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Yelp Blackmail

Is there any truth to the stories that Yelp blackmails restaurants that don't pay to advertise and takes down their "good" ratings?

I've noticed that two "good" reviews that I posted to two restaurants that I often dine at are gone now...

by Anonymousreply 5006/04/2013

Basically, yes.

I work for a social media marketing company that does a lot of work for restaurants. I've been put in charge of a service we do where we monitor the various review sites for our clients, respond to customers etc.

Yelp is absolutely horrible. They filter the good reviews and display the negatives. I've spoken to restaurant owners who are on the verge of tears when I send them a report with all the reviews we find.

If you aren't advertising with them, most of the time they won't even respond to emails.

Many of the people posting reviews are trying to score free meals from places.

The more I have to deal with them, the more I despise them.

Hopefully Facebook's new search thing will be the final nail in the coffin for them.

by Anonymousreply 101/23/2013

I'd REALLY like somewhere that I can be honest in giving my experience, including mixed ones ("The food isn't necessarily top notch, but it's convenient and the staff are incredibly nice!").

by Anonymousreply 201/23/2013

Yelp reviews are useless. It has been reported that the restaurants pay people to post positive reviews. I live in a neighborhood that suffers from a lack of decent restaurants. Mostly mediocre Chinese, Mexican and fast food joints. I have ordered from most of the take-out places and know the quality of the food, service, etc. The reviews on Yelp for the majority of these restaurants have to be plants.

by Anonymousreply 301/23/2013

With Yelp it nice to find reviewers who you trust. I use it/contribute it a lot and there are a few reviewers in my area whose opinion I know I normally agree with. I have contributed a lot of reviews and personally all of mine are still up and no one told me what to stay.

Yelp isn't perfect, anyone can write a review, and yes you can easily disagree with someones opinion.

by Anonymousreply 401/23/2013

Just read all the filtered reviews. It's a pain in the ass, but at least you can see them.

by Anonymousreply 501/23/2013

Yelp is horrible. They're shake down artists - as all complaint sites inevitably are. They're in the business to make money - so, they allow people to post anything they want and then businesses have to pay in order to rebuttle.

And don't think you can just signup and post a yelp and it will stay. Unless you're a frequent Yelper, your post is given low priority and usually disappears. Unless it's bad for some reason - then somehow it stays.

All complaint sites are up to make money - by basically blackmailing businesses.

by Anonymousreply 601/23/2013

Agree with all above! Check out this exchange on Yelp - gay grifter tries to shake down Palm Springs naked guest house for a refund. Highly peeved owner attaches his reply.

by Anonymousreply 701/23/2013

R7 - that's what I'm talking about. I work for a large national company and people always want something for nothing. Seriously - they expect full refunds and want to keep their purchases. And they'll threat to post things on all complaint sites until they do.

If it's an actual problem and we correct it, they do NOT remove their complaint or modify it.

The American culture has devolved into people whining and stomping their feet until they get "satisfaction" without trying to understand that mistakes can happen and it's nothing personal.

Some of these sites have "corporate programs" that cost 6 figures a year in order for a company to respond. Seriously. AND, I know this because I've had to meet with them, some are owned by Russian mob and ex-cons.

by Anonymousreply 801/23/2013

I disagree, R7. The guy leaving the review has been on Yelp over 5 years. He has left 32 reviews. Some good, some negative and some average. I would not discount his review.

The reviews I do discount come from people that have only left 1 or 2 reviews. For the most part it's easy to tell the bullshit and disgruntled ex-employees from the real reviews.

by Anonymousreply 901/23/2013

R9 - not necessarily. The problem is most people don't read Yelp so closely, particularly if it comes up in organic rankings for search results.

Why trust others' opinions so much? You have to take everything with a grain of salt - even among my own friends and co-workers.

It's such a waste of time for busybodies who want their voice to be heard.

by Anonymousreply 1001/23/2013

I have always found Yelp to be useful. Why trust other's opinion? Because when you are unfamiliar with a business, reading the reviews of other patrons give you an idea of what that business is like. It's one or two reviews, you weigh it by the totality of the reviews.

I always discard the most virulent comments: "this place is the worst place I've ever been to. Bad customer service. We had to wait 1 hour and blah, blah, blah."

I am also very suspect of the glowing reviews: "You need to eat here now. Best place food in town. You can't find a better pasta dish in blah, blah, blah."

In between those two types of reviews are gems that will help someone who is unfamiliar with the business.

by Anonymousreply 1101/24/2013

Usually each review outs itself re:agenda. Some people just want to tell us how smart they are, most who do that fail spectacularly. It's easy to sort out which posters talk about what they don't like and those who address what might not be likable.

by Anonymousreply 1201/24/2013

FTC Complaints About Yelp Allege Extortion, Libel, More

at link:

by Anonymousreply 1301/24/2013

I think R1 is full of bullshit and don't believe a syllable he/she posted.

Yelp has become very careful about how it handles reviews challenged by businesses because they realize they could be potentially liable for fake reviews with the intention of hurting a business.

I'm a Yelp 'Elite' member which is a designation they give to long-time, serious reviewers. I've been on the site about five years and have over 1,000 reviews. Even some of my reviews are hidden because whatever algorithm they use detects the review may not be accurate. Not sure how it works but they definitely put an effort into monitoring for unfair reviews, either positive or negative.

As an 'Elite', (I know, that's a dumb designation) I'll have business owners message me either asking me to come in to review their place of business with a product or meal on the house, or to change a negative review. I almost always bump up my ratings for business owners and managers who contact me because it shows they're willing to go the extra mile. I've also never, EVER accepted one free meal or item from anyone. Not once. Not sure about other Elite Yelpers but I haven't.

Overall, it's a good site. A little too full of 20-somethings trying too hard to land snarky, clever reviews and, of course the omnipresent 20 and 30 something year old females who give five stars to everyone and think EVERYTHING is "AMAZING".. (Why do 20 and 30 something year old women love the word "AMAZING" so much?). Still, it's a great site and open to everyone for the post about the experiences they have at any given business.

by Anonymousreply 1401/24/2013

Bullshit, I've posted both bad and good reviews and they are always visible and near the top.

by Anonymousreply 1501/24/2013

R14 works for Yelp.

by Anonymousreply 1601/24/2013

The problem with Yelp (in my city) is that there are so few reviewers. The same few people, trying desperately to be noticed, are everywhere.

One review I read started off, "Well, you all know how much I love grocery stores." My first thought was that she considers Yelp her personal blog. And the second thought was that she's right. We do know, because whatever we look for, there is her review. Apparently, all she does is shop and eat, then post reviews of all the places she shopped and ate.

It looks a little suspect to me. Very few people would have that much free time AND that much money to spend.

by Anonymousreply 1701/24/2013

A big chunk of Yelp reviews are legit. Not all, but I'd say maybe 60%-70%.

There ARE the people that R8 describes. There are the people who only have one or two reviews, and you can tell that they're related to whoever they're reviewing, or friends with them, etc.

There will always be pissy people who hate everything, and easy to please folks who love everything.

I found it useful (as long as you take it with a grain of salt). And I was reviewing stuff for a while. Probably like 50 reviews over 2 or 3 years.

But Yelp does delete reviews, and when I figured that out I deleted my shit. Fuck that.

They don't fess up to it, but they do indeed offer places better placement, better reviews, deleting negative reviews if they'll pay them. Two people I know with small businesses have been approached.

by Anonymousreply 1801/24/2013

We opened a new restaurant (had three other successful ventures) and the jealous haters were all over us on Yelp. Most got "hidden" -- as well as several of our glowing "excellent" reviews.

The regional manager from Yelp has been helpless in dealing with a lingering, really horrible review from one of its "Elite" -- someone who caused a scene in our restaurant (his wife was drunk) and actually tried to extort us for a free meal/free beverages.

Their sales department (they want to help us "improve our on-line image") has tried to contact us, and when they failed, they had a contractor, some sort of marketing company who said that, for a fee, they could "definitely and surely" improve our image on Yelp -- no other internet exposure, when asked, by the way; that's why I know the contractor works for Yelp.

There are several Yelpers whose positive reviews are hidden. The one that remains on the top of Yelp's search list is really crazy. And I'll guarantee you no one but the most hard-core Yelp people will look and discover that the "pan" was written by a bitter person who has nothing else to do but Yelp *each and every thing that they do*. Among these was a pan and a complaint about a funeral home -- they didn't "move the line along" fast enough for our Yelper's taste. Go figure.

by Anonymousreply 1901/24/2013

I find that most of the reviews on Yelp error in favor of businesses. I lot of businesses I have found to be middling get 4 or 5 stars. So if someone has lots of terrible reviews they usually deserve it.

by Anonymousreply 2001/24/2013

SF restaurant appeals to customers to boycott Yelp:

by Anonymousreply 2204/23/2013

[quote]I'd REALLY like somewhere that I can be honest in giving my experience, including mixed ones

Google Local is good. It's basically what became of Zagat after Google acquired them.

by Anonymousreply 2304/23/2013

Yelp claims that it uses an algorithm to publish reviews and that this filters good and bad reviews. This may indeed be the case, but I have had more than one business client receive calls from Yelp marketing about "improving" their Yelp rating. And we have a number of clients whose positive reviews suddenly were filtered out when they declined the marketing services.

Yelp is a business and an unregulated one, like most unregulated businesses it will and can do what it wants in the pursuit of profit.

by Anonymousreply 2404/23/2013

They killed Joe's twin. The attractive, nice one.

by Anonymousreply 2504/23/2013

Sorry, this just isn't true.

I LOVE posting online reviews, have been on Yelp for years and even made their "Elite" status, (yeah I know. Aren't you impressed?).

I've made a good friend in one of their employees and I know that all of this business about them blackmailing and bullying businesses for not paying them is bullshit.

Maybe early on they did some of that, I don't know. But I do know that for the last 6 years, I've never seen any sign of it, and I have over 1,000 reviews.

Just not true and not fair to the company.

by Anonymousreply 2604/23/2013

Agreed with R26. I'm also a Yelp "Elite," and not *once* have I ever been offered free food or drinks in exchange for writing a positive review (or bribed with food to take down a negative review). The only thing I've ever been offered was a refund of a $225 "moving-out clean" maid service that turned out to be absolute crap, as reflected in my one-star review. Yes, I accepted the refund -- $225 is a lot of money! -- and took down my review.

by Anonymousreply 2704/23/2013

I don't bother posting good reviews, but if some place pisses me off, I yelp it in complete detail. I assume most people do that so if I look at a business on yelp I look to see if it has a lot of negative reviews. A few don't mean much, a lot means something.

Yelp doesn't need to spend the time threatening with negative reviews, there are plenty of users who are willing to speak out.

by Anonymousreply 2804/23/2013

R27 if you took money and took down a negative review, you're a whore.

by Anonymousreply 3004/23/2013

R29, I have about 80 reviews, not 1,000. Being picked as an "Elite" simply means people like your reviews; it has nothing to do with the sheer volume you post.

by Anonymousreply 3104/23/2013

I posted a nice review of the service I received at a small jewelry store here in NYC. It's hidden. There are no other reviews and it doesn't look like a fake review with "AMAZING!!!" in it. Such bullshit, I wanted to give the jeweler some props for being honest and helpful and it went nowhere.

by Anonymousreply 3204/23/2013

R29,

Trust me, I have a life. A very good one, thankfully. I work hard, I'm athletic, I have a good circle of friends and I love where I live (New York)..

Let me guess: because I don't suggest I hang out in bars or want to discuss Broadway or porn, I need to "get a life" because I mentioned having posted several Yelp reviews in the context of my experience with Yelp while posting IN a discussion about Yelp? Hummmm. Sounds like you're pissed somebody didn't go along with your point of view.

Bottom line for me is that I use Yelp a lot, it's been a big help to me and my boyfriend over the years. Also, if you review often and they invite you to become "Elite", they have lots of happy hours and parties which can be fun from time to time.

Sorry R29, but from my own experience with the site, I've never seen any evidence of them being nasty or dishonest and when and if I do, I'm leaving and I'm taking down my reviews. Oh, also use Angie's List and it's good. I hate paying for it but it's worth it before you hire someone, especially someone who'll be coming to your place. I never review anyone there though.

by Anonymousreply 3304/26/2013

Despite the Yelp damage control happening at R26/27 (what a coincidence!!!!) Yelp continues to try to "extort" businesses into paying for better reviews:

[quote]yelp.com tries to squeeze small business owners. From a business perspective, it makes sense- you get a business that is raking in high reviews on your privately-owned sight, and you move in on them.

by Anonymousreply 3404/26/2013

Yep, R26.

R34, why not just stay off the site. And sorry your car mechanic got a bad Yelp review. They also filter suspicious positive reviews on businesses that pay them.

I just saw a business, a website designer yesterday who has a Yelp Deal on her Yelp page, something you have to pay for. She has an overall 5-star, but there are 7 additional five star reviews, ALL of them five stars..

So the crazed loon @ r34 fails to mention those because it's much more fun to try to trash a legitimate website/business by claiming they're somehow evil.

Isn't that right R34?

by Anonymousreply 3704/26/2013

Well Yelp you have certainly convinced me that you're not using strong arm tactics to extort businesses based on the sane and reasoned responses you are posting on this thread.

And now this thread will disappear in 3...2.....

by Anonymousreply 3904/26/2013

R39, Nobody from Yelp lurks here you twat. I doubt they'd give a shit about some rabid queen on Datalounge is spewing.

And clearing your cache and posting multiple responses to yourself isn't helping. Some of us can actually track you.

Rest, troll. Rest.

by Anonymousreply 4004/26/2013

[quote]Nobody from Yelp lurks here you twat.

Hmmmmm....and yet half of the last 8 posts are by you R40/37/35/33. You do seem to be "working" hard on this particular subject don't you? And you seem a tad unhinged about it. Afraid of losing your Yelp contract????

by Anonymousreply 4104/26/2013

I am not a business owner. I used to love using Yelp when it started out in San Francisco. At this point, there's no hiding the fact that is has changed obviously and negatively.

It isn't "psychotic" to point out a simple fact: Pay up or Yelp will only feature bad reviews. Yelp runs their service in an unethical. I wonder whose pocket all that blackmail money is in?

by Anonymousreply 4204/26/2013

r42=r41= et all

by Anonymousreply 4304/26/2013

r43/40/37/35/33...trolldar is NOT your friend.

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 4404/26/2013

[quote]Some of us can actually track you.

Why such an obvious and clumsy lie, R40?

by Anonymousreply 4504/26/2013

R41 is an idiot. No one from Yelp is posting here you delusional twat.

Anyway, Yelp totally is involved in shady practices. Such a scam. I stick to Google reviews.

by Anonymousreply 4604/26/2013

I guess no companies send anyone to post here or other message boards. That must be why we get posts about the newest McDonald's menu items.

by Anonymousreply 4704/26/2013

R47, no one does. I'm sure DL is important to a lot of us, but putside of here no one cares. McDonald's is certainly big enough that they don't need to send people to an obscure website. They make hundreds of millions of dollars a day, they don't give a shit about a site that has 300 active users.

It seems that some people here think that anyone who actually likes something, must be a shill. Not true. Some people actually enjoy things.

I made a Cate Blanchett thread. Do I work for Cate Blanchett's PR team? No. I just like her.

by Anonymousreply 4804/26/2013

Well there certainly seems to be a few disinterested third parties with absolutely NO connection whatsoever to Yelp who are VERY passionate about it to the point of calling people on DL crazy and "severely damaged" if they don't agree that Yelp is not strong arming restaurants despite many many many many reports on the net that Yelp does EXACTLY that.

hmmmmmmmmmmmm

by Anonymousreply 4904/26/2013

Use the Yelp map and see how they "feature" some businesses over other.

In some cases you have to be on the exact street for a business to "appear" and sometime not even then.

In other cases, businesses are everywhere when not even near the location you are searching.

by Anonymousreply 5006/04/2013
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