I’m a bit late to the party on this one but please… for the sake of many small businesses get the word out. Yelp is a review site ostensibly meant to provide helpful feedback on many businesses in order to help you decide which restaurant, hairdresser, hotel, etc… to choose from in a competitive market place.
Unfortunately, Yelp operates like an extortion racket run by the mob and uses strong arm tactics in order to solicit payment from companies in order to have negative reviews removed or moderated by the victimized business. Obviously, there are cases where a business will generate false reviews in order to inflate its profile. There are also cases where the business is genuinely at fault. A disinterested server, inferior product, etc…
Nonetheless, when it comes to Yelp the fix is in.
Facebook groups have begun appearing decrying Yelp’s business practices. Take for example the aptly named “Yelp Extortion” group on Facebook. It’s “Description” opens up with the following paragraph:
This page is intended to inform consumers that yelp is a scam and act as a platform for honest small businesses ready to actively defend ourselves against Yelp extortion and defamation. This Page was created by an extreme sports marketing company that has a genuine love for alternative lifestyle sports and takes pride in what has always been an honest business. Yelp is tarnishing our company name by filtering real positive reviews and keeping disproven negative reviews viewable that often contradict the content guidelines on their own website. They will not cooperate with us and only contact businesses with low ratings when attempting to extort them for advertising purposes.
Basically, Yelp works businesses over by saying for a healthy fee they can remove negative reviews or move them lower down the pecking order. They rationalize inquires as to why a positive review is posted so low on the totem pole by suggesting that the reviewer is not trusted, or suspected of being a plant by the victimized small business.
The cost for the fix?
“We can move them. Well, for $299 a month.“
A crowd-funded Independent Yelp film entitled “Billion Dollar Bully” has been produced. The film is currently in post-production but a couple trailers are now available on You Tube.
Here’s some recommended websites to further your understanding of Yelp’s practices:
And one final reference — Yelp’s popularity has not escaped the notice of South Park’s creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone who skewered Yelp reviewers in a 19th season episode entitled:
I’d have preferred them to have come out gang busting the company itself but the episode offers quite a few laughs (Although, it’s not recommended for the weak stomached among you.)