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Yelp Equates Asking For Reviews To Spam

    May 14, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Yelp announced on Wednesday that it has issued a new round of Consumer Alerts, the warnings that appear on businesses’ Yelp pages informing users that they’re not to be trusted. The company didn’t say how many it issued this time around, but it did call out a few businesses by name.

The company is also discouraging businesses from asking customers for reviews in-store, which many would no doubt argue is when the experience is freshest in their minds. As far as Yelp is concerned, asking for reviews is pretty much like spam.

Do you think reviews businesses ask for are illegitimate? Let us know what you think.

“Unfortunately some businesses are trying to sneak through fake reviews in an effort to boost their reputations on Yelp and other review sites,” says Yelp’s Kristen Whisenand. “Others may be encouraging their customers to write reviews from the store, which may not sound all that bad until you ask yourself just how objective you’d be if you were at the dentist’s office and she dropped an iPad on your lap and asked you to write her a quick Yelp review. Solicited reviews are often biased and don’t result in the most accurate overall portrayal of that business. You can also be assured that businesses are almost never asking their unhappy customers for reviews.” Emphasis added.

Part of the problem (on Yelp’s end) with people leaving reviews from in stores is that they come from the same IP address. It would seem that reviews coming from a single IP address has been one of the biggest factors in the company determining when reviews are spammy. In fact, the company said right in its new post on the subject, that it “looks for businesses that have received a disproportionate number of spammy reviews, like those that originate from the same IP address.”

This was actually brought up on Bloomberg recently, when a business owner and a representative from Yelp each presented their side of the story. In that, Yelp’s Vincent Sollitto, VP of corporate communications, said: “Yelp has to recommend reviews that they find reliable. The reason that there are a number of positive reviews for Beverly’s [the aforementioned business owner] business that are not being recommended is because in fact ten of them came from the very IP address that was used to claim her business owner’s account, and one of them actually was for a one-star review of a competing business to hers. And so the problem is business owners try to game the system, and websites that don’t try to filter out or verify reliable reviews can get gamed. That’s probably why Yahoo decided to go ahead and use Yelp as the de facto standard for local search.”

Beverly, who runs a dog training service, responded, “First of all, in some cases, clients are at your house, and can be using your IP address to write something. That is possible. IP address isn’t the best judgment. People can be at a cafe and use IP address, you know. I don’t think the location of a person writing the review is relevant. I had one guy, for instance, that is in my five-star-deleted – i’ve had like 34 deleted five-star reviews now – I mean not recommended – and another fourteen that have been deleted. And meanwhile I only have seven five-star reviews up. So that’s a big ratio. We’re talking a fifty to seven ratio here. I had one guy that had to go to the library and open an account in order to be able to write a review for me because he didn’t have a computer service, and he wanted to be able to review me because I did good work with him, and he was very pleased, and Yelp removed his review because it seemed suspicious or whatever, but he’s a real person.”

Unless Bloomberg cut it out, Sollitto didn’t really acknowledge her comments about people legitimately using the same IP address.

“Don’t Ask for Reviews” is one of Yelp’s guidelines. They have a whole page on it in their support center.

Under the “Why does Yelp discourage businesses from asking for reviews?” section, it says:

1. Would-be customers might not trust you. Let’s face it, most business owners are only going to ask for reviews from their happy customers, not the unhappy ones. Over time, these self-selected reviews create bias in the business listing — a bias that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away. No business is perfect, and it’s impossible to please 100% of your customers 100% of the time.

2. Solicited reviews are less likely to be recommended by our automated software, and that will drive you crazy. Why aren’t these reviews recommended? Well, we have the unfortunate task of trying to help our users distinguish between real and fake reviews, and while we think we do a pretty good job at it with our fancy computer algorithms, the harsh reality is that solicited reviews often fall somewhere in between. Imagine, for example, the business owner who “asks” for a review by sticking a laptop in front of a customer and smilingly invites her to write a review while he looks over her shoulder. We don’t need these kinds of reviews, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when they aren’t recommended.

It later goes on to say, “There is an important distinction between ‘Hey, write a review about me on Yelp,’ [BAD] and ‘Hey, check us out on Yelp!’ [GOOD]. It’s the difference between actively pursuing testimonials and simply creating awareness of your business through social media outlets.”

Because, you know, you’re going to recommend unhappy users “check you out” on Yelp. What else is a customer going to do when they “check you out” on Yelp besides write a review? If you’re trying to create awareness about your business on social media, you’re not going to say, “Check us out on Yelp.” You’re going to say, “Check us out on Facebook” or “…on Twitter,” etc.

According to Yelp, recommending that your customers “check you out on Yelp” allows them to “review your online reputation without feeling like they’re being forced to write a review.”

So, go ahead and suggest that they review your reputation on Yelp after they’ve done business with you, because that will help them somehow?

“To an established Yelp community member, a reminder of your Yelp presence can act like a dog-whistle prompting them to share their feedback about your business with fellow Yelpers,” adds Yelp.

Oh. Just don’t suggest that they write a review!

If you’ve been encouraging people to leave reviews for your business while they’re actually at your business, don’t offer them up your own device to do it. Luckily, last year, Yelp added the ability for users to leave reviews from the Yelp app.

“Yelpers won’t have to wait until they get home to tell the world why their neighborhood barber is deserving of five shiny stars – they can do it directly from their phones, while they’re on-the-go,” a Yelp product manager wrote in a blog post at the time.

“We have zero tolerance for those who are trying to manipulate their online reputations in an effort to get ahead of hard-working business owners who are playing by the rules,” says Whisenand. “We encourage businesses to take a hands off approach when it comes to receiving reviews and take advantage of the free suite of tools Yelp provides business owners who are interested in joining the conversations that are happening about them online.”

What do you think of Yelp’s policy on asking for reviews? Have you suggested that customers “check you out” on Yelp? Did reviews resulting from that escape the review filter? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • Wise King

    YELP is a known extortion scheme whereby businesses who decline to advertise wind up with their positive reviews filtered and their negative reviews made prominent. A cadre of so called elite Yelpers (chronically unemployed losers bought off with swag and free booze) are Yelps hired guns who do the dirty work of defaming small businesses for them and shilling for advertisers. IF you read this Class Action Complaint you will read the testimony of one such “Elite Yelper” Lily Jeung, who outlines how the extortion scheme works, how she was fired for writing a negative review on a big money advertiser and how it all comes down from Jeremy Stoppelman.
    Pay close attention to Class Action Complaints #47-58
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/1796
    Yelp relies on small business advertising for 60% of its revenue yet Yelps advertising rates clearly point to extortion. The industry standard is 60 cents per 1000 page views. Yelp charges $600! Why would anyone who has been publicly defamed choose to advertise with a company who has done them harm? The answer, to heed to the extortion. However, speak to anyone who has advertised and they will all share their regrets; no return on investment, zero customer service and only increased extortion without an exit.
    http://bit.ly/1mV7hyt
    The thousands of FTC complaints, class action lawsuits and complaints to states attornies general are only the tip of the iceberg. Look out below!

  • My 2 Cents

    This is just ridiculous. This is Yelp trying to slight things in there favor. Bad business model. I use to goto Yelp quite a bit but no more. I use to care about using it as a Business owner….I don’t anymore. Who’s with me? Let’s stop using Yelp as a society and let these bozo’s know who runs stuff. That’s where it’s at for me. Sure they could get there act together but isn’t it a little late.? I’m a smart consumer and I can make up my own decisions, I don’t need Yelp stepping in the middle of any of this. They shouldn’t care! Just post the reviews people do and let people make up their own MINDS! Besides, even if they did post all the reviews, Yelp is not THE END ALL TO END ALL. If I need a service or a product I look at many sources to help myself make a informed decision. DUH YELP! What do you think all your users are idiots? Kinda is a slap in the face. It’s like Yelp is saying, “Hey, Dummy we know you can’t make up your own mind so we wil do it for you.” I don’t know about you but I don’t need this service from anyone, especially YELP!

  • Yelphtr

    Although the words behind the article are sound, the method of execution is so flawed.

    1. Yelp will arbitrarily “not recommend” positive reviews, even if they are people who purchased a Yelp certificate, written dozens of reviews and did not share an IP address.
    2. Yelp will leave negative reviews, even when the person states that they are reviewing something that has nothing to do with the actual business transaction. For example: the food was wonderful, but I am taking two star because the noise level was too much for me. Or – Everything was great, but I don’t like to have to drive that far so only 1 star.
    3. Yelp rewards “Elites” who act like a crazy blogger mafia. These people go from one business to another, with no thought of ever becoming a legit customer anywhere just to then sit and over criticize in lengthy articles that are comparable to stories in Reader’s Digest. Ridiculous.
    4. If business owners can not encourage reviews through incentives, neither should Yelp. Be gone Elites! No more dinners out, discounts at restaurants afraid of your critical words, pictures and parties! No more badges of honor depicting the amount of damage done to small business owners left in your wake. Grow up and do something with your life other than attempting to become popular and liked online! One day, you may be old enough to start a business of your own and Karma will hit you like a Mac Truck.
    5. Yelp built it’s foundation on the paid-for written words of college students and stay at home moms willing to write for $$. How hypocritical they have become “policing” others for the same infraction. No, two wrongs don’t make a right, but glass houses and all that.

    Yelp is a scourge. I hope that they are gone soon.

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk/ BlokeToys.co.uk

    Yelp is damaging to business, plain and simple. It’s open to massive corruption and blackmail, and any company that uses it needs to really think about whether it’s doing them any favors at all, or simply causing them problems.

    Everyone I know uses companies their friends and family recommend, they don’t go to Yelp because they know that all of this can be manipulated. It’s no more trustworthy than just using a company anyway.

    There are laws and regulations that every business has to comply with, Yelp just likes to scare people and businesses into thinking that it is some incredibly important factor in the economic food chain when it really isn’t.

  • http://www.hairkuts.com Guys& Dolls Hairkuts

    The last time I commented on an article about yelp.com, 3 of my 5-star reviews were immediately deleted (filtered) from my yelp listing – interesting. Knowing that yelp monitors these discussions and punishes anyone with less than positive feedback about the way they run things, I still feel compelled to put in my 5-cents worth.
    I do NOT ask my clients for reviews, so I know for a fact that those who leave us a review do so from elsewhere. After reading about the merchant on Bloomberg, I can say that my experience is similar… there are 24 reviews that show on my profile, 20 of them are 5-star. However, I never realized that I had over 50 other 5-star reviews that are filtered. Knowing that they were not written here nor were they solicited, all I can say is that yelp places more emphasis on a fake 1-star review than they do on a legit 5-star review. There are 3 bogus (fake) reviews that I have contacted yelp about and each time I do so it results in retaliation by removal of my good reviews. My ratio is 20 : 70 – they are holding 50 (FIFTY) of my good, legit, real reviews hostage for whatever reason. And the email I get in response to reporting the fake review is that “If a review appears to reflect a user’s personal experience and opinions, it is our policy to let the user stand behind their review…” How can a fake review reflect a user’s personal experience if they have never been to my business?
    You know who I feel sorry for? It is my employees – the fact that they did such a great job that the client would take their own valuable time to stop what they were doing and go to yelp to write about their experience says it all. My staff is top notch and when a client is appreciative to the point that they leave a review and yelp immediately filters it, my staff is being shorted. That yelp filters the reviews that actually reflect a user’s personal experience and let the fake reviews remain indefinitely supports my conclusion that yelp is nothing more than a big bully to small businesses.
    And I am certain that when I wake up tomorrow morning, more of my real reviews will be gone in retaliation for this posting.

  • YelpSD

    Bigger issue is the number of “not recommended” reviews. Legitimate customers have a great experience and post a review on yelp – but because they’re not reviewing everything everyday – Yelp hides the review – while those that post dozens of reviews get posted without any concern – My fear is these – Regulars – are the spammers.

  • https://www.facebook.com/robert.brady.TexasSoundGuy Robert Brady

    I wouldn’t feel one bit guilty about asking my customers to write an honest review after our business and transaction has been completed. After all, you see websites asking customers for their feedback via surveys, so what’s the difference.

    I am an honest, do it straightforward, type of business person and I want to know how my customers feel. So I would request that they be brutally honest in any review or survey.

    BTW – I also think YELP should sort/filter/display Reviews by date, not by their own algorithms.

  • Jonnathan Poster

    What about the free elite events? Where these morons eat and drink for free if they “wink, wink” then go home and leave a nice review for a business. That’s not spam? That’s not paying for reviews?

  • http://www.mrtechnique.com/ Mr. Technique

    I stopped using Yelp because of their behavior. I used to love using them, but I don’t like what they stand for. My wife runs a fine dining restaurant in Atlanta, and she tells me that Yelpers are known for bitching. I prefer not to be in that category.

  • Whyforever?

    My question is why do the reviews have no expiration date? I mean, really, is a review from 5 years ago (good or bad) really relevant to the businesses current state? I think all reviews should be pushed away after a year or two. It’s punishment for a business that got a negative review, or two, several years ago. And undo reward for businesses that have positive reviews from way back when. Just a flawed system in my opinion…..

  • https://www.thegroovygroup.org THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

    Most people just do not visit Yelp to view information on a company or business. There are many more reputable ways to find out if the business is good or bad. Sometimes people have to make their own mind up instead of always relying on people’s reviews.
    Best regards http://www.thegroovygroup.org

  • http://doodleddoes.com/ Doodled

    Yelp is just flawed through and through.

    – It allows you to post a review without proving you have ever visited a place. Crazy

    – It trusts certain reviewers. Anything that gives someone power gives them an asset to cash in on, either through blackmail or by selling their services/profiles (take a quick whirl round Black Hat World to see them doing it)

    I think word is slowly spreading but I always encourage people to put the “People hate us on Yelp” sticker at their business or on their website to raise awareness.

    Remember Yelp looses money hand over fist so it’s just a matter of time before the Angel Investors decide any further funding is good money after bad.

  • http://personalcomputerlessons.net joel

    “…Yelp’s Vincent Sollitto, VP of corporate communications, said: “…The reason that there are a number of positive reviews for Beverly’s [the aforementioned business owner] business that are not being recommended is because in fact ten of them came from the very IP address that was used to claim her business owner’s account…”

    How very astute of you, Vince. As everyone (except perhaps Yelp?) knows, an originating IP address is just about as meaningless and unreliable piece of information available for determining the credibility of a review.

  • http://www.loriswebs.com/ Lori Eldridge

    I asked a few web business clients to leave a review of my site on Yelp just so I can get a few reviews, and Yelp flagged them all. I have no control over what they might say. Their websites might have been on the same host but not the same exact server. I gave up on Yelp thereafter being as it’s main focus is things like restautants anyway.

  • Sam

    I’m a small business owner that has seen first hand the tactics these guys use at Yelp. I posted an ad, and immediately started getting calls from Yelp trying to sell me an upgraded placement. I mean 3-4 calls a day every day. And now, none of the positive reviews my customers say they write are showing up. What a freaking scam!

  • panos

    I had a really bad review from Erin from Seattle. Then i had 4 or five great reviews from actual patients. My office is in Surrey<BC, which is 2 hours away from Seattle and we do not have ANY patients from Seattle… Yelp removed all my good reviews but left the one from Seattle. Not really fair or just. They need better software

  • Simone

    I don’t think that asking people for reviews is spam, and feel there nothing wrong with that. But if you are asking as I had read in the email as an example, to ask for a review after you ‘drop an ipad on someone’s lap at the dentist office’ and then ask for a review, then duh that’s not really authentic. If your trying to sneak in fake reviews, then yeahh.. not the greatest either, but as long as its genuine, whether its good and yes the bad ones too (even though their not fun at times to read), then it should be fine. The bad reviews should be used as a tool toward improvements that would need to be made. Some people are just mean and rude, and once in a while you will get those kind of comments, just ignore them. But asking in general should not be considered ‘spam’ if you say something like “hey can you please write a review for us, I’d really appreciate it” and this is if the individual had a good experience, and may not even know that the company is on yelp for review. So yeah I don’t see what would be wrong about that, to take it as far to consider it as “spamming.”

  • Chris McElroy

    This statement from Yelp “Solicited reviews are often biased and don’t result in the most accurate overall portrayal of that business” is ridiculous.

    So, reviews by people who have never actually done business with the company they are reviewing result in an accurate portrayal of the business?

    There’s an old adage; If people have a bad experience with you, they will tell ten people. If they have a good experience, you’re lucky if they tell one. So, asking for reviews is the only way to balance that out.

    Very few people take the time to tell about a positive experience. They take it for granted, as they should, that the business will do what they say they will do.

    But if they have a bad experience, they will take the time to write a review. That is why a system like Yelp has is flawed and one of the reasons I don’t believe the people who work at Yelp have a clue what it’s like to run a business. They don’t even understand the imbalance that their own business promotes.

  • Tom

    I absolutely hate Yelp and their coercive manner of doing business. I get a call from Yelp every couple of months asking if I would like to advertise with them, and i tell them straight out that I will NEVER advertise with Yelp unless they completely change their business model. I have had a number of customers leave unsolicited reviews of my business that have been “filtered”; I have been contacted later by these same customers, who told me they left a review and couldn’t figure out why it isn’t appearing in my “recommended” reviews. The answer is simple, I refuse to pay Yelp their attempted extortion. Spread the word on the evil of Yelp, hopefully they will go out of business and let us go about ours.

  • Andre

    I’m Andre Kay, CEO/Founder of Sociallybuzz (http://sociallybuzz.com/app). We pretty much exist to help businesses grow using social media. I see this all the time with small and large businesses having trouble with Yelp. On one hand, businesses with negative reviews needs help with gaining positive reviews. Even when they make significant adjustments to their business, the negative reviews still haunts them. Even Yelp know that you will more likely to get a review from the 1% that had a bad experience, than a great review from the ones that enjoyed their time, it’s just human nature. If they can’t ask their customers to leave them a review, then it does not make sense. On the other hand, businesses that receive lots of positive reviews, live by them.

    We’ve been working with brick and mortar businesses for over 5 years managing their social media and reputation. In the last 2 years I set out to create a social media and reputation app that we can put in the hands of every business owner to take back control of their reviews and reputation. Since Yelp is not going away anytime soon, the next best thing is to create a line of communication between the reviewer and the business. Now businesses can easily and quickly manage their social media and online reviews from sites like Yelp, Google Places and Urbanspoon – in one place, on one mobile dashboard. Check it here: http://sociallybuzz.com/app

    If a business cannot ask a customer for a review because it is spam, does that mean it’s also spam for a business to ask customers to ‘like’ them on Facebook or ‘follow’ them on Twitter?

    – Andre K

  • Patrick-Media Buyer

    Yelp wants to restrict how businesses try to undo the damage done by an un-vetted reviews. Who do they think they are? A disgruntled employee, competitor or someone who has never been in the store. Kristen Whisenand is delusional if she thinks product does anything but damage a business. Only negative experiences or illegitimate experiences are posted as that is the way it is. A business trying to prompt people in store or wherever to post their positive experience is simply self defense. Until I get a phone call from Yelp telling me how I can advertise on the reviews of my competitor and how I can buy the space on my review to prevent a competitor from doing what they are telling me to do. Kristen is concerned about objectivity? I think she should be more concerned with her business model and less about the business model of others.

  • warning

    I am a consumer looking for legitimate reviews of businesses and a fledgling business owner hoping to build a good reputation. As a consumer, I don’t feel YELP has legitimate reviews. With all the controversy over the way reviews are handled, I don’t use YELP. And as a flegling business owner, I have been told time and time again, if I don’t ask for a testimonial, I won’t get one, and that has been my experience. It is ridiculous to ding a business because it legitimately obtains and then uploads testimonials from customers from it’s own computer. YELP is over-reaching it’s bounds and becoming a form of “Big Brother” that we don’t need. I often use Amazon and Ebay reviews…. there are enough reviews of items and 3rd party businesses to be able to formulate an informed purchase decision. As far as local businesses that aren’t covered by the above, I usually use word of mouth…. YELP has denigrated itself with shady business practices. I won’t use it for reviews and I warn all my friends about it’s practices.

  • YelpMeOutHere

    So if I have the Yelp app, and I have a good/bad experience at a local coffee shop that just happens to have free wifi, and then decide I’ll write a review while I drink my coffee, Yelp is not going to recommend it because the ip belongs to the store?

    What is the point of the app again?

  • Michelle

    Yelp – do as I say, not as I do…or else. In my opinion, YELP regularly solicits reviews in their Yelp 100 challenge where they ask (challenge) their active reviewers (mostly elite) to write 100 reviews in a pre-defined time frame. I believe there is some type of “incentive” for this activity? When the reviewer has reached their goal, they typically write a glowing review of yelp and post it on Yelp’s own own page http://www.yelp.com/biz/yelp-san-francisco . How is this different from the small biz owner asking satisfied clients to support them on a review site? Other questions for Ms. Wisenensand and Mr. Sollito: Please explain to me why a small biz owner should do business with Yelp when they have only a 2 star rating? Shouldn’t we be wary of a business with such a poor reputation? Why don’t you respond to negative reviews on your site and/or make suggested changes in your policies to improve your reputation – isn’t this what you tell all of us small biz owers to do? When I look at Yelp’s own page, it is filled with negative reviews from small biz owners about your terrible business policies and from my viewpoint, my fellow small biz owners are my peers and their reviews of your business are more relevant to me than the weird poems and long winded, love-fest crap written by your entitled eliters. Would you say that the angry reviews from the small biz community are not an accurate reflection of your business? Would you say that you have many happy small biz customers who don’t bother to write positive reviews to offset the complainers? How is that different from the thousands of small business owners being harmed by Yelp and their experience with your review site platform? What would your actual star rating be if you unlocked all the “not recommended” reviews? Since your company is using the reputation of other people’s business (without their consent) to make a profit, I feel that you owe all of us an explanation.

  • tired of yelp b/s

    We hardly ever get reviews on yelp and when we finally did is was that customer that just would not listen to our years of knowledge and didn’t care about his safety or others on the road. Of course he slammed my business and i was OK with his review because he made him self look bad in his own comments. Just over two weeks ago we received another bad review that we could not figure out who the customer was and was really disturbing to me as he left enough information that we could possibly figure out who it was. I searched every customer for the amount paid as stated in the review- nothing. i searched for the name forward and backwards- nothing. I searched the time line stated in the review and found nothing. When searching over this bad review i checked out any other reviews he left, all reviews this guy ever left was on that day, no others and all bad! I logged into my business yelp account that is free ( i do not and will not ever advertise with this company) and flagged his review for yelp to review and received a reply within a few days from yelp stating
    “We rely on community engagement to help keep Yelp useful,
    and although we didn’t agree that this content should come down, we appreciate
    you bringing it to our attention.”

    Of course no change, yelp is hard at work degrading businesses that have worked hard to build it up and one review could destroy you? Not fair, morally or ethically! So my only option is to figure out who this customer or competitor is? I watched this guys account for several days and finally he started leaving bad reviews again for other businesses. I flagged those as well and sent him a message that stated “your time is coming on yelp”. Maybe over stepping my bounds but at this point i don’t care. The next morning i receive an e mail from yelp stating we have a new review. I log in and see that John T has now changed his review from bad to all good. I search high and low to find the old hideous review and can not find anywhere. I flag the new review and get the same exact response from yelp “We rely on community engagement to help keep Yelp useful,
    and although we didn’t agree that this content should come down, we appreciate
    you bringing it to our attention.”
    So i watch and find this review goes from recommended reviews to the not recommended area that is not shown unless you click on them. So i go back into John T yelp reviews and find all others are gone and only the one for my business is listed (the new good one).
    This is proof that yelp doesn’t work…..period. Good thing i have screen shots of all the changes, if this ever becomes a legal issue i have some proof. We all need to ban together and stop using yelp and form a group, pool our money and get a lawsuit to change the way that yelp operates.
    Just my two cents.

  • Paul Crowley

    Look, if you don’t know that people simply do not write positive reviews, you are sadly misinformed. People are more than happy to write negative reviews because they are looking to vent their frustration and unhappiness. Positive reviews require thought and effort, neither of which are customers that are happy are motivated to do. The result, obviously, is a huge number of positive reviews are faked and an equal number of negative reviews are as well.Yelp would like to change these dynamics which are mostly based in human nature and they are finding it difficult to change people – well, duh! So what is Yelp going to do? Well, they are going to try to stop businesses encouraging positive reviews, because if businesses that do not pay them get lots of positive reviews they do not need to pay Yelp. They are going to pretend to filter negative reviews to eliminate those that aren’t valid – but only pretend. The filtering of positive reviews is a key aspect of their business model – the path to lots of positive reviews is through paying for advertising with Yelp to bring in more people dedicated to using Yelp to find businesses. You can see where this goes – either Yelp is important outside a small circle of people that use it or it is not. So far, out in the real world, I would say it is not all that important, but don’t expect to hear that from anyone paying Yelp or anyone getting paid by them.

  • Maryalice Johnson

    I see nothing wrong with asking a happy customer for a review.. It’s called word of mouth. Yelp should not be trusted.. They are hurting Business with their ideology.

  • marbleheadman

    Our experience with YELP is that it is one of the most insidious scams on the internet. As soon as we declined their “advertising”, the only reviews that have shown up for two years are negative.

  • m

    Yelp = Very, very bad. They are extortionists of the worst sort. They are all round bad for small businesses. They tried to force us to pay for advertising(?) and were turned down. The result? All and I do mean all the good reviews vanished in less than 24 hours to be replaced with bad reviews written by people who had never used our business. What part of that is good for any business?

    Everything said below is true and then some. Stay away from Yelp and tell everyone else to stay away from Yelp.

  • Rene’

    I had been a customer of a small business for over 20 years and wrote a five star review based on my experience from my home. And it was deleted because they said it was too good and that I must be an employee. Ridiculous!

  • molly

    I hate YELP. I have hated it since it’s inception. I refuse to review or read reviews on YELP. The only reason I leave our business name on YELP is in the lodging business we really need as much exposure as possible. They are certainly not in the business of helping anyone out. They are in it purely for themselves!

  • Yelp SUCKS

    I have more positive reviews in my not shown section than I have negative reviews in what they show. I have reviewers that have only reviewed one time with negative reviews and no picture in the show section and multiple reviewers with positive reviews in the not shown section. YELP IS A SCAMMER and SHOULDN”T BE TRUSTED OR USED FOR REVIEWS!!! It is just about the traffic count so they can sell advertising. They could care less about what people think or where is the good place to eat. Give them the money is their goal!!!

  • http://www.dimensionasalon.com/ Dimension A Salon

    Yelp trying to circumvent its own problem of review terrorism and on going lawsuits? How silly for Yelp to rely on a Yelpers’ IP address. Dynamic IP addresses prevail over static. Yelp needs to hear itself. Guess then Starbucks’ reviews are all spam. LOL! Oh yeah forgot, Yelp does not employ the intelligent. Guess then their checkin is worthless too. Consumers trust the real experience not the after. Think twit or foursquare for real time social buzz. Every business owner must encourage its customers to advocate loud and hard online in every social vertical the customer participates, and if that means placing a sign or verbalizing while in the moment so be. Social buzz wins over Yelp’s lame policies for controlling the VOC.

  • Jack a.

    Yelp is bs. they take down good reviews and leave up bad ones. I encourage everyone to keep records by taking screen shots. Yelp is not trustworthy and they should not be allowed to ct this waty. check your reviews carefully and watch and record what they do. its awful.

  • http://personalcomputerlessons.net joel

    An amusing bit of information provided by Yelp on its site: “Yelp merely acts as a forum like any other where people can share their views.”

    Merely a forum like any other? Hmm … wonder what a court of law might have to say about that?

  • Randy R

    Yelp is so corrupt! They are like the BBB that got shut down for the same tactics a few years ago. It’s interesting the the news media had such a focus on the BBB and it’s policies but YELP can do the things they do and get away with it. Another company stole our name that we have had for 51 years. They are also not licensed or insured and are not even located in the city they claim to be in. We have sent numerous letters to YELP but because this company shares revenue with YELP they
    let it persist. We will NEVER pay YELP a dime. Eventually these companies that can only advertise on YELP will go out of business and YELP will lose revenue and because of the way they treated us we will never advertise with them.

  • Van Walker

    We get requests for reviews on a regular basis, and I consider it spam. I’m not going to review someone I don’t know, you would have to be a fool to do that! I ask them to come to my office for a cup of good and fresh coffee so I can see what they are about. No one ever takes me up on it!