Yelp. Paid People . Fake Reviews.

Yelp. Paid People . Fake Reviews.

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Bill Kellinger

Fairfield, CA

#1 Jul 12, 2008
Here is some more information regarding the Yelp / Razzberry Lips story:* Yelp's sales reps use negative postings as a "lead source" to call the owner and attempt to sell Business Owner Accounts.* I received a phone call from a sales rep named Summer who stated that negative reviews could be moved to the bottom of the page and possibly removed in the future if I purchased a Business Owner Account.* The hypocrisy of the Yelp founders Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons is legendary , and is further amplified by their removal of my negative "review" of Yelp on their own website. So much for , "The voice of the people" or "Real People. Real Reviews" * Yelp hires paid "Yelpers" $15 / dollars an hour to write reviews because their business model is not succeeding. The ads for paid Yelpers can be found on Craigslist in every metro area in the U.S. You could call this, " Paid People . Fake Reviews".* On Friday July 4th , 2008 , the SF Chronicle ran an article about how Yelp removes establishments from Yelp if they complain or expose the Yelp hypocrisy publicly.* It is a known fact that Yelp is losing money at a burn rate that could put them out of business by next year. There is another popular website which has a "dead pool" in which the overwhelming number of readers select Yelp to go out of business within a year. They are desperate and are not performing a level public service as they represent.* They allow any unfounded accusation to remain on their site , no matter how inaccurate , without any regard for validation.* I attempted several times to contact the founders Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons regarding the situation described in the Mike Cassidy article. As cowards will do , they hid behind their desks.* My wife's business will continue to thrive for many more successful years and will outlast Yelp as they circle the drain throwing money at paid Yelpers and salespeople.

United States

#2 Mar 16, 2009

United States

#3 Mar 16, 2009

Great article. As a business person I too was aggressivly pursued by YELP. I had one horrible review by a person whose comments were not only slander, liable but NOT true. YELP was advised, sales people kept pressuring us to by ads based on ALL our good reviews yet, for some odd reason, according to thier "algarythem" the ONE bad review remained at the TOP of our business page.

Finally, after our complaits fell on deaf ears, our attorney wrote YELP a letter and magically, the bad review is not only lowered, it's gone. Shame it took this to get them to act on a false review.

Other good reviews on our site have just gone missing? Again, they claim the "algarythem" which even they can't say how it works.

YELP is a joke. Even with all our good reviews, I don't trust YELP. They manipulate the ratings to pressure poor small business people to pay 300 dollars a month. Just totall creeps me out.

Sandy, TX

#4 Sep 10, 2010
I'm having the same issues. however, i have complained and complained, and no one from yelp has contacted me to do paid advertising (that i know of - i don't answer 1-800 calls) however, i can't help but wonder how 10 out of 12 positive reviews were deleted immediately (thereby wasting my clients time - frustrating on both parts)- saving only one positive and one negative review on my profile. This brings my rating down to three stars... and I can't get the stars up to save my life b/c they keep deleting new reviews! they tell me i can't remove my profile because 'the public has a right to leave reviews about businesses'... i am considering having a client who is an attorney write them a letter. my suspicion that these guys are not playing it the way they make it sound with their so-called special software was correct... and your post was beneficial, thank you!
Peter Theodoropoulos

United States

#5 Sep 13, 2010
Yelp is a total scam in my opinion. They allow competitors to place reviews unchecked, they allow reviews to stand that are clearly out of line and that are not based on the actual quality of the services offered by a small business, they use these reviews to extort business owners to buy advertising, etc.

Small business owners should unite to defeat this menace called Yelp.

In our case, we have many good reviews because we offer top quality product. On occasion however, we get one of these morons that know absolutely nothing about authentic Greek food and they will go on and post a bogus and false review. We also have competitors that use the Yelp forum against us as well.

I have complained to yelp about all this on numerous occations and have responded directly to some of these reviewers.

Yelp went ahead and closed up my accounts as a result because they did not like my responses very much.

They are a corrupt organization with a business plan that is rooted on EXTORTION of small businesses in my opinion and as such, they are doomed to failure in the long term.
downwithunethica lbusiness

United States

#6 Oct 6, 2010
Yelp is phony! I just received a reading from a person who claims to be an intuitive and has nothing but "positive" reviews on Yelp. It was only recently after I had booked the reading, that I heard from more than one source that Yelp is fake and actually charges money from businesses to bury bad reviews. This so called intuitive wasted my time and money by asking me questions the whole reading through and when she did guess at anything, she guessed wrong, way off. Apparently, she pays Yelp. Thank God I went for the short reading and didn't waste more than $50 dollars. Still, I work hard for my money. Shame on you Yelp and all those who pay Yelp for good reviews.

United States

#7 Nov 16, 2010
Two months after my first negative review, I get a weekly call from Yelp sales. I smell BS. Down with yelp!
down with yelp

Hayward, CA

#8 Dec 11, 2010
Customers tell me Yelp removes all of my customers good reviews.

I have one bad review and do not recognize the person or incident as anyone who has ever been in my establishment.

It needs to be crushed, like a bug.

Harvey, IL

#9 Dec 19, 2010
Same happened to us and just came across this information. It is unfortunate, but predictable from 2 geeks who are looking for quick bucks.
They are just reminiscing of dot com bubble and failure. Remember this, hard work, dedication, persistence will always out last trends.
We will be here and out last Yelp for sure.
No one cares what they think/do anyways...
FrustratedwithYe lp

Tustin, CA

#10 Dec 22, 2010
I have been fighting the yelp "filter" for a year. In my talks with Yelp representatives I have learned 3 of the factors that go into the "filter."
1. Yelper reliability- meaning that the more often the consumer, or yelper, uses the site, the more likely it will stay up. One time yelper reviews will almost always be removed.
2. Frequency of reviews- how often your business is normally reviewed factors into how likely it is that reviews will stay up (though in my experience this only applies to the positives). So if you normally get 1 maybe 2 reviews a month, then all of a sudden get 4-5, then they will be removed.
3. The message of the review- if it sounds like an ad or like its coming from a business owner it will be removed (again, I have only seen this applied to positives, not to reviews left by former employees or by competitors).

Beware of the Yelp Elite. These members are given incentives to leave reviews in the form of free dinners, parties, and events. I have also heard that when you irritate yelp, they have elite members write reviews. And as their name implies, these reviewers are esteemed and their reviews are almost never removed/filtered. Yelp also has an area expert that is paid by yelp to go to local businesses and write reviews. I created a personal yelp account when I first found the site to get a feel for how it worked, and my local yelp lady added me as a "friend" immediately and her profile said she was enjoying her job as the local yelp expert or something like that. She is constantly reviewing things and a majority of the time these reviews are negative.

I have recieved several sales calls, from different sales reps, and have recieved similar sale pitches from all of them. They no longer have the "sponsored review" so I was not told they could rearrage or remove negatives from my listing. But one rep told me he could tell me how to get a better rating. When I decided to finally cave and purchase their "enhanced listings" I was quoted one rate. I have multiple locations, and decided to only enhance some of the listings, well then the rate magically went up. Eventhough the rep I was working with never told me that the rate was lower because I had multiple listings.

Needless to say this turned me off to the idea and now I am not going to advertise.

Good luck fighting these scammers and I hope some of the information I have given is helpful to someone.
Yelp is a con

United States

#11 Mar 31, 2011
Yes, yelp is a scam but so what business still pay because if the fake bad reviews we add to create pain. No pain, no money!
I work for yelp conning small business people. I am getting paid and I don't care.

United States

#13 Jun 23, 2011
yelp is moderday cee cee playing banjo...
u say somthing bad and hide behind the rock...
but they will pay their price soon.... u can not be on top for long yelp... if u hurt someone u will be punished for it... just remember that yelp...
The Abyss

Corona, NY

#14 Jul 12, 2011
I am a small business owner with 66 5-star reviews, yet only 6 show up (718 Cyclery, Brooklyn, NY)...this gets me so pissed off as we worked our ass off for great reviews, yet yelp decides that I must have 60 or so brothers-in-law who I hired to write reviews apparently.
Marty Nemko

Oakland, CA

#15 Aug 4, 2011
My experience is precisely like the most recent one, "The Abyss." I have 19 wonderful 5-star reviews. All, for some inexplicable reason, have been filtered. All that's left are 3 great ones and 2 truly anomalous and invalid ones. I've literally lost sleep over it. I'm proud of the work I do and, in my own client satisfaction surveys, I routinely get a 95+% client-satisfaction rate, but if you read Yelp, you'd probably think I was a bad or at least inconsistently good career counselor.(Sigh.)
BBB User

San Francisco, CA

#16 Aug 5, 2011
Report them to the BBB.
We've all experienced how reason and logic doesn't work with Yelp. Yelp shows no mercy for businesses abused by Yelp algorithms.
BBB complaints work when nothing else does. I have gotten Bank of America, Yahoo Travel, and Staples to give in through BBB when my arguments could not.

Los Gatos, CA

#17 Aug 16, 2011
I read reviews on a company in the same industry as us, and I loved the fact that they had a 99% customer satisfaction rating, and then the only customer who said anything negative mentioned that even he could not beleive that all those ratings were true, because he was so unhappy with the service he received from. Lets face it, nothing in life is that perfect, NOTHING! Unfortunatly, the BBB is no better, for a price they will give you good ratings as well. Dont know if honesty exists anymore, since with this economy, most people are willing to take advantage of what they can to take care of #1, THEMSELVES!
T Pressman

Red Bluff, CA

#18 Sep 5, 2011
I've never used Yelp to select which businesses I choose to do business with. It is a well known fact that most of the reviewers are paid by Yelp.
To be honest, I wouldn't want to do business with anyone who uses Yelp. So review away Yelp-bots, I don't care. As a matter of fact, you are helping me get rid of unwanted and hard to deal with customers.
Thank you Yelp! Keep up the terrible work.
Last but not least...Elevation Partners, a venture capital firm got suckered into investing $25 million in Yelp. They will not see a good return on that investment. Kiss it goodbye!
K Pirkl

Santa Monica, CA

#19 Sep 16, 2011
Does anyone out there know what to do about Yelp? I have simply stopped paying attention because only the bad, anonymous reviews are kept. I have had so many good clients tell me they've written reviews and the reviews are nowhere to be found, not even in the "Filtered Reviews".
There has got to be class action lawsuit or something going on.
Does anyone know how to start a class action suit? I have tons of written evidence of Yelp's falsehoods that could be used.

Podgorica, Montenegro

#20 Sep 16, 2011
I have the similar problem, if its a good one and a person doesnt have many reviews on it they take it of, however once it has 1 or two stars it sticks, most of the times yelpers are pissed youngsters that feel empowered and experienced to criticize the whole world, for now the only website where my reviews are bad...something gotta give...
Glenn T

Grass Valley, CA

#21 Sep 22, 2011

We have recently implemented a system to outsmart yelp from hiding our filtered reviews:

Step 1- First of all, if you're advertising with yelp, we suggest you stop doing so and shift that money to optimize your own web site instead

Step 2- Have a graphic designer make a yelp badge that is placed on your web site. It should say "we have ...... filtered and unfiltered reviews on yelp".

Step 3- When a visitor clicks on the badge, it will go to another page ON YOUR OWN WEB SITE (instead of going to yelp's.(why help them get traffic and rank higher anyways)?

Step 4- On this page have your graphic designer get a screen capture (picture) of all your filtered and unfiltered reviews and have them pasted together onto one page (in 2 sections, the top section to be unfiltered reviews, leave a space, and then the lower section the filtered reviews). 

Now, all your reviews (filtered and unfiltered) will be visible to all your web site's visitors.

5- Add the following words on the top: 

"for your convenience, we have combined all of our filtered and unfiltered reviews on one page for you to view. If youd like to go to our live yelp page, please click here -------"

This is done so that your potential clients will not feel like you're trying to hide something or trying to cheat the system. 

6- Be sure to update your unfiltered yelp page every few weeks. 

Advantages of doing this:

1- Your visitors will stay on your web site instead of being re-directed to yelp's

2- Your visitors can't be redirected to your competitors page (unless they choose to go to your live yelp page). 

3- No more being a slave to yelp's algorithm

4- Yelp would not benefit from getting traffic from you and higher rankings on google. 

5- This system cost us only $150 to implement 

Just be sure to shift that $300 per month on yelp advertising and put it into KEYWORDS that people will search for. 

**Please pass this on to all small business owners that may benefit from this. 

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