Why yelp sucks – Yelp survival guide

I continually update this article based on new information. Check back or leave a comment to share your story.  UPDATED 1/30/2013

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I used to be a die hard Yelper. I was one of the people who jumped aboard early, and was quickly on my way to being a Yelp elite.

So why am I now anti-yelp?

This article lists all the reasons as well as gives you insight as to the problems and what you can do to protect yourself because the way YELP is set up now, it is damaging to businesses and people’s reputations.  Yelp has made the system impossible for businesses.   Bad reviews are bad for your business which is good for YELP.  This article goes into why.


The “Review Filter”.   The dreaded filter, that Yelp defends.   Reviews that reflect perfectly legitimate experiences getting filtered out by the “review filter’s algorithmic processes”.

This means as a reviewer you could write hundreds of reviews, and suddenly they are no longer showing because the filter decided, for whatever reason, you are no longer review worthy.

As a business you could suddenly be cheated out of your positive reviews,  leaving only negative ones or none at all.

As a YELPER you often don’t know you have been filtered because when you are logged in, you can see your reviews fine.  But log out and look at check and you may be surprised to find out that your reviews are not showing.  NO ONE but you is reading your reviews.   For those who haven’t figured it out, they continue to make reviews like jerks, thinking people can see it but lo and behold you are only talking to yourself!

This is what happened to me.  For no reason I could see, my reviews were not showing anymore.  It made the whole process of reviewing seemed pointless from then on out.

Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman, insists that it’s automated system filters out untrustworthy reviews (there’s a program that can determine that?).  But many find that this system is inconsistent.

I contacted YELP and also my local rep EMI about how I was being filtered.  How can I continue to promote YELP as a positive tool for businesses in my workshops if I can’t use my own account as an example?

I prepared for battle.  But when Emi contacted me, I was very annoyed at myself because I liked her.  I didn’t want to.  But it is hard not to.  She is beautiful, charming, talented…all the things Yelp looks for in a leader.  What is worse is I think she genuinely believes YELP is wonderful.  She defended YELP  not really addressing my concerns directly or about YELPS legal predicaments and seemed unconcerned that I was threatening to UN recommend YELP to the thousands of businesses I had previously convinced to join YELP in the first place.

You can hardly blame her, she has spent years building up her ELITE status and gets to go to all the parties.  Its pretty hard to see the truth, when you are basking in the YELP benefits.

At the end of the day, nothing happened, my complaints were for nothing just like my reviews.  But after that day my business listing could no longer be found in YELP searches.  It is still there….but only if you have a direct link.   And my positive reviews are all……well…..GONE.

Touche Yelp.  Touche.

SO what does YELP say about the filter problem?

“We agree this can be frustrating”.

Yep. Frustrating not only as the Yelper but the business, who suddenly and conveniently has their legitimate reviews filtered, just to be left with the negative ones, often by people who are competitors, or out to intentionally discredit your business.

But Yelp has the answer for you!

You can claim your listing as a business, and add your own information and images.  Of course, during the sign up process you are offered to create deals and advertise which allows you to control your account and in a sense, your reviews.  Businesses desperate to repair the damage these negative reviews are doing, often give in and pay for these upgrades and advertising.

As seen in this recent report,  advertising and deals is vital to YELP’s bottom line.

Yelp now denies that upgrading your account allows you to control your reviews, but upgrading your account does allow alter how listings appear on your page. (this has yet again changed, as time has gone by they have had to concede to public complaints)

Cats & Dogs owner Greg Perrault claims that Yelp offered to hide negative reviews if he advertised with them. He decided to not advertise with the company and a week later negative reviews that had disappeared mysteriously reappeared.

Yelp denies that they every offered to hide negative reviews because they got in trouble for it, but Currently Yelp is involved in a class action suit for extortion.  Those who have initiated the law suit have claimed they were told if they paid, that Yelp would remove their negative reviews.  Yelp did offer this at one time, and have since changed this service.  They now offer you the ability to control the reviews by featuring them or changing the order. (this has also recently changed)

Reports are still being made by companies who get calls from Yelp sales and imply that their reviews will be fixed or improve if they pay for advertising.  If you read the comments in this article you will see several people say that they received these calls and a couple of people who actually bought advertising and the agent restored their filtered positive reviews.

WHY YELP doesn’t want you to encourage people to write reviews.

Recently Harvard Business School assistant professor Michael Luca release this report that has some very interesting facts.  One I found particularly interesting was where he refers to Bayesian learning. He confirms through this model, that people are more influenced by Elite reviewers and he also find how significant a 1 star rating drop is.

A 2010 Nielson Report shows the huge influence reviews have on consumers.  They also said

“People are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive.”

In fact specifically 41%  were more likely to share a negative review online than a positive one.  So if businesses encourage satisfied customers to post positive reviews, the need to market their business via more traditional methods (advertising!) is reduced.

So with these facts we can run a scenario:

There is an open review site with no one controlling it.  Since we know Negative reviews would outweigh positives (based on statistics) a businesses would need to encourage satisfied customers to leave positive ones just to keep things balanced.

With balanced reviews, why would anyone need to advertise?

YELP knows this.

So YELP encourages mass reviewing to give their advertising dollar value.  They cultivate Elite who support advertisers, and let the negative review statistics work its magic and then by controlling the businesses from preventing them from any kind of balance on the review system, they are able to spin things in their favor for advertising and deal revenue.

If a business complains about their unfair reviews or tries to do anything to attempt to encourage customers to leave good reviews,  YELP will encourage the business to claim their listing (which promotes check in offers, advertising, and deals, all things that YELP benefits from) and here is my favorite…..”the best way to succeed on Yelp is by focusing on great customer service“.

Great customer service is commonly achieved by surveying customers and asking them for feedback.  This includes reviews!

But really, it annoys me to no end that YELP is telling us how to succeed.  As if somehow the fact that we are unhappy with our reviews means that we are lacking customer service skills.  Our issue is fairness and balance.  I think most businesses agree, they are fine with constructive negative reviews.

“Telling people this is all they need to do and the rest will take care of itself, is frankly, dangerous business advice.  I’m not sure if it was Google who started that lie or someone else, but it time for it to die a painful death.  It doesn’t matter how great your restaurant is or how awesome the experience you’re creating – if you don’t encourage people to SHARE the experience, if you don’t TELL them to share it, they very often won’t.”

Also inviting someone to try your business and leave a review (any review)  is not the same as asking for a good review…if you are willing to take the good with the bad, what is wrong with that??

My issues with The ELITE Squad

The ELITE squad.  These are Yelpers who have achieved ELITE status and whose reviews cannot be filtered.

There are ads on Craigslist from businesses offering to pay for reviews and even ads from the ELITE themselves who are offering to write reviews for your business….for a price.

Elites are not allowed to be business owners.  Why?  Because YELP knows that people who don’t own businesses can’t relate or care how damaging bad reviews are.  YELP also does not want businesses to have any control or understanding of the inner workings of YELP.

This blogger does a great job at explaining how it used to be before reviews sites, that when someone was upset they came to your face and told you so and you could offer to make it right and all was well.

Studies I reference earlier show how Elite impact a consumer’s decision to buy.  The Elite are the true driving force behind the Yelp empire.  And they are carefully programmed and cultivated to follow that program which supports advertisers.

Yelp is hypocritical

  • Yelp tells business to NOT encourage reviews.  You are allowed to place one of their authorized YELP stickers on your business window, but they do not want you asking for customers to leave reviews or offer any kind of freebies or incentives as thank yous for reviews.  Recently I got a popup asking for me to review the YELP app.  I thought that was quote funny because YELP is a business…..and they are asking for a review….on their own site that tells me I am not allowed to?
  • Businesses are discouraged from trading services for reviews.  YELP does not condone this and its a violation of their policy.  HOWEVER,  Businesses sponsor YELP Elite parties where everything is FREE and the Elite review the business.  Obviously the only reason the business does this is to get reviews.  So isn’t that considered trading services for reviews?
  • Yelp’s terms of service say  that as a reviewer you are liable for your Content. If it contains material that is “false, intentionally misleading, or defamatory; violates any third-party right, including any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, moral right, privacy right, right of publicity, or any other intellectual property or proprietary right”.  But if you complain to YELP about a review that is false the often don’t remove it and wont provide assistance in identifying the reviewer, so how can anyone hold a review liable?

And they continue to find more ways to destroy your business

Businesses seeing the impact of  bad reviews on their business, have become desperate.

As I mentioned earlier, it is not a balanced system and businesses have been trying anything they can do to get a fair balanced profile for their business online.  And Yelp continues to cut businesses off at the knees by changing the system to prevent this from happening.

So it comes as no surprise when ABC recently reported that Yelp is now playing private detective to find businesses paying for reviews and outing them publicly.  By using a computer filter (yes , they are trusting your image to yet another computer filter!!)  they are uncovering companies that purchase fake positive reviews,  then showing the world its evidence.  (full article here)

Yelp now found a way to scare businesses from planting or paying for reviews.

“One jewelry store was paying someone $200 [to write a positive review],” said Vince Sollitto, Yelp’s vice president of corporate communications. “It kind of shows that this is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game. People are always going to try to game the system.”

The computer filter that Yelp uses is so top secret the company will not talk about it for fear of giving away too many clues to businesses looking to post phony reviews.

“This is not acceptable behavior,” Sollitto said. “Frankly, it’s not just unethical, but it’s probably illegal. And we think we need to let business owners know you can’t go out there and try to mislead your consumers.”

Who gave YELP the right to police your business and report to your customers?  They are not trained, approved government or state run organizations without agendas.  This is a business, making money on this system and even worse, they are trusting these decisions to filters that they admit aren’t perfect.  They create an unfair environment then call out people for trying to avoid the damage it creates.

He says there are a couple of ways to help spot the real reviews from the fake. Truthful reviews talk about physical space and use specific details like “floor” and “small,” while fake reviewers tend to talk about themselves and their companions more than the actual business. Words like “husband” can be red flags.

Really?  This makes NO sense to me whatsover.  Most reviews I read and write all discuss who we were with and what they did.  “I want with my husband to so and so, or my mother had the hamburger and I had the steak”.  Yet this is a red flag?

Below is an example of what will popup on businesses who are caught.  Doesn’t the wording on this just seem immature and unprofessional?

This article that goes more into the  companies who were busted.

courtesy searchengineland.com


Competitors can manipulate reviews to their advantage

Black Hat SEO people know how to manipulate the YELP reviews to benefit their clients in both Yelp and SEO and YELP is doing nothing about it.

Say their client is XYZ so they go to the competitors of XYZ and plant a negative review.   They say something like “this person did a terrible job so I went to XYZ of XYZ company and they helped fix my issue”.

Then they go to their client’s page and say “Bob Smith of Bob Smiths Designs LLC did a terrible job so I went to XYZ and they fixed it”

What this does is manipulate the searches for both YELP and google, so when people search for Bob Smith, lo and behold XYZ comes up first in the YELP search. And if someone searches BOB Smith on google, XYZs yelp page comes up showing the negative comment.

How do you make it so that your competitors name doesn’t show on your yelp page?  You guessed it.  Advertising!

This is a big problem and Yelp needs to make a rule to prevent people from mentioning competitors in their reviews.  Since we can’t control the YELP rankings its impossible for us to do anything about it.

YELP tips

For me, all this is just too much.  As for someone who advises clients on ways to leverage their business online, I no longer felt right supporting YELP and I have since made sure to provide information to them, and of course warn them.

Unfortunately because YELP can affect your business,  Yelp isn’t just an option  you can ignore — it’s a necessity at the very least to control damage reviews can do to your business.

So if your business is local, you need to curate  and carefully monitor your Yelp page.

If your business has been around long, you probably already have a page; you’re just not holding the reins yet. You’ll want to step in and take control of it as soon as possible to prevent any negative word of mouth from hindering your growth and success.

Claiming or creating your Yelp business page is easy; just fill out a couple of online forms and answer a quick, automated phone call. It takes less than five minutes. Once you’re signed up, you’ll have access to tools.  Add a photo, your link, some information about your business, a special, whatever you want.  The important thing is that you control your listing.  Anyone can add a business to YELP and you don’t want a listing that has negative or incorrect information.

You also will be able to respond directly (Privately or publicly) to any reviews that may already be on your page.  I advocate responding publicly, in a positive and helpful manner to any negative reviews.

You can also report any reviews you think are in violation of the review policy or that you suspect could be planted.

After you have your business account under control, you can make the choice how involved you want to be with the YELP community.  I personally have boycotted any further activity until they make some serious changes to their business practices, and get rid of that dreaded CENSOR, I mean REVIEW FILTER.

But that is just me.

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188 replies
« Older Comments
  1. Lisa W
    Lisa W says:

    I am a company owner who found out today I had a listing with Yelp when they contacted me to offer some sales upgrade.

    I said I dont’ have a Yelp account and I don’t want one for various reasons. I gave some of the ones you write about here.

    It listed my former address and had me in categories that do not fit the scope of what we do. I had no reviews and I said review now. He had the audacity to tell me who couldn’t.

    I am talking to a lawyer about this. I have places where I have fair honest reviews that I have never challenged. The thing is the places where I am reviewed allow me to challenge a review.


  2. Vic
    Vic says:

    Why hasn’t someone investigated the possibility of a class-action lawsuit against Yelp? Are there grounds for one? It kills me that the people who seem to be hurt the most are owners of small businesses who are much more vulnerable than Yelp or any other big business with tons of money and lots of lawyers.
    But what troubles me the most is that apparently anyone can set up a Yelp page about ones business without ones knowledge or permission?! Is this legal? If it is, it shouldn’t be.
    If a person wants a Yelp account, fine. If they don’t then they should have the right not to; small business owners have enough to do without having to put in hours of extra work dealing with Yelp – especially if they don’t even want to be a party to it.
    I wish there was some agency to help small business owners with this terrible Yelp-induced burden.

  3. Dan
    Dan says:

    Yelp created a business listing for my business. I never claimed it and it has no reviews. The last time their sales people called I confronted them about it. They claimed it was created by a customer of mine. That is a lie. I have no retail operation nor do I have any employees so I would know if there was any complaints. My clients are professionals and would address any issues with me directly. Besides, why would a client of mine go through the trouble of creating a listing and not leave a review? Anyhow I requested to have it removed and they hung up on me.

  4. Maz
    Maz says:

    I run a small computer repair business and I have nothing but positive reviews which great and all but I have to continually deal with Yelp making reviews “not reccomended”. Contacting yelp they say they have an automated system that decides which reviews to show…even though the reviews are genuine my business looks like I just started because only 5 reviews actually show up and there’s over 15 legitimate reviews from genuine customers that just say “not reccomended” with a little tiny grayed out button at the very bottom of the page you can click to read them…pretty fed up.

  5. Jason
    Jason says:

    I cannot stand Yelp. They are the most annoying company in existence as far as I’m concerned. Their advertising sales staff straddle a line between heavy sales techniques and outright harassment. One of them, “Erica,” calls us sometimes twice a week to try and bully us into taking out paid advertising with them. I have in the past explained to her very clearly why we would never pay Yelp for advertising:

    1) They provide an anonymous platform for any nut job to slander us with lies, and in fact we have suffered this on numerous occasions – competitors posting obviously fake reviews, deranged ex-customers who were peeved over something very trivial posting fake reviews full of outright lies etc. On one occasion, some psychopath posted 4 fake reviews under different names in the space of 10 minutes, and their so-called “filter” didn’t filter any of them. It took numerous emails and phone calls to Yelp before they would finally filter them, and they refused to delete them since they ‘don’t get involved in customer disputes.’ We pointed out that they most likely came from the same IP address and were all posted from brand new accounts with no other reviews, but apparently this was not enough to convince Yelp staff that the reviews were obviously fake. Why on earth would I PAY a company which facilitates this kind of slander and refuses to do anything about it?

    2) Everyone I’ve spoken to who has taken out Yelp advertising has told me that it’s a complete and utter ripoff from which they got very poor results indeed. I know several people personally who have had bad Yelp advertising experiences, and there are hundreds of accounts online. I don’t seem to be able to find any raging success stories

    3) The lady who keeps badgering us with phone calls (Erica) claims that “several of my competitors have considerably increased their revenue through Yelp advertising.” I have repeatedly asked her who those “competitors” are, and that if I could talk to them about it and they were to relate a positive experience with Yelp, then I would CONSIDER taking out an ad. She immediately gets defensive about giving names, and then when I finally wrangled the name of a competitor out of her, she begged me not to call them because she didn’t want them to know that she’d used their name to try and snag another client. So I’m guessing this competitor didn’t advertise with them at all. I’d call them, but to be honest it’s just another hassle when the best course of action would be to forget about Yelp.

    As I pointed out to Erica, I have had far better experiences advertising with Facebook and Twitter, and they allow me full control of my advertising campaign as well as extremely detailed analytics and stats. Why would I then pay Yelp over a thousand dollars to pay for some crappy outdated advertising campaign over which I virtually have no control and which others have told me didn’t bring them a cent in increased revenue? I honestly think Yelp has had its day and is starting to circle the drain.

  6. Jason
    Jason says:

    i have a small plumbing business that in the bay area and have been trying to get it off the ground. I had high hopes of yelp, but at this point, the algorithm has “decided” to hide 13 positive reviews and only show 2.
    I try to not let it bother me as yelp is a free service that any one can use, but truth be told, I would love if I had hundreds of possitive reviews. One day I will, but i see now that yelp will battle it the entire way.

  7. Mrmover
    Mrmover says:

    yelp is a publicly traded stock that is currently shopping around for buyers. It sees its own future. The stock has fallen tremendously in the past year.Even it’s creator has an automatic sell whenever he receives his mandatory shares. Go to wherever you receive your stock information from and follow yelp. The only way to stop this menace to society is by punching their wallet.yelp is having an investors meeting May 27 in New York and another June 3 in San Francisco.Get a flash mob together and show these potential investors your review of yelp.

  8. C'ne Kercheville
    C'ne Kercheville says:

    I am the manager at Paniolo Ranch and we have just recently started dealing with this very issue. When I called the only Yelp number that I was able to find, (877) 767.9357 which I believe is an ad line, I expressed my concern. I explained that I didn’t think it was fair that out of all of our 16 reviews only 4 were bad and those 4 were the only ones showing up. The gentleman continued to explain the famous “yelp algorithm” and basically told me there was nothing I could do about it other then respond to the posts, which I did. I feel it is a gross misrepresentation of our business and leads people to assume the worst. All of our other review sites are 4 star or higher. I have launched a campaign against yelp, including adding snippets of this article to our yelp page, google + page, personal and business Facebook, as well as other social media sites. I am hoping that the company will call me and just remove the business page from their site. I do not want to participate in Yelp. Thank you for your article, it was nice to know that we aren’t the only business out there that is suffering from yelpitis.

    • Dani Girl
      Dani Girl says:

      I am sorry to hear. Yelp does not remove businesses from their site though sorry to say. This is another issue people have. No opt out. That is part of the problem, you are forced to deal with them. I have seen people try all kinds of ways to get off yelp even changing their business names and moving. Unless you change your name, move, get a new website and new owners, it wont work. Sucks right? Feel free to share our info. If you haven’t heard there is a movie coming out called Billion Dollar Bully that going to address the issues against yelp. They are going to use our video and some of our facts we have collected as well as interview me. If you have anything to share, you can email kayliemilliken@gmail.com and share your story.

  9. Garrett Kaule
    Garrett Kaule says:

    Yelp is a joke of a company. We have 4, 5 star reviews from REAL customers and they claim they are not recommended…. Really?! So you have a robot that dictates what reviews are good and not? They have 0 customer service unless you are paying them… Even then it is terrible! My buddy is Boston had 20+ positive reviews and a few lower star reviews, he decided to advertise with yelp and the literally put all of his reviews in the trash and ended up showing 4 natural reviews… Something is shady about this company and it is only a matter of time before they go bust! I’ve tried contacting them via telephone, Facebook, and e-mail with no response. We are just a small screen printing and embroidery business who thought it would be a good idea to list our business on yelp. Man was I wrong! The funny thing is my competitior who I found out is “buddy buddy” with a women who works there…. and they treat him like gold. Even hosted events at his business, who knows what else they did! They are a terrible company and I strongly suggest any small business to stay away from them. Have customers write reviews on your google, yahoo, or Facebook listing. Till then stay away!!! Do not give them a dollar. http://www.KaulesScreenWorks.com

  10. Dk
    Dk says:

    This is a great article. I believe the issue Yelp has is one of negativity bias, and a flawed business model. I would love you (and businesses and reviewers) to check out a short blog I wrote on this exact topic.


    Furthermore, Yelp does not really reflect how real life conversations happen. No one ever asks “what should I not do this weekend, or what slightly above average things should I do this weekend”. Similarly, as a 34 year old guy, I wouldnt be going up to a 55 year old lady and ask for her opinion on the best place to go to a nightclub. Also, If I ask a friend for a recommendation, they arent going to first start off with 50 things that are negative, then 34 things that are average, and then finally get to things I might like. This is why I have started using apps like HeyLets and services like Sosh a bit more.

    My mum always said – if you have nothing nice to say, then dont say anything at all!

  11. Carmen Sepulveda
    Carmen Sepulveda says:

    It is very sad that the lack of respect is not applied when visitors or customers come to your place of business. I know as a business owner that I spend hours keeping my store and farm looking presentable. The disrespect that happens on the farm and store is heart breaking. I have to remind myself not to let the few bad apples destroy the rest of this basket. Most of the people coming threw are wonderful, threw the day there is always 3 or 4 that come threw that are disrespectful and demanding. How to handle this is to try and not let it change who you are as a business owner for your good customers. I know that this is a daily challenge for business owners, customers that have never had a business of there own have no idea what a business owner goes threw to make it a enjoyable stop for them. I have come to expect to be kicked in the gut a few times a time, but I have to get up and do my best to put a smile on my face. thank you for this site. CS

  12. Nikola
    Nikola says:

    I am an owner of a car wash. I TRIED to update the current page….so I created a business account. I put the facebook page as my web business page, apparently YELP doesn’t like that???? because it doesn’t accept this as a web page I guess. There is a bad review from the previous people who had owned it and I would like to encourage people to come to the car wash by adding updated info on the YELP page.

  13. McKenna
    McKenna says:

    Well, thank you for answering what I had begun to suspect. I find that my reviews AREN’T visible. (WHAT have I been DOING this for???) But what bothers me even more is reading the idiotic reviews that DO “cut the mustard”! These seem to be from people who haven’t been to regular businesses before, NEVER want to wait in a line, or mark excellent businesses down because their pickles weren’t on the shelf during a recent trip.

    One review, I gave 5 stars to was a local mattress store. I thought the place did a fantastic job and delivered a excellent product quickly and as promised. I go on to see that there is only one yelp review showing for this store. Rating it at 3 stars…and TWENTY-FIVE (mostly 5 star) reviews that are not showing. All praising this place up and down and all saying that they had the same incredible experience that I did. Where is the fairness in that?? No wonder that place rarely has cars in front of it if this is the kind of support they get from this site….even though we (customers) are trying to help them in a reward for their great service and superior product.

    It ALSO irritates me that there is one ELITE reviewer in my neighborhood (and I am SURE she isn’t the only one on yelp) who writes the stupidest and nastiest reviews of legitimately good businesses. She cut down (1 star) our neighborhood grocery because (her only excuse was) she didn’t like the way a man looked as he shopped in one aisle. In another review she says she visits a particular McDonald’s often and likes their product. She does mention that she only goes through the drive through (though gives no reasoning for that decision), and -oh, it’s attached to a shell gas station “so…judge for yourself on THAT one”. And gives it a 1 star. Really? Obviously you like it enough to visit regularly. And you will work to ruin a reputation…for what? That it is convenient? That… assumptions – laced by YOU that – gas fumes affect their product???? And this woman is ELITE and can’t be filtered?

    I wrote one review that a local hotel where my husband and I stayed had… well that we found that there were peep-holes where workers could look in directly at the bed. I warned people to never go there – I have 26 people who found it useful….but the review is only buried deep within the unfiltered, unverified area. The “visible” reviews are all 4 and 5 stars. REALLY????? A pay-off? I’ll bet!

    If this is how it is…I’ll stop reviewing there. Trip Advisor has thanked me for reviewing, has told me that I have people thumbs upping my reviews, and has asked to keep reviewing more and more. Angie’s List sends reminders to support those good businesses and support your neighbors by reporting vendors who don’t do well. They send thank yous for any and ALL reviews. But Yelp? they hide legit reviews and promote idiotic ones.

    I’m out. Not only as a reviewer…but as a reader. WHY BOTHER!!!
    (But thanks for letting me review and rant HERE!)

  14. jack
    jack says:

    I’ve had the worst experience ever with help myself. I have so many great reviews from very good customers and they’ve taken all of my good reviews down and do not show them to the public. Yet I have a couple of reviews that are fake reviews or total exaggerations of a situation and they leave the bad reviews up and they are destroying my business. I don’t know what to do. I am just venting here but I feel lost and my hands are tied and my business is suffering greatly.

  15. Jujube
    Jujube says:

    I absolutely agree. Yelp filters and manipulates reviews, and cancels your account without giving any reason. In fact, Yelp goes as far as to openly state that they maintain the right to cancel your account on their platform, without having to give you any reasons. Yelp also claims that they manage reviews so as to “prevent acts of tyranny” when in fact they are the tyrant themselves. I have since then blocked Yelp.com, because I now realize that their reviews don’t mean anything if they don’t know how to uphold basic democracy and freedom of speech. I have also since then refused to take any advice from anyone who uses Yelp. It is an absolute joke that Yelp is still around.

  16. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hey guys, I need advice. I really wish I read this article a while ago, but I signed up for the Yelp ads 2 months ago. Big mistake and it’s giving me a headache. Basically, I want to get out of my contract without a cancellation fee because Yelp’s bs” algorithm” and how it works was not explained to me and it’s hurting my business. I own a classy salon where middle aged women come for a relaxed hour. Most of my customers are not avid Yelpers. We did not solicit reviews, our loyal customers simply wanted to be kind and leave a review. Now the system algorithm thinks all our good reviews are fake (even from Yelp users who have friends and other reviews). What’s worse, the salesman are totally brainwashed. Like your article said, they are the sweetest people but they just dance around the main issue. Drives me nuts!

    So my salesman was very detailed in explaining the great things about his company, but he totally left out anything to do with a filter. When my page began losing good reviews, I complained that me paying for ads is pointless when my business is 2 stars. Then he pretends like he’s doing me a favor and switches me to a performance based plan where I’d pay for every click to my page instead of a fixed price every month. I say why not, because the previous 2 months were the busiest months and,things would slow down considerably. The opposite happens with the clicks, I’m getting more clicks than the summer months and I am confident that Yelp is fixing the clicks. I have a screenshot with evidence I’d love to show.

    So is there anything I can do to expose these guys further? I want to see if a local paper could do a story or something.. suggestions are welcome!

    • debbie
      debbie says:

      I totally agree with you. After i sign up for ad, sales man promise me he will rise up my restaurant rate, after every month payment! they do nothing, and finally cancel off my ad. They try miss up costumer rate, i find out by one of customer telling me his post is not been upload at all only on his profile, he cant find his post any where at my restaurant post. I think taz how they making money~~..nvr trust yelp again…keep low rate it doesn’t affect my business at all!

    • Brian
      Brian says:

      Hey Alex I am having the same issues and I just started. I been turning yelp down for over 3 years now for some reason I decided to go with there new 6 months term for 50 bucks a month fix term to max 975.00 dollars pay per click scheme. I have had no luck no calls and a crap load of clicks. I ask yelp sales and my manager associate with yelp were are the clicks coming from no response, just gave me the run around. Before signing up the sales lady rep told me they have a block system and tracking system for unreasonable clicks. I ask them multiple questions but i think the heat is getting to them in Tuscan, Arizona. So what i am going to do is file small claims and file it under breach of contract due to promises made by the sales reps. I did it to yellow pages last year there lawyer called me we settle I got all my money back plus they cancel the contract. Im in California Im a little sue happy but I only sue scum.. ex business partner, yellow pages and probably now yelp. A little hint big companies do not want to go to court because then its a hassle, can be found by public and can really cause hurt to them and for those reason they settle according to my buddy that’s a lawyer. So I hope this helps with your YELP situation. Now we know why its called Yelp.. lol

  17. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    I just had 2 bad reviews left for our business. Both review profiles leave the same reviews all over Northern CA and it’s insane that it’s been going on for 2 years.Yelp should have figured this out so long ago but they are so picky with what they flag and remove it’s sick! I hate them so much!! Yelp sucks so much and is killing small business’s and not protecting them from fake profiles and bad reviews.


  18. James
    James says:

    I hired yelp to advertise my business. not only did the advertising never pay for itself, the account reps were inexperienced people who are not qualified to help a business grow. They feel far short of the sales pitch and overcharged my credit card, then refused to refund the money. Crooks!! Basically, we are yelp so f-off small business, you were dumb enough to give us your credit card number, so I guess it serves me right.

  19. JohnOlsen
    JohnOlsen says:

    You have my permission to correct, so that I do not appear ignorant. I appreciate an “edit” option, because I always miss errors.

    I spelled “immediately” wrong.

    I should have worded the following sentence differently, and with less commas. “After one of my first reviews, which was negative, was filtered, I inquired about it on a Yelp message board.”

    It should have been written as: After one of my first negative reviews was filtered, I inquired about it on a Yelp message board.

  20. JohnOlsen
    JohnOlsen says:

    Several years ago, while I was still working for my former employer, somebody wrote a scathing review about the company via Yelp. I had nothing to do with their bad experience, but everything that they had written was true. Several days later, the review had been filtered out. One of the managers told me that the company had contacted Yelp about the review. I do not know what was discussed during that contact.

    Currently, all but one of the eleven negative reviews about the company have been filtered. Seven of the ones that have been filtered, were not filtered immediatley. Three were censored as soon as they were posted. The one review that has not been filtered was recently posted. As for the most recent review to be filtered, it took almost a year before it disappeared. So, for about ten months, that review was OK with Yelp, but then it was suddenly not recommended.

    I have posted reviews on Yelp, although not about my former employer. After one of my first reviews, which was negative, was filtered, I inquired about it on a Yelp message board. The people who responded were outraged that my reviews consisted either of one star or five stars. It is my opinion that anything in between is not worth writing about. I noticed that these people had written a whole lot of reviews. They obviously took their role as reviewers very seriously, and they believed that I had violated their sacred guidelines about writing reviews. Other than that, they were also obviously nuts.

  21. leslie henry
    leslie henry says:

    Im coming at this from a customer perspective. their is a talk tab that lets u ask for advice. i asked for help on finding a hair salon. I detailed some of my recent bad experiences hoping i would get a little sympathy and some really good recommendations for a top notch salon. instead i got trolled with people bullying me and saying how i deserved bad service and that i must be the client from hell to have more than one bad experience with a salon. they were all ganging up on me and bullying me. there is literally no option to remove a question and make it all go away. u can block individual posters from contacting u directly but there is nothing to stop them from posting below ur original question and continuing to harass and bully u. i have checked back a few times since my last post hours ago and the trolls are still out, making fun of me and insulting me. when i have had that happen on facebook, i can easily remove the post and it all goes away. ur only option with yelp is to close ur account. they say it will wipe away ur history but that isnt true. it will wipe away all ur reviews but anything u posted on ur original account on the talk tab stays there forever. it isnt fair and their is no way for me to contact yelp directly and ask them to remove my question. all i have access to is a suggestions tabt or a faq section. there has got to be a way to contact yelp directly but i cant find it.

    • Dani Girl
      Dani Girl says:

      You are referring to the YELP talk section. Yes, I totally agree, it is nothing but a forum for Yelper and Elites to bully any business or person complaining or needing help. I don’t even use that anymore. I talk about it in a few of my articles. I don’t know why YELP allows that to continue. Many times on the Hawaii Talk pages, Emi, Yelp’s community manager, has to come on and answer the question as with most of the talk pages in other states. However they rarely address the abusive behavior.


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