Jump to content

Yelp.com (2004-) - A California-Based Review Website, Widely Accused of Extortion in Building Their Business


Recommended Posts

U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

"nless a person has a preexisting right to be free of the threatened economic harm, threatening economic harm to induce a person to pay for a legitimate service is not extortion."

 

With regard to the allegation that Yelp commits extortion by removing positive reviews: "By withholding the benefit of these positive reviews, Yelp is withholding a benefit that Yelp makes possible and maintains. It has no obligation to do so, however." Purchasing advertising with Yelp does not establish a right to have positive reviews appear.

 

With regard to the re-posting of negative reviews or the placement of negative reviews at the top of a business owner's Yelp page: "t is not unlawful for Yelp to post and sequence the reviews. As Yelp has the right to charge for legitimate advertising services, the threat of economic harm that Yelp leveraged is, at most, hard bargaining."

 

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/09/02/11-17676.pdf

 

"Yelp Now Has Court Permission To Change Business Ratings For Money. Don't Forget It." by Anna Roth on sfweekly.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 305
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It bothers me that your feedback options are limited to "useful", "funny", and "cool".  They should add "unhelpful piece of poorly written hateful nonsense".

Just saw this absolutely great response to Yelp when they call for advertising.  If you have ever dealt with their advertising reps and complained about how they seem to emphasize the crappy reviews,

I finally have a burr up my butt about yelp.  For some years I've somewhat defended yelp in conversations among people who work in local SEO (search engine optimizing).  Its not that they are defensib

Posted Images

I thought this to be a cr@ppy ruling with potentially dire impact. It empowers internet companies to create whatever they wish and frees them from responsibility for the consequences.  Yelp or google with its monopolistic control of search can create whatever they wish in whatever manner they choose and because of their monopolistic positions (google more monopolistic than yelp) can inflict whatever Pain they desire regardless of consequences.

The EU has the more correct perspective, in my opinion.  Rein in these powerful sources.

Link to post
Share on other sites

hmmm.....It appears we are on the receiving end of the yelp "buffalo shuffle" or F-U.   Last spring we were considering a yelp advertising campaign for one of our smb's that is not a restaurant, but does have yelp visibility.

We didn't buy.

Since then:  14 yelp reviews from 14 people.  12 filtered.  2 showing.  Of the one's filtered 5 of the individuals had multiple reviews, pictures, some had a ton of yelp "friends" and they aren't showing or being weighed.

On top of that of reviews showing for some of the individuals who had reviewed our smb and other smb's their reviews are showing for other smbs.

Me thinks Yelp fingered us.  (literally and figuratively)

On top of that of the reviewers who reviewed us and had multiple reviews of other sites...I'm seeing their reviews show for other smbs.

I grew up in Northern NJ.  There were mafia around.  My father and his partner owned a little business in Newark.  I'm 99% sure they paid protection money.

Yelp is the exact same as the mafia.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't pay to advertise, anywhere. Yelp calls our businesses constantly, and my cell phone (fuckers!) monthly to shake us down, and rudely question my business sense for not advertising with them. We would be edging into the 5th star zone if it weren't for their fake ass "algorithm."

Here's how our businesses have been greyed out.

galaxy hut: 370 official reviews. 18 flagged five star reviews. 4 flagged four star reviews. 3 flagged 2 & 3 star reviews and zero flagged one stars.

spacebar: 110 official reviews. 7 flagged five star reviews. 1 flagged four star. 2 flagged 1 & 2 stars.

The galaxy hut and spacebar are mostly run by our staff. Erica and I rarely schmooze or even identify ourselves as bar owners when at the bars or out and about. We do not in any way encourage our customers to positively review us. We do not have yelp stickers or any other badges of honor adorning our windows. We do not have a PR person or anybody else working on our behalf other than our amazing staff. I don't know why yelp would do this besides being able to profit from unlocking five star reviews. It's pretty blatant.

That said, I use stupid yelp all the fucking time to find stuff, and it's hard to complain about owning joints that are only allowed to be 4 stars.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't pay to advertise, anywhere. Yelp calls our businesses constantly, and my cell phone (fuckers!) monthly to shake us down, and rudely question my business sense for not advertising with them. We would be edging into the 5th star zone if it weren't for their fake ass "algorithm."

Here's how our businesses have been greyed out.

galaxy hut: 370 official reviews. 18 flagged five star reviews. 4 flagged four star reviews. 3 flagged 2 & 3 star reviews and zero flagged one stars.

spacebar: 110 official reviews. 7 flagged five star reviews. 1 flagged four star. 2 flagged 1 & 2 stars.

The galaxy hut and spacebar are mostly run by our staff. Erica and I rarely schmooze or even identify ourselves as bar owners when at the bars or out and about. We do not in any way encourage our customers to positively review us. We do not have yelp stickers or any other badges of honor adorning our windows. We do not have a PR person or anybody else working on our behalf other than our amazing staff. I don't know why yelp would do this besides being able to profit from unlocking five star reviews. It's pretty blatant.

That said, I use stupid yelp all the fucking time to find stuff, and it's hard to complain about owning joints that are only allowed to be 4 stars.  

I'd like that status now:  For a non restaurant site we have about 36 yelp reviews.  I believe 29 are filtered including the last 12 in a row.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yelp is the exact same as the mafia.  

Yelp calls our businesses constantly, and my cell phone (fuckers!) monthly to shake us down, and rudely question my business sense for not advertising with them. 

If it's being done to you two, it's being done to others.

Having put body and soul into running a clean and honest website over the past ten years, this galls me more than I can tell you. If I didn't honestly believe (perhaps deluding myself) that time will eventually bear us out, I couldn't keep going.

I'm so busy running dr.com that I don't really understand what Yelp is all about in terms of filtering, sales calls, algorithms, etc., but maybe it's time I took a look to see if I spot any discrepancies.

There are too many people yelling, "Fire!" for there not to be a fire.

Who are these people that are hectoring you?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Same deal with us. Mostly positive reviews are "filtered." And to answer Pool Boy, yes filtered means it is taken from the main view and not counted to your total star rating. You can access them if you can decipher the Catcha code and extend the effort, which I can't imagine anyone would do that does not own the establishment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

By 'filtering' what exactly does that mean? Not display it?

Okay:   Here is the yelp page for the dc bartending school we operate, located in Arlington, Va.

At the bottom of the review page,which is currently showing 6 reviews you see a link which is in soft, non emphasized colors.  It's there but its both on the bottom of the page and its seriously deemphasized:

Now besides the facts that:

  1. the reviews aren't counted in your score
  2. the reviews are hidden from view
  3. yelp uses this to twist your arm for advertising $$$$

A link to those "filtered/ or not recommended" reviews is available here:

I liken them to the mafia---only there are no current examples of yelp/gangland slayings..............yet.

post-9660-0-15499000-1415808011_thumb.gi

Link to post
Share on other sites

The title of this assigns power where it isn't. There may be correlation (I haven't read the piece), but there is most likely no causation.

It doesn't really matter if there's no direct causation (as in, restaurant closes because it got a lot of bad yelp reviews), but what is expressed in the yelp reviews may be representative enough of problems with the restaurant that there's a predictive factor involved.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The title of this assigns power where it isn't. There may be correlation (I haven't read the piece), but there is most likely no causation.

I'm not sure where the quote "Can Yelp Reviews Doom a Restaurant" comes from, but it doesn't appear in the Washington Business Journal article, which doesn't imply that, and doesn't imply that the academic research implies that.  As far as I can tell, it simply seems to be saying that the information in Yelp reviews and star ratings is indicative enough of factors affecting the restaurant's future success that it can reasonably predict that success.  But it would be fascinating to know if they were also able to tease out the independent effect of the Yelp reviews themselves.  I certainly wouldn't just assume there's no causation there.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The title of this assigns power where it isn't. There may be correlation (I haven't read the piece), but there is most likely no causation.

Ignoring the title, the topic grabbed my attention on so many levels:

  1. There have been other studies using language to evaluate reviews with regard to different aspects:  This approach, as the article suggests might have very wide application if it has a predictive capability in a restaurant and a more general capacity.  
  2. Yelp has WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY TOO much power, and is generally protected via application of free speech laws as they are applied to the web.   So far nobody has really beaten them in court
  3. Yelp applies its power in ways that are too close to the mafia.  They armtwist businesses for advertising money and if they don't get it...they change the look of a businesses presence on the web.   A business might have a GREAT 4 star yelp rating...but if you didn't buy their advertising...the default yelp list of "most helpful reviews" could highlight A TON of crappy reviews...even if you have 80% great, 10% mediocre and 10% bad.  
  4. I didn't buy into that argument from hundreds of businesses from all around the county.  Then I experienced.  If it looks like arm twisting, and feels like armtwisting, and smells like armtwisting....it is armtwisting.  I don't care that yelp calls it its "algorythm"   that is yelptalk  and its been protected by the courts to date.  That is a shame.
  5. Its one thing for a newspaper reviewer to write a positive or a negative review of a restaurant that can have a critical impact on life or death.   But Yelp plays with reviews with a direct monetary impact on Yelp.  And that makes the Yelp situation provocative and of interest to many restaurateurs, let alone other businesses.
  6. In general the huge web entities have Incredible power over local businesses.  They can make or break businesses.   This long thread has examples from the past where yelp reviews broke businesses.  Google has and can make or break businesses.  (they just don't do it with the same thuggish methods applied by Shmelp.     So if there is research that can pinpoint some of these elements that impact businesses its of enormous value and of interest to many.
  7. If the researchers found a universe of 200 restaurants that had failed in the last quarter...and then reviewed all of the yelp reviews in existence, and found "elements" in reviews that correlated to the failure.....that is of tremendous value and interest...and potentially of help.
  8. For instance, if the relationship was connected to review verbiage about A. Uncooked Food, B. Filthy conditions, C. Miserable Servers....or any particular problems....as an owner that is the first thing I'd want to know.   Those are the problems I MUST FIX---ASAP.

So I agree with Pat, it doesn't matter if there is a direct causation or not.  I'd want to know which language and which context is related to failures.  There is enormous value in that knowledge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A restaurateur recently received this note from Yelp, and sent it to me. The Yelp employee's name and number are being withheld to protect personal information, although I can tell you that, based on what I've seen, the person is from the New York area (note that "Falls Church" is apparently a foreign term), and has worked for Yelp for less than a month. Happy reading ...

(If any other business has received similar letters or harassing phone calls, feel free to write me, and I will publish them with the personal information removed; I have no desire to shame any individuals.)

---

Larry, 

 
I am well aware of feelings of advertising based off past conversations and congrats on being a top bar in the area however you are missing a huge demographic.
 
Food in Church Falls 
 
If someone wants  a drink you are the guy but if someone wants food and drink you are missing out. 
 
Taco Bamba is being found over 1000 times more then you each month
 
thats means 1000 times a month when someone is hungry they are finding them instead of you 12k a year that is a HUGE missed opportunity.
 
 
 
Ill let you beat me up over the packages as well ... I am that confident in YELP
 
LET'S TALK ! 
 
<senders name withheld by recipient>
Account Executive 
 
Yelp!

---

PS - In case you think I'm being unduly harsh, I refer you to this. Friends, it isn't ever going to change unless you help me to change it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Reputation Economy and Its Discontents:


http://fortune.com/2015/06/02/reputation-ratings/



"Restaurant quality and the dining experience are both more subjective and also have fewer consequences than choosing the right doctor or getting a good teacher. Michelin has, since 1926, employed anonymous, knowledgeable, experienced experts to go to cities all over the world and find the very best places to eat. We can compare how Michelin rates restaurants with the same restaurants' ratings made by the general public on sites such as TripAdvisor.



"I selected two cities, San Francisco, near where I live, and Barcelona, a place my wife and I recently visited. I looked at the 2015 Michelin lists of the places that earned stars (in San Francisco, I considered only establishments located in the city itself) and also ratings on TripAdvisor. Here's what I found.



"Barcelona has 21 one- or two-star Michelin restaurants. Of the Michelin-rated establishments, presumably the very best in the city, only one is in TripAdvisor's top 10, only 2 are in the top 50, and only 7 of the 21 ranked in TripAdvisor's top 100. Nectari, with 1 Michelin star, ranks 2,262 on TripAdvisor, and Enoteca ranks 1,333.



Diners/raters in San Francisco agree with Michelin only slightly more. Of San Francisco's 24 Michelin-starred restaurants, one, Gary Danko, is in TripAdvisor's top 10, but 6 are in the top 50. However, Coi, one of four places in the entire Bay Area that earned two Michelin stars, ranks just 562 on TripAdvisor.



"At least for these three domains, and quite possibly many others, ratings by consumers"”of restaurants, academic instruction, or medical services"”are quite uncorrelated with either expert opinion or objective measures of performance. This fact, of course, is precisely why companies in the reputation management space can be successful"”reputations can be "managed" in the best and worst sense of that term, regardless of actual quality."



"  One study estimated that 16% of the restaurant reviews on Yelp were fraudulent, that fraudulent reviews were more extreme, and that restaurants with weak reputations were more likely to commit review fraud. A 2012 study by IT research firm Gartner estimated that 15% of online reviews were fake. In 2013, New York State's attorney general "announced a deal with 19 businesses that agreed to stop writing fake reviews."


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The Reputation Economy and Its Discontents:

http://fortune.com/2015/06/02/reputation-ratings/

"Restaurant quality and the dining experience are both more subjective and also have fewer consequences than choosing the right doctor or getting a good teacher. Michelin has, since 1926, employed anonymous, knowledgeable, experienced experts to go to cities all over the world and find the very best places to eat. We can compare how Michelin rates restaurants with the same restaurants' ratings made by the general public on sites such as TripAdvisor.

"I selected two cities, San Francisco, near where I live, and Barcelona, a place my wife and I recently visited. I looked at the 2015 Michelin lists of the places that earned stars (in San Francisco, I considered only establishments located in the city itself) and also ratings on TripAdvisor. Here's what I found.

"Barcelona has 21 one- or two-star Michelin restaurants. Of the Michelin-rated establishments, presumably the very best in the city, only one is in TripAdvisor's top 10, only 2 are in the top 50, and only 7 of the 21 ranked in TripAdvisor's top 100. Nectari, with 1 Michelin star, ranks 2,262 on TripAdvisor, and Enoteca ranks 1,333.

Diners/raters in San Francisco agree with Michelin only slightly more. Of San Francisco's 24 Michelin-starred restaurants, one, Gary Danko, is in TripAdvisor's top 10, but 6 are in the top 50. However, Coi, one of four places in the entire Bay Area that earned two Michelin stars, ranks just 562 on TripAdvisor.

"At least for these three domains, and quite possibly many others, ratings by consumers"”of restaurants, academic instruction, or medical services"”are quite uncorrelated with either expert opinion or objective measures of performance. This fact, of course, is precisely why companies in the reputation management space can be successful"”reputations can be "managed" in the best and worst sense of that term, regardless of actual quality."

"  One study estimated that 16% of the restaurant reviews on Yelp were fraudulent, that fraudulent reviews were more extreme, and that restaurants with weak reputations were more likely to commit review fraud. A 2012 study by IT research firm Gartner estimated that 15% of online reviews were fake. In 2013, New York State's attorney general "announced a deal with 19 businesses that agreed to stop writing fake reviews."

I don't know squat about reputation management but I know not to trust the opinion of  the masses.  Everyone has an opinion, but they're not all equal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know squat about reputation management but I know not to trust the opinion of  the masses.  Everyone has an opinion, but they're not all equal.

Yes, this "study" is completely invalidated by the sample groups.  Raters for Michelin <> the general population on TripAdvisor.  On many, many levels.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be an interesting experiment:

How Yelp plans to clean up one of the restaurant industry's most dangerous flaws

I wonder what the time lag is in posting changed scores/rankings, as a slow update could really hurt facilities that improve themselves quickly. On the plus side, such accessibly public shaming might prove to be a bigger-than-previous incentive for low-grade restaurants to clean up their acts, which is all to the good.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder what the time lag is in posting changed scores/rankings, as a slow update could really hurt facilities that improve themselves quickly.

Will it be like the rest of Yelp where the more you pay, the better results you get?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Look to the thread title - such an easy spot for extortion! On the other hand, they would be posting a calculable metric, not an opinion, so posting an incorrect (slow, lagging) bad metric could make a case for libel (I imagine - not a lawyer!) with potentially demonstrably negative economic effects. What do people who actually know something about this topic think?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why Yelp reviews are unreliable

Bottom line:

"When your clientele becomes the type of people looking for problems, it becomes nearly impossible to take care of them. This type of diner stays longer, takes pictures of everything, and is generally more disruptive to service and other guests. It has greatly diminished the pleasure of hospitality, and I hope it dies a swift, permanent death."

Read the whole thing.  This is not the only recent discussion of Yelp and Yelpers that supports the basic premise that Yelp empowers people who, for whatever reason, derive more pleasure from tearing something or someone down, than being supportive or offering constructive criticism.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pardon the thread drift but anecdotally I can say that Yelp on its own removed a negative review of us (Capital Beer & Wine - Bethesda) presumably because the review was from someone who doesn't post much or posts too many negative reviews. I only check our Yelp reviews once every few months. Meanwhile, a new employee looked us up on Yelp and told me we had a terrible review.  I looked at it and remembered the guy immediately. He was pleasant and knowledgeable. He was from out of town. He asked for a Sauvenières. I told him I liked to think I know a lot about French wine but I was not familiar with this AOC. I quickly found out it's a Chenin Blanc region in the Loire Valley. I am especially fond of the Loire Valley and told him I would try to track some down but I do not recall seeing any from my vendors but it would definitely be on my list of things to buy. He chose some other really good wine and I enjoyed helping him. At check out, I accidentally rang a bottle twice, he caught the mistake, I corrected it and I didn't think anything of it. Months later I see the Yelp review where he says the staff was stupid and did not know anything about French wine. He also said I tried to cheat him because he was Asian but he caught me ringing the bottle twice. Rather than getting into a flame war on Yelp, I just let sleeping dogs lie amid four other favorable reviews.  A few months later I checked Yelp and the bad review was gone. I haven't done any paid placement on Yelp but I have been considering it coming into the busy season. From what I understand it's more bang for your buck than Google adwords but I haven't done much research.

The amount of negativity on Yelp amazes me when it comes to restaurants. Very well established beer, wine and liquor stores do not get nearly the volume and vitriol of reviews for relatively young restaurants. I am a fan of crowdsourcing to a degree but it gets out of hand and can be pretty unpredictable. My personal practice is only to review places I like and I always give four stars. I won't give five because I don't think anything is perfect unless you get into Michelin star territory which I don't. Or I will do arbitrary things. For example, I had a great time at a brew pub with really good beer and atmosphere and pretty bad food. In my Yelp review I did not say anything about the food and gave a four star review. Everyone has their biases and you just have to read between the lines in Yelp or any other review site.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/10/2016 at 2:40 PM, DaRiv18 said:

Its an interesting story, a funny and slick twist, and frankly I hope, just for creativity's sake it does the restaurant well...(though comments at the end suggest its not a great place)...and maybe that's a good reason to use that strategy.  

Any kind of review piece on the web is subject to manipulation.  Its possible.  It occurs.  Reviews are also incredibly effective.  

I referenced something here and here.   They show on cbslocal.com websites.  They are particular to different cities and regions. The base website/url will be something like Washington.cbslocal.com,  Dallas.cbslocal.com, Chicago.cbslocal.com etc.   There are thousands of them and they look the same.  The headline will ALWAYS say Best....something or other.  

At the bottom of the article there is an author.  Look them up.  They are ALL free lance writers.  They have ZERO expertise or knowledge.  ZERO.  Usually the little blurb about a chosen business includes something from the business's website.  Appropriate since none of the writers have probably ever tested any of the products or services.  

These pages remarkably almost ALWAYS show high in search results.  Our businesses have picked up a lot of this traffic over 3.5 years.  A lot.  People do rely on this stuff.  They make decisions based on them.  There is absolutely NO authority to the articles.  NONE and the authors have no authority.

Its been a web scam in the "review" world.  

I'd much rather read 50 sets of comments from readers in a site like yelp than this example.  I might not agree, or I might think the results have been "twisted".  But at least its 50 different opinions.  The cbslocal "reviews" have less than zero authority.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, DaveO said:

I referenced something here and here.   They show on cbslocal.com websites.  They are particular to different cities and regions. The base website/url will be something like Washington.cbslocal.com,  Dallas.cbslocal.com, Chicago.cbslocal.com etc.   There are thousands of them and they look the same.  The headline will ALWAYS say Best....something or other.  

At the bottom of the article there is an author.  Look them up.  They are ALL free lance writers.  They have ZERO expertise or knowledge.  ZERO.

In the "batting cage" piece, the author is from Washington, DC and lives in Austin. The piece is nearly two years old, and she could have easily lived in DC at that time and been a huge baseball fan (or not).

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

In the "batting cage" piece, the author is from Washington, DC and lives in Austin. The piece is nearly two years old, and she could have easily lived in DC at that time and been a huge baseball fan (or not).

I've looked at a lot of the cbslocal.com pages on innumerable topics in a variety of cities.  On the "best" pages that referenced the different pages for our businesses, wherein I know very well who's been in or not, or who had inquired or not, we NEVER had a record referencing any of the authors.  NEVER.  I checked with a handful of businesses in the different "best" pages in some different cities.  None had a record that the author had visited. NONE.    Meanwhile the blurbs on EVERY article on every cbslocal.com "Best" page INVARIABLY reference something from the website.   Finally the entire onslaught of these pages  (thousands...maybe 10's of thousands) corresponded with a search result "change"...wherein all these cbslocal pages were highlighted for a period on google results.....AND the cbslocal pages had TONS of overwhelming google adsense ads!!!  TONS.

Coincidence or not???

Go to the writers bio's...or research them on the web.  Some writer will write a "best" article about hoagies, dance classes, first date bars, margaritas, bar food, spas with rubdowns, etc etc. etc.  Tell me.  Is that person an authority on all those diverse topics?  I doubt it.

There is more to the story....but I give no value to the authority of the cbslocal best pages.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, DaveO said:

I've looked at a lot of the cbslocal.com pages on innumerable topics in a variety of cities.  On the "best" pages that referenced the different pages for our businesses, wherein I know very well who's been in or not, or who had inquired or not, we NEVER had a record referencing any of the authors.  NEVER.  I checked with a handful of businesses in the different "best" pages in some different cities.  None had a record that the author had visited. NONE.    Meanwhile the blurbs on EVERY article on every cbslocal.com "Best" page INVARIABLY reference something from the website.   Finally the entire onslaught of these pages  (thousands...maybe 10's of thousands) corresponded with a search result "change"...wherein all these cbslocal pages were highlighted for a period on google results.....AND the cbslocal pages had TONS of overwhelming google adsense ads!!!  TONS.

Coincidence or not???

Go to the writers bio's...or research them on the web.  Some writer will write a "best" article about hoagies, dance classes, first date bars, margaritas, bar food, spas with rubdowns, etc etc. etc.  Tell me.  Is that person an authority on all those diverse topics?  I doubt it.

There is more to the story....but I give no value to the authority of the cbslocal best pages.

I really, really wish I'd thought of the click bait business model.  Better still, I really, really, really wish I'd thought of the Google model that drives the click bait model. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, jayandstacey said:

I really, really wish I'd thought of the click bait business model.  Better still, I really, really, really wish I'd thought of the Google model that drives the click bait model. 

The click bait model is alive and thriving.  You could apply it at any time.   The cbslocal.com sites have an additional facet.  The writers have ZERO authority.  Just because the title of the web page states BEST it is not the word of a knowledgeable authority.  If I were to write an article about Indian cuisine and label it Best, it would have zero authority.  I virtually never eat Indian food and have dined at very few Indian restaurants in the region.  The cbslocal articles covered topics in DC and other cities where there are known authorities.  The cbslocal sites outranked the known authorities on search results.  Essentially always.  Invariably the authors of the cbslocal articles had no authority and MOST probably never used the services.  

It was a web scam between google and cbslocal.  There were additional components to the scam beyond what I am suggesting.  Meanwhile..."best" batting cages???  I've actually been to a number of batting cages.  I have yet to find a "best".  You have a machine, a cage, a plate, some bats.  Not much of a difference.  

Meanwhile for all its problems, for all its sneakiness, and the methods it used to coerce businesses to advertise with them, Yelp offers consumer opinions.  Hopefully most are genuine.  If it is the only source for opinions on a restaurant I'll use it. If there are varying opinions on a restaurant and if I have the time or disposition I'll go to the various sources including yelp and try and get some perspective.    

Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally have a burr up my butt about yelp.  For some years I've somewhat defended yelp in conversations among people who work in local SEO (search engine optimizing).  Its not that they are defensible or great, its simply that google does things that are similarly venal.  Nobody criticizes google though, they have tremendous consumer "love" and regardless of what they do to small businesses they have a teflon covering so that none of the criticisms stick.  Meanwhile in many ways, regardless of its absolute monopoly in search, google is not considered "important" enough to discuss or focus on within the restaurant world.

Recently yelp resurfaced two lousy reviews for one of our businesses.  They were written so long ago and after a while they both were "buried" or put into what used to be called "filtered" and is now called "not currently recommended". 

A potential customer called one of our smb's and referenced the resurfaced yelp review.  (we are 99% sure it was planted by a competitor).  Its now showing after being filtered for several years (written 7 years ago).   The customer purchased. 

Because I've been involved in local seo for years I know some people at yelp.  I contacted one.  I referenced their ()^_*&) algo for reviews.  I referenced that of over 40 "filtered reviews that business has over 40 with all but 5 of them being 5 star and the other 5 being 4 star.   Their *_(*^+_(_^^ algo resurfaced the two miserable reviews.   Oh by the way we have turned down all requests for advertising recently.

Yelp--they suck.

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, DaveO said:

I finally have a burr up my butt about yelp.  For some years I've somewhat defended yelp in conversations among people who work in local SEO (search engine optimizing).  Its not that they are defensible or great, its simply that google does things that are similarly venal.  Nobody criticizes google though, they have tremendous consumer "love" and regardless of what they do to small businesses they have a teflon covering so that none of the criticisms stick.  Meanwhile in many ways, regardless of its absolute monopoly in search, google is not considered "important" enough to discuss or focus on within the restaurant world.

Recently yelp resurfaced two lousy reviews for one of our businesses.  They were written so long ago and after a while they both were "buried" or put into what used to be called "filtered" and is now called "not currently recommended". 

A potential customer called one of our smb's and referenced the resurfaced yelp review.  (we are 99% sure it was planted by a competitor).  Its now showing after being filtered for several years (written 7 years ago).   The customer purchased. 

Because I've been involved in local seo for years I know some people at yelp.  I contacted one.  I referenced their ()^_*&) algo for reviews.  I referenced that of over 40 "filtered reviews that business has over 40 with all but 5 of them being 5 star and the other 5 being 4 star.   Their *_(*^+_(_^^ algo resurfaced the two miserable reviews.   Oh by the way we have turned down all requests for advertising recently.

Yelp--they suck.

Get some of your grads to start a thread on your business here. We'll tell things like they are.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just saw this absolutely great response to Yelp when they call for advertising.  If you have ever dealt with their advertising reps and complained about how they seem to emphasize the crappy reviews, you will get some sales person runaround with a description EXACTLY how this person responded to their sales pitch for advertising with Yelp.

PRICELESS

Responding to Yelp.png

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to add something to the post above.  (and the edit function won't place it in the correct position).  I run a number of small business sites and have been doing so for years.  They are all subject to yelp, some with more visibility, some with less.  None are restaurants, which easily attract the most natural reviews on yelp or other review sites.  (different types of businesses don't easily attract reviews).

One of those sites saw two old terrible yelp reviews resurface after years of being in the "filtered section".  While in the filtered section, there were possibly as many as 30-50 other filtered reviews, universally good.   Such is life with yelp.

Suddenly out of nowhere the two lousy ones were showing but none of the many more good ones popped back up.   Why Why Why????   Because I've been doing this local SEO  stuff for over a decade I've made contacts in that world, including with an executive at Yelp.  I actually fed them "help" in their battles with google through that executive.   I contacted him.

He responded with that virtual exact Yelp bs response to people (businesses) who question how their algo's and reviews show.  The exact same thing.  It must be the corporate mantra.  What poppycock.   Its a miserable entity to deal with, in my experience.

Meanwhile I don't discount their reviews.  They probably have more restaurant reviews than any other source, and if all you do is eliminate the worst, eliminate the best, focus on the remainder and those that are most current, one gets some feel for how customers react.  That is sufficient in my book, and extremely helpful when other sources don't have reviews or very very few.  They also have a very very accurate directory compared to almost any other source, with directories being very difficult to maintain and keep accurate.  I give them credit on those two fronts....but beyond that they are a lot like the arm twisting mafia....(not that other web advertising sources are that different).  And on the arm twisting mafia side they are simply miserable. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/6/2016 at 4:57 PM, DaveO said:

Just saw this absolutely great response to Yelp when they call for advertising.  If you have ever dealt with their advertising reps and complained about how they seem to emphasize the crappy reviews, you will get some sales person runaround with a description EXACTLY how this person responded to their sales pitch for advertising with Yelp.

PRICELESS

Responding to Yelp.png

Goody.  Got some yelp advertising salesperson hectoring one of our sites.   Now have a perfect response.   Looking forward to the conversation:  :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I've noticed lately when accessing the Yelp site on my phone I can only see a handful of pictures (say 5-6) before I get a prompt that if I want to see them all I need to download the app. Highly annoying. And I'm not going to do that. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yelp has been bugging me recently.  Their sales people are very persistent.  In fact even with some of my strongest language to get off the phone, they persist.  Now I've been on the "dialing for dollars" side of things.  So I suppose I've got to give them points for persistence.

Regardless, Here's my tip for restaurant advertisers.

Go look at advertising in Google adwords.  Now I really dislike google (big monopoly) as I dislike yelp (mean arse SOB's).  But I think the opportunity for restaurants advertising in google  specifically is excellent.  Here is why:

  • For local restaurants there is virtually no advertising competition.  Check it out.  Search on google for Mexican restaurants Silver Spring, Alexandria, Seafood DC, Italian restaurants Arlington, etc etc.  You might not find ANY advertising competition.
  • Searches for restaurants in google are overwhelmingly by mobile.  If one restaurant is advertising they dominate the screen.  If there are 2 or more a searcher sees the ads and NOTHING else unless one scrolls down.
  • You can target very granular geographies.  For instance if you are located in Silver Spring you can target SS, plus nearby towns and NOT advertise in Alexandria, Arlington, across the river far away and where drivers are unlikely to make the trip.   Not so available in Yelp.  Do some similar kinds of searches in Yelp as those suggested for google, and its possible you will find ads for restaurants located in Virginia or DC turning up for a search for a Silver Spring restaurant.  Not that helpful!!!!!!
  • Google advertising is based on "bidding a price".   If there isn't competition bid prices should be LOW.  Very low.   But you won't know til you try it.
  • You can turn on and turn off Google advertising in a day.  If it works GREAT.  If its not working stop spending.  End the campaign. 
  • If you are going to advertise on google, don't use their "express service".  It sort of like using yelp, or some other random service.  Use the full service mechanism.  You have much more control.

Everything suggested above for google also works for Bing.  The difference is there are dramatically fewer searches in Bing, and frankly the bid prices should be lower....though if the lack of competition drives prices down that low, who cares at lower prices in Bing. 

Relative to other type of searches for local items the volume of searches for restaurants on google is huge.  Below is a perspective on volumes of searches relative to other local businesses, and it uses a term that has grown in popularity but still doesn't hit the highest volumes.....near me searches.gif

In any case for the longest time, knowing what I know about search, I've sort of defended yelp vis a vis google simply because google is a huge monopoly and they kill yelp, but those "dialing for dollars" folks are incredibly annoying.

So if you are a restaurant test some searches in yelp and google and make up your own mind.  In today's environment if I were to spend some web advertising $$ as a restaurant I'd try google.

Just my $0.02.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming up tonight at 10 pm on the Food Network, a show called "Help My Yelp." Show title: Barbecue Bootcamp. Description: Restaurant consultant Monti Carlo and a group of elite Yelp reviewers help Barbecue Street.

Doing an Internet search, apparently the restaurant is in Kennesaw, Ga.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Yelp To Open DC Office Bringing 500 Sales and Marketing Jobs to the Area" on wjla.com

Out of respect for the innocents, I'm going to change the title of this thread for now.

If anyone has any problems, please feel free to report them here, and I won't hesitate to change it back.

Thought: It's very easy to become honest once you become wealthy from being dishonest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If at various times one relies on the “honesty” or credibility of large review sites such as Yelp, here is an article that describes how widespread “Review Spam” is.  Article

Actually the article points out that currently it appears that Yelp is better at      uncovering and shutting down these fake reviews than Google.  (I couldn’t decide where to place this piece)

(I’m familiar and know some of the people referenced in the article.  I think I know who the unnamed ex Google employee is)

As time has moved on I perceive there is less review spam with regard to restaurants and more with a broad array of businesses and services that consumers use on a local basis.  That is relative.  Today there are so many places to find reviews on restaurants that it is probably more difficult to effectively spam restaurant reviews and have it be impactful.  A few restaurateurs have acknowledged that.   Not impossible just less impactful.

The spamming is deliberate.   

In any case it’s a note that “buyer beware”. Reviews are not always honest —not by a long shot and too often faked to be positive or negative (usually by a competitor).   It’s been rampant since reviews and maps became common place on the web.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...