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Is Yelp a scam?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Overall we have good reviews, but there are a few negative reviews on yelp.  Somebody from yelp has called me several times trying to get my to "upgrade" my membership so I can have the ability to REMOVE negative reviews. 

 

Doesn't this defeat the whole purpose of review sites?  Am I the only one who sees this as a blatant scam?

post #2 of 12

It's not so much a scam as it is the way yelp makes money by developing "relationships" with business that are rated. The relationships extend to the reviewers, the business and the local yelp representative. They all become friends, or at least feel they have a close acquaintanceship. It fits into the urban lifestyle of people between 18 and early 30's and the places they go.

 

I'm not a fan.

post #3 of 12

It is 100% a scam I have a neighbor that owns a company that does “ Online reputation Management” Which is also a scam but it works… Anyway you pay him and his company gets you 5 starts on Yelp and other online boards that are all fake… The best sign I have seen was out in front of a Pub in San Clemente that said come on in and try our crab cakes that 1 user on yelp thought were the worst thing they have ever eaten… I think it strange how after you say no to advertising with yelp your bad reviews end up on the top of your page…. Things that make you go HMMMM

post #4 of 12

Yelp is a business and it needs to make money.

 

"reviewers" are volunteers and don't get paid

 

The "onus" falls on the business owner to fork out money.  You might get the "ability' to remove bad reviews, but you'll have to pay for it.  And of course, you'll always get hit up for advertising.

 

Reviews are well... best not said.  Positive reviews are screened thoroughly, as there might be a chance that an employee or agent of the business wrote it.  Personally, I've had two customers who were very happy with my food and service and had their reviews taken down after 8 hrs.  They weren't "regular contributers" and it was a positive review, so it got removed immediately.  Negative reviews aren't screened.  I've had one reviewer write a 4 pager on everything bad about my business--except the food and service, it was obvious that the reviewer never eatenor even purchased anything.  Another reviewer has a personal vendetta against my partner and will complain bitterly about everything but will not supply any facts or evidence in the review to support the negativeness.

 

Yelp is big on "logorythms" (sp?)  I have no idea what this means, but have a suspicion that all reviews are screened by a program and not a live, real, human being.

 

I think the hospitality business would be a better place without Yelp........................

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 12
I consider them a canned-ham scam site...though it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize it.
But once I saw a business showing over forty reviews with only ONE semi negative bad one, their
gig was up. Lol
Rather clever really, you promote a place where people looove to complain, then hit the business up
for hard cash to make em look like paradise. But the only way it can work s if the readers don't know that angle.
So to me its the fact they don't disclose that fact that makes them sleazy and dishonest.
post #6 of 12

They filtered all of our positive reviews so that you had to click a small print link to view them. Bumped less recent but negative reviews to the front. Right after this we were contacted by a yelp representative asking for money. We didn't pay but the issue seems to be resolved now  anyways.
 

post #7 of 12

Sounds like a job for the local police dept.. : Blackmail...........

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #8 of 12

I don't think it will be long before there is a class action lawsuit against Yelp. What they do is extortion in my opinion. The common practice for them is to do to others exactly what they did to you. They post the bad reviews on the front page and claim they have no control over where they appear, which is total BS considering the consistency of the problem. Then, they contact you for money to be able to respond to and challenge reviews. It is extortion.

 

I do know one restaurant that successfully turned the tables on them. Yelp contacted them about advertising and they told Yelp they wouldn't spend any money to promote a profile that made them look bad. Yelp bumped some positive ads up to the first page, then tried contacting them again. They ignored them and Yelp went away, leaving the positive ads on the first page.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #9 of 12

Hmm, I don't know if I'd call it blackmail OR extortion exactly....

more like willful contributory slander maybe? I say contributory because

(and the first thing they would say in their own defense) THEY are not directly

commenting on the business, they're just withholding selective submissions unless

you pay them to be fair and honest.

But even if it's a loophole operation, I  think we agree that what they're doing

SHOULD be illegal, or at least legally actionable.

post #10 of 12

Libel would be he thing you'd sue them for. But that's just not going to happen.

 

Ylp is a tool that people use. EVERYONE wants their voice to be heard,

especially if they were having a bad day... er,  I mean, if they had a bad experience, and Ylp is an open platform for that.

I like to think that people are able to read the negative reviews and take them with a grain of salt.

I mean, you can certainly tell when someone is just having anger problems.

 

As far as buying a subscription or whatever... I've seen a few places I know do it; places with horrible (warranted) reviews, and places that are just opening.

It gives them an ability to respond directly to the reviews, for all to see.

 

As far as it actually being a scam, I don't know of anyone who has actually removed negative remarks.

Maybe the scam is that they say you can, but you can't?

 

I don't really know what my point is and I feel like I'm rambling so I'm going to stop.

It's as real as facebook et al. More reason to hire someone to do social media for you.

See? It creates jobs! talker.gif Or just get some friends to bomb it with positive reviews.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post

Hmm, I don't know if I'd call it blackmail OR extortion exactly....

more like willful contributory slander maybe? I say contributory because

(and the first thing they would say in their own defense) THEY are not directly

commenting on the business, they're just withholding selective submissions unless

you pay them to be fair and honest.

But even if it's a loophole operation, I  think we agree that what they're doing

SHOULD be illegal, or at least legally actionable.

 

Ummm.. that's the "catch 22"  situation.  If Yelp is in a position to remove negative feedback, for a fee, then they are in a position to control their website.  A blackmailer is not responsible for the act the blackmailee did, he just wants money from the blackmailee to shut up, right?

 

Reminds me of the book (and movie) "The tailor of Panama" where the slime-bag journalist says something like: "some people pay me to write things, and some people pay me NOT to write things".....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #12 of 12

My exposure to yelp was from family members who worked for and with yelp. If they're tailoring reviews based on payment it's a scam. The local and regional reps were expected to be aggressive in getting business, so I'm not all that surprised.

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