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Yelp's CEO getting Ripped over the Coals in Reddit


DaveO
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Right now there is an on going AMA   (I am a ) Redditt thread with Jeremy Stoppleman, Yelp's CEO and a lot of Redditters.    http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1q6xqn/i_am_jeremy_stoppelman_ceo_and_cofounder_of_yelp/

The tone of the comments are decidedly negative  ;). It sure makes for interesting reading  :D.

It made interesting reading to me for about five minutes; then I had to stop reading. It was just brutal, and I'm not sure whether to "feel sorry" for this man who is a millionaire many, many times over, or to despise him for the way he has built up his business.

I am perplexed that there are *so* many anecdotal stories - some from people I know who have flat-out told me to my face - of dishonest and unethical behavior by the Yelp salespeople, and yet not *one* successful lawsuit has occurred. Not a single one. Never before have I seen such a discrepancy between the sheer amount of hearsay and absence of proof.

It's almost as if Yelp is some type of organization where you only get to "know" the person working immediately above you, so there is no direct contact between the ground troops and the fat cats. That is a breeding ground for terrible things, of varying severity.

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Redditt is an "edgy" social media site.  It can be harsh but it can also be great. Media sites read Redditt all the time to pick out trends and interesting perspectives. Edgy can be a synonym for brutal at its most vicious   I went back and looked at comments, sorted them from the most recent comments.  Stoppleman was mostly brutalized by commentators that hate him.  It was harsh.

Don:  I believe the law around internet content mostly favors the carriers of content.  That might be why Yelp has escaped losing in court. 

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It made interesting reading to me for about five minutes; then I had to stop reading. It was just brutal, and I'm not sure whether to "feel sorry" for this man who is a millionaire many, many times over, or to despise him for the way he has built up his business.

I am perplexed that there are *so* many anecdotal stories - some from people I know who have flat-out told me to my face - of dishonest and unethical behavior by the Yelp salespeople, and yet not *one* successful lawsuit has occurred. Not a single one. Never before have I seen such a discrepancy between the sheer amount of hearsay and absence of proof.

It's almost as if Yelp is some type of organization where you only get to "know" the person working immediately above you, so there is no direct contact between the ground troops and the fat cats. That is a breeding ground for terrible things, of varying severity.

From the bit of that I read (including his responses), I got the feeling that there are two major factors underlying those anecdotes:  1.  A decent amount of the salespeople's compensation is based on commission (hence, a motivation to strong arm businesses into buying ads and exact revenge when they don't); 2.  Yelp has a sting program where they try to lure business people into offering them money for preferential treatment.

It seems that the second was a policy instituted because of claims that they were leaning on people to pay for better reviews, but it might well come across to business owners that they are being shaken down, depending on how this is executed.  On the first, I think of a job I had as a teenager working as a telephone solicitor.  We "sold" people credit cards over the phone and got paid per application.  The longer applications paid more than the yes/no ones, but there was a definite incentive to rack up as many applications as possible.  The supervisors had the ability to listen in on the phone calls and did so sporadically.  The woman who was the absolute jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring  top producer in our office eventually got fired when they finally figured out that she was making up applications.  She was so devoted to her job that she sat under the long conference tables where we worked out in the open, so she could focus better.  How convenient! She was focusing on fabricating applications to make more money and it took them a long time to catch her.

I still think yelp's algorithm can use some tinkering with to be improved if the current situation is only or mostly due to the way that algorithm filters posts.

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