From yelp: Money doesn’t buy anything but ads. Yeah right.
Greencare was contacted a few years ago and asked to sign a 2 year contract for $400.00 per month. With this we were assured by the Yelp representative that our reviews would be “rearranged” to better suit us. We could also pick 1 review of our choice to post at the very top of our page. Greencare was appalled at this complete and utter extortion tactic so we had an immediate public voice against yelps practices. Yelp became much more aggressive filtering all of our positives and continuing to call and ask for money. We continued to refuse so the calls eventually subsided. Yelp continued to publicly distort the truth about Greencare by posting negative comments and the suppression of positive comments. Recently yelp has changed some policies but businesses that strongly and publicly disagreed with Yelps practices in the past have been targeted and Yelp continues to filter all positive reviews no matter how many real clients post. The Yelp filter will always filter the vast majority of positive reviews because the whole site feeds on negativity. It is sad but true that people are drawn to read negative comments before positive. If a company or individual has 20 positive comments and 2 negative you will always read the negative first. This is why yelp posts all the negatives. Yelp has so many contradictions and lies on their website it is comical. Please search Yelp EXTORTION on GOOGLE.
So. You might be wondering: If a business pays Yelp to advertise…
• Do they get a higher rating?
• Do they get their negative reviews removed?
• Can they recommend more of their positive reviews?
Yelp response:No. No. And…no. Actually the TRUE answers are kinda. Sorta. And…yes at one point.
But don’t take our word for it…
Please click on some of the articles below about Yelp and there extortion practices. Also please read just a few of thousands of stories out there about Help Reviews Las Vegas below.
A few facts about Help Reviews Las Vegas below:
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco essentially ruled that extortion is perfectly legal — at least, if the minds behind Yelp are the ones doing it.
The way it works is this: a business can buy an ad on Yelp. Yelp can then, as thanks, raise their overall rating, regardless of what customer reviews have to say about it. Even though Yelpers are notoriously negative, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a site based on aggregate reviews if you then allow businesses to pay for scores that don’t reflect those reviews. This is all explicit, by the way: in the future, Yelp is perfectly allowed to do this, then publicly admit they do this, and then even advertise that they do this, should they so choose.
So the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just gave Yelp the go ahead to extort businesses by offering them higher ratings if they pay for more ads on Yelp. While the ruling doesn’t expressly say Yelp is likewise allowed to threaten them with lower ratings if they don’t pay up (a practice Yelp of which has been repeatedly accused in the past), you can bet it gives Yelp carte blanche to do just that — and that they’ll go full speed ahead with it.
In addition to being yet another decision that proves the American court system really only gives a crap about big corporations, this is another from the long, long, looooooooooong list of reasons you should never, ever, EVER use Yelp. God, Yelp is terrible.
Another true story: (READ BELOW)
While the basic premise of Yelp hasn’t changed since its inception, its spirit has changed for the worse, according to “Mark,” the former contract employee at Yelp. “I started with them at the beginning, helping them market and put the word out for the company, and I loved the concept of this,” he said, sitting in a Berkeley cafe in December. “I thought the whole thing would be positive and will increase business to a lot of the small businesses, the mom-and-pops.”
But Mark complained that in the past two years there has been an increase in negative, trash-talking reviews. “If you don’t like somebody for no reason, you can go on there and talk horrible about their place for whatever reason and also encourage close friends to go on there and trash those places.” Mark cited a recent case with his own cafe in which a customer who was angry that the business was closed for a private event went on Yelp and accused employees of being unsanitary.
Other business owners describe similar experiences — receiving negative reviews from competitors or customers who are unreasonably angry. John said one of his employees told him that her former employer — a rival restaurateur — had gone on Yelp and written a negative review of his business. “How many other people have done that?” he wondered in an interview. “It’s hard to know what’s real.”
Yelp’s web site states that slamming a competitor is grounds for removing a review. But business owners say the company’s response to such complaints is woefully inadequate. “We don’t get anywhere,” Mark said. “We’re just one little restaurant in the middle of 500,000 restaurants that they review, or more than that. They don’t have time to respond.”
Hi, this is Mike from Yelp,” the voice would say. “You’ve had three hundred visitors to your site this month. You’ve had a really good response. But you have a few bad ones at the top. I could do something about those.”
This wasn’t your average sales pitch. At least, not the kind that John, an East Bay restaurateur, was used to. He was familiar with Yelp.com, the popular San Francisco-based web site in which any person can write a review about nearly any business. John’s restaurant has more than one hundred reviews, and averages a healthy 3.5-star rating. But when John asked Mike what he could do about his bad reviews, he recalls the sales rep responding: “We can move them. Well, for $299 a month.” John couldn’t believe what the guy was offering. It seemed wrong.
In fact, something seemed shady about the state of his restaurant’s negative reviews. “When you do get a call from Yelp, and you go to the site, it looks like they have been moved,” John said. “You don’t know if they happen to be at the top legitimately or if the rep moved them to the top. You don’t even know if this is someone who legitimately doesn’t like your restaurant. … Almost all the time when they call you, the bad ones will be at the top.”
Usually, John said, he would politely decline to advertise. “Well, thanks,” he’d say. “I’ll talk to my partner about it.” Or, “It’s not really in my budget right now.” But inevitably, in another week or so, he’d get another phone call. Occasionally, the voice on the other end of the phone would change, but the calls continued. These days, John chooses to not answer his phone when it’s from a number with a 415 area code.
John may sound paranoid, but he’s got company. During interviews with dozens of business owners over a span of several months, six people told this newspaper that Yelp sales representatives promised to move or remove negative reviews if their business would advertise. In another six instances, positive reviews disappeared — or negative ones appeared — after owners declined to advertise.
Because they were often asked to advertise soon after receiving negative reviews, many of these business owners believe Yelp employees use such reviews as sales leads. Several, including John, even suspect Yelp employees of writing them. Indeed, Yelp does pay some employees to write reviews of businesses that are solicited for advertising. And in at least one documented instance, a business owner who refused to advertise subsequently received a negative review from a Yelp employee.
Many business owners, like John, feel so threatened by Yelp’s power to harm their business that they declined to be interviewed unless their identities were concealed. (John is not the restaurant owner’s real name.) Several business owners likened Yelp to the Mafia, and one said she feared its retaliation. “Every time I had a sales person call me and I said, ‘Sorry, it doesn’t make sense for me to do this,’ … then all of a sudden reviews start disappearing.” To these mom-and-pop business owners, Yelp’s sales tactics are coercive, unethical, and, possibly, illegal.
“That’s the biggest scam in the Bay Area,” John said. “It totally felt like a blackmail deal. I think they’re doing anything to make a sale.”
Yelp officials deny that they move negative reviews, although such allegations have surfaced many times before. The issue is even addressed on the web site’s Frequently Asked Questions page. Chief Operating Officer Geoff Donaker said advertisers and sales representatives don’t have the ability to move or remove negative reviews. (MORE LIES) “We wouldn’t be in business very long if we started duping customers,” he said.
But Donaker’s denials are challenged by nine local business owners and also by a former contract employee who worked with Yelp in its early days. That person, who is still close to some Yelp employees and only agreed to be interviewed if granted anonymity, said several sales reps have told him they promised to move reviews to get businesses to advertise. “It’s not illegal or unethical,” he said they told him. “We’re just helping the little guy. It doesn’t hurt them, it benefits them.”
Such tactics may be legal, but they clearly raise ethical concerns. Yelp touts its web site as consisting of “real people” writing “real reviews.” The allegations of business owners who have tangled with the company suggest otherwise.