More on why Yelp Sucks

This is part two of my original post WHY YELP SUCKS.

By the way, I totally predicted this.

Yelp sent a message out warning businesses about reputation management companies.  To me, they are  trying to put a stop at people’s only line of defense against YELP which is reputation management efforts.  What do you think? Is it legitimate concern, or another attempt to prevent businesses from doing damage control?

The message:

We’ve recently seen an uptick in reports about “reputation management” companies that claim to work with Yelp to remove your negative reviews or otherwise boost your ratings… for a fee (of course!). If you’re wondering how these companies can make good on this offer, the answer is simple: They can’t. There’s never been any amount of money one can pay — to Yelp or any third party — to manipulate reviews.

If you’ve been contacted by someone offering something along these lines, we’d love to get the details so we can prevent them from preying on others. Please use this form to loop us in. For general questions, contact our user support team at

Finally, as we’ve said in the past, the best strategy for reputation management is to provide great customer service, and respond diplomatically to your reviewers.

To me this message is under the guise of trying to help you, by discrediting reputation management companies so you wont use them.  Granted there might be a few of these businesses making false promises, much like fixing a credit report.  People cannot promise to remove reviews.  Unless they are some kind of insider, this just isn’t possible.

HOWEVER,  DO NOT DISCOUNT THIS SERVICE AS A WHOLE!  There is many things that can be done to help you.  Many legitimate reputation management services available,  You still have options!

The legit companies simply  understand the system and can help by using perfectly legal ways such as report reviews violating terms of service, investigate reviewers and prove they are competitors, link build to bury bad reviews from searches, create or strengthen your website or web presence,  help claim your listing and optimize, and much more.

Always be wary before hiring a company to help you.  But don’t discount that there is help out there.  Be sure to stay tuned, I am working on some tips on how you can do your own reputation management.

13 replies
  1. David
    David says:

    With Yelp you can’t active request reviews from your clients. Yelp don’t like this sort of thing, so somehow your clients have to find you on Yelp by their own means and leave a review. So to help this I gave Yelp FREE advertising, by mentioning I am listed on Yelp as a signature at the end of all my emails. Some of my clients left great reviews with 5 stars. These were later removed by Yelps active computer. When I contacted Yelp about it, they said the reviewers have to actively use Yelp by continually review other businesses.

    As I am an Apple fan and iOS 6 with the new maps app was coming out, I decided to add my business to Yelp, as they were providing the listings. But with all the fiasco surrounding the Apple maps, perhaps Yelp has something to answer to.

    Now I bet if I paid the extortionate £120 per month to advertise, my 5 star rating might just be put back on. I can’t see Yelp being that successful in the UK with badges and dukedoms as gimmicks to encourage people to leave reviews. What works in the US, does not always work over here. Just look at the Pyramid selling techniques. I for one am not drawn into this sort of thing.

  2. Marc
    Marc says:

    At the end of the day all review sites are in it for the money. I use to be on 2 builder review sites. RatedPeoledotcom and MyBuilderdotcom. They were both a total waste of time and were just costing me lots of money. I actually found a plasterer on MyBuilder, who carried out on small job, and this was done reasonably well. I then gave him a large job which he made an awful job of. It was just before Christmas and when I asked him to come and sort it out, he angrily said he was busy up until Christmas and said he would sort it out in the New Year. I booked an appointment and myself and the client were waiting. He did not turn up, did not return my calls or emails. It has been a major problem for me. On his MyBuilder listing he had 5 stars and reviewers mentioning his ability to produce a mirror finish. I very much doubt he is able to ever produce this kind of work. So for me, you cannot trust any review sites. As for Rated People, you have to buy leads at very high rates. I purchased a job at about £56. I contacted the client who said the would contact me next week. They did not and then Rated People emailed me the exact same job to purchase again for same cost.

  3. M
    M says:

    What I hate about Yelp is that you can’t actively request your clients to leave a review. A number of mine have left good reviews, only for them to be removed from my Yelp listing. I was informed by Yelp that my clients have to actively use Yelp by reviewing other businesses. If they do, my star rating will come back. One of them has reviewed other site and I’m still waiting. I go my regular Yelp activity email today and it was the usual big fat 0 and 0. Perhaps if I paid the extortionate £120 per month for advertising, I might get a lot more action.

    You could say I was giving Yelp free advertising myself, as I use a signature on the bottom of all my emails, stating I am on Yelp. I am removing it as of today and as Apple use Yelp on their iOS Maps App, perhaps that’s the reason for Apples problems. Yelp is a thumbs down for me.

  4. Chaz Valenza
    Chaz Valenza says:

    Don’t hate me but I took that drink and I’m paying YELP because all my competitors have better YELP ratings and all my efforts to try to improve my YELP rating have failed. YELP has basically filtered a dozen good reviews (all legit from our customers BTW) and left us with 2.5 stars and for a restaurant that’s just not good enough.

    I am contacting our webmaster about doing the YELP webpage on our site as suggested above.

    But the bottom line is this, we are losing business (I know because customers have told me that friends won’t give us a try) because of a couple of poor YELP reviews.

    All the good reviews in the world on Google and CitySearch and elsewhere just don’t make-up for the poor showing on YELP.

    You are right when you say there is no way to just let things take their natural course. I have written to the really bad reviewers and asked to make things right, but get no response.

    So, I’m going to pay YELP some ad money and hope things don’t get worse. I feel, at this point, there is no option. I will call the FTC tomorrow. I have called my Congressman Rush Holt and talked to a staffer to see if he will champion an investigation into this blackmail. (Congressman Holt is a good customer of ours).

    I wish there were another way, but letting this stand isn’t working. I don’t see any choice right now but paying the devil.

    • BOSS Hawaii
      BOSS Hawaii says:

      Oh no! That is a shame but I understand it is a desperate situation. This is exactly their MO. People like yourself feel they have no other choice and they pay. Could you email me your yelp page, I would like to look and see if there are any reviews that might be violating terms that you can flag. Don’t publish it here as YELP watches the page and if they know who you are and that you are on the verge of paying them, they wont filter the reviews.

      Continue to complain, at some point it has to do some good. I think the pressure is already on them from what I hear so the more we stand up, the more we can hope they will be forced to change!

      • Marc
        Marc says:

        Surely they could just remove the listing from Yelp altogether. Yelp seems to be ruining a lot of good businesses. Thankfully they are not doing that well in the UK. I certainly don’t use Yelp to find a restaurant. I prefer Tripadviser.

  5. Danny Antwi
    Danny Antwi says:

    I’m really sorry about these complaints you all have because review sites like this are necessary for both consumer and businesses to gauge client satisfaction which is a mutually desirable end.

    What have you done about it since learning about this, it can be frustrating but throw your support behind and honest and thought out start-up or even an existing service like it of your choosing. I’m sorry google hasn’t developed that and faacebook is not a solution either.

    This might appear self-serving but note this, I decided to start RaveOrBash because of my deep concerns for consumer issues being one.

    This fall, we will change the face of consumer reviews, we’ll tackle fraud and cliquey memberships among others.

    i’ll keep you posted but follow us on twitter for more updates and throw your support behind us now on by liking us and sharing with your network.

    A balanced consumer review site for all is on it’s way to being your destination on the web for all consumer reviews.

    This Fall

  6. Joe
    Joe says:

    What Yelp claimed is not true. It looks like to me that they want to instill fear into their customers and then recommend their partners reputation services for a profit. The words ‘digital extortion’ comes to mind when thinking about Yelp’s business model. You are right, no one can ‘remove’ negative reviews unless they work inside of Yelp and has the authority to do so.

    You also have to ask yourself, why are all these ‘reputation management companies’ popping out left and right all of a sudden? That is because Yelp has created a painful problem for business owners. Thanks to Yelp for discovering a new niche but curse for not playing fair and dragging everyone into a fight they didn’t asked for and allow competitors to anonymously slander just about anyone they want.

    Most clients we work with got bad reviews without their knowledge. It is often the happy customers who bring to the business owners’ attention. Most of our cases we uncover from negative reviews were generated by former employees, competitors and envious peers. Most happy customers just walk off because that business met their expectations so they have nothing to vent. The sad part is that anyone can say something negative and the businesses are drag into this unwillingly. This will hurt any business bottom line if not taken tacticful actions.

    We have helped clients to regain their reputation status by taking swifty legal actions, best search engine optimization practice and created channels for their real customers to voice their opinion. So I strongly disagree with Yelp’s claim about reputation management companies are all bad.

    • BOSS Hawaii
      BOSS Hawaii says:

      Absolutely you are right. I think it is funny they are telling people Reputation Management companies are bad, when it is their flawed system that created the need for it in the first place. I think that was an unexpected offshoot they were not expecting, and now they are trying to figure out a way to discredit the solution. YELP profits from businesses having no control, so of course they are going to do all they can to take that control away. Reputation Management, education and being proactive are a businesses only way to combat this problem and protect their businesses. As a business owner who works hard at supporting business growth, I find it disgusting when companies find ways to use fear and extortion as their business model. Reviews and feedback can be a very good thing for businesses, but the YELP model does more damage than good. I am waiting for the other systems to gain momentum and overtake YELP. Google has a great opportunity to cultivate their review system and replace YELP. I an so glad they stopped including YELP reviews in google business listings. I am watching google plus and the changes they have made to the google business section, with great interest as it seems they are moving in!

  7. Louis Galdeira
    Louis Galdeira says:

    I witnessed first hand as a concierge how yelp (or technology for that matter) can neglect a HUGE part of what the service or product is really about … or what makes it unique.

    I have given hotel guest recommendations and watched many of the guests login and complete the ENTIRE transaction on OpenTable, Yelp, Zaggat, Where to Eat, Tripadvisor, Expedia, Priceline and other third-party sites including social media platforms while standing in front of me.

    The conversation the next day varied and majority of the time I would of had the opportunity to say “I told you so …” if I actually was able to tell them before they left the hotel.

    That’s when a smart phone goes dumb :0)

  8. John Washam
    John Washam says:

    I wish small businesses didn’t have to worry about Yelp reviews, but they do. I think Yelp could help alleviate these issues by letting the business owner respond to the reviewer in private before the review is published.
    Thanks for writing. I’m curious about these reputation management services.


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