form of reviews appeared.

    If you visit us on Yelp you will see 8 reviews out of which 6 or 7 very bad, fabricated lies. If you click on the so called FILTERED reviews its a nice way to say removed reviews by Yelp, you will see about 21 reviews out of which 20 all positive….why would yelp remove positive reviews while promotes negative reviews…its simple – IF YOU REFUSE TO ADVERTISE WITH THEM, THEY WILL PUNISH YOU!!!! -Yelp should be prosecuted in full force of the LAW-

  • http://www.lecachetspa.com laszlo

    Why a multi million dollar company can get a way with blackmail!!!!!!!

    We are a popular New York City Day Spa and Laser Center, with pretty good percentage of positive reviews overall for over 12 years now.

    Our Day Spa Le Cachet Skin Care and Laser Center had really great reviews on Yelp, from many of our loyal clients. After receiving a few salesmen calls from Yelp to advertise with them, since at the time we did not agree to advertise with them, all of our positives reviews were removed (so called FILTERED) and bad really ugly fabricated lies in a form of reviews appeared.

    If you visit us on Yelp you will see 8 reviews out of which 6 or 7 very bad, fabricated lies. If you click on the so called FILTERED reviews its a nice way to say removed reviews by Yelp, you will see about 21 reviews out of which 20 all positive….why would yelp remove positive reviews while promotes negative reviews…its simple – IF YOU REFUSE TO ADVERTISE WITH THEM, THEY WILL PUNISH YOU!!!! -Yelp should be prosecuted in full extend of the LAW-

  • Melody Morse

    I own Chazlin’s Puppy Cuts in Mesa, AZ. There is one negative review when I didn’t own it and since fired the groomer the review is referring to. I have been told by a few of my customers they have posted positive reviews, the review is online for a few days then is removed. I also receive calls from Yelp trying to get me to pay money to have the negative review removed. I think this is extortion and they should be removed from the internet and shut down completely. I have contacted them and doubt I will hear from them. Do you know how I can remove the negative comment from Yelp without paying them?

  • http://Abrilliantsmiledentist.com Shirin

    I am a dentist in woodland hills,ca .I had few reviews and was on first page in search result until I was approached by yelp to pay for advertising.after that it went all downhill.most of my reviews got filtered .after complaining to them that it seems like I am paying hundred of dollars monthly to be in lower place that I was in ,they ignored all my emails .and after I stop paying for advertising they have only left one review and you can not find me on their search.try it and see dentist in woodland hills,ca 91364 you will see all the dentist in neighboring area and maybe on #70 or so you will find my office.that is extortion and unethical .All my reviews are from my patients and are all real people with opinions that are being seonsered.i am done with yelp. http://Www..abrilliantsmiledentist.com

  • Ali

    I was told by a yelp rep that my paid ad for my business would be displayed based on the location of the user/customer. That was not the case. I fought to have my remaining 2 months reimbursed. Right after that both businesses I was advertising had all of my positive reviews removed and yes, bad ones out up. They suck.

  • George Williams

    I have a small moving company InDelaware I was contacted one day by a yelp employee offering me Internet advertisement I decline next thing you know I get negative reviews and phone calls stop coming they are hurting my business because I refuse to pay them. The review isn’t even real. They went as far as deleting positive reviews I had. They are a scam. What can i do.

  • http://acudawn.com dawn wafer

    I made a business account on yelp. Because one of my clients wanted to yelp me. She told me the benefits to yelp. So I made and account. She was happy after her 1st treatment to yelp me. I inturn used her services and then yelped her. I have patient files to prove this. She drove 5 hours just to seek my services. Then two more of my patients decided to yelp me. After speaking with an advertising specialist at yelp and turning them down on their offer of paid advertisement all my reviews have been removed and tagged as not recommended. I have proof to show these people are my patient yet yelp just blows me off when I call. HIPPA laws prevent me from sharing my patient files with Yelp to prove these people are in fact my clients …yelp is hurting my business. This is not fair. How can we solve this? Should I sue yelp? I have proof they are legitimate reviews.

  • eddie

    YELP is internet mafia. Pay them or pay with lack of business. An algorithm ? Really? Every way YELP explained it is not how it is. They keep the 3 bad reviews and call every month to see if you are ready to give in to their extortion. Hid 19 positive, honest reviews to date

  • ljpljpljp

    The negative reviews about a company that I used to work for were filtered out. They can still be accessed, but one has to look for them since they do not appear with the postive ratings, and they do not contribute to the total rating of the company.

    The ones that were filtered out were all true. In fact while I was still working there, a negative review was filtered out and I asked somebody at the company about it He said that the son of the owner had contacted Yelp about the negative review. I do not know what was said between my former employer and Yelp though.

    Based on my first hand knowledge that the negative reviews were accurate, it is obvious that Yelp is fixed.

  • Krissykakes

    As a small business owner I was approached by yelp to advertise with them. The fees for advertising with yelp were much more than my new business could afford. Well, my next positive review was filtered ( customer posted a picture of our work on yelps site). How can they claim that isn’t a real customer? It’s just nuts!
    Yelp is internet mafia!