How did Hitler massacre Jews?
How do some southern animal shelters get rid of unwanted dogs & cats?
(Digital) gas chamber, a.k.a. Yelp.com
If you aren’t aware, Yelp (a local business review site) is the biggest & baddest “do evil” mother f*cking business of all time.
You thought cloaking was bad? Blackhat SEO? Pssh…that is kid’s play compared to what Yelp is doing to local businesses.
Let me get things straight: I am NOT for businesses that provide shitty service or that don’t innovate. Those businesses SHOULD die. Like an overgrown forest with too much vegetation that sucks the life out of the bare essence out, a BIG fire is actually a good thing so that the little plants (that bear more fruit and are better for the environment) can have the chance to grow.
Yelp, on the other hand, is like the black plague that grows and grows by leeching off of other businesses.
It is a win-lose. The only benefit is for their owners & shareholders.
Ever since I’ve been helping small business owners, particularly dentists, with marketing, I keep hearing about how their businesses are being affected by the negative reviews on Yelp: particularly… ANONYMOUS negative reviews.
And Yelp is quite powerful in terms of how potential customers behave. (infographic)
- The study found that 93% of people who research a venue on Yelp tend to make purchases at those businesses if they feature positive reviews.
- Research also discovered that businesses with a positive Yelp score, on average, earned $8,000 more per year than their competitors.
- For businesses who advertise on Yelp, their social reach brings in an additional $23,000 in revenue each year.
If your reviews are bad, ah shit, tough luck.
Did you know:
1) Yelp has a Yelp review of itself?
- Removing reviews.
- Small business owners getting extorted.
- But the best: SPAM.
Here’s an interesting comment:
A good concept that’s significantly diminished by its narrow-focus, self-congratulatory echo-chamber effect and personal attacks by some of its fans of those who dare offer constructive criticism (so much for Yelp’s own review guidelines) .
Any entity that’s defended by argumentum ad hominem doesn’t deserve any stars.
Yelp, you have taken from me the best years of my life. You have used me for your own perverse ends, and you have taken advantage of my good faith for nothing but avarice and evil. You have betrayed my trust, broken my will, and beaten me down into a shattered husk of the man I used to be.
But this will end, this all shall pass. And you knew this day would come, Yelp. I have lain dormant for forty days, purifying myself in a molten vat of spite and righteous indignation, regenerating the body and mind you tried, but failed, to obliterate. And now, as I unfurl my new body and prepare for my rebirth as an angel of wrath and vengeance, I herald my approach, not to give you a chance for escape – because there is no chance – but so that you tremble and quake with your approaching doom.
Yelp, you have sown the wind, and now you shall reap the whirlwind.
Yelp, I thought you were different. I really did. Oh how you fooled me into believing you were a site that promoted local flavor and loyalty from your Yelpers, both employed and not.
Oh how you have betrayed me. How can you leave all your hard working freelancers hanging and hire an outsider to be OUR community organizer?! These are the people I have grown to know and trust in their reviews and have made Austin Yelp what it is today. Without them you would be nothing. At least half if not more of your Elite Austin squad is from them.
And from what I understand I cannot even delete my account in protest because you don’t allow it. How democratic and hip is that? All I have to say is, thanks for the free t-shirt bitches. I’m out.
Not to be a hater, but Yelp scares the shit out of me. My roommate is hopelessly addicted to it and has forgotten that there’s a garage downstairs that still needs to be organized.
“Hey guys, let’s go out to some cool [insert Yelp directory of person, place or thing] and WRITE ABOUT IT AFTERWARDS!!!”
Yeah, that’s what I strive for.
Okay, if someone can tell me what the odds of a guy hooking up with a girl via Yelp are higher than say, 1%, then okay, I might STFU and become a believer of this phenomenon.
But, the last thing I want to do is hook up with a girl with a documented opinion about EVERYTHING IN LIFE.
“Hi, my name is Barbie and I like to be an attention whore because it makes my boobs look bigger.”
Okay bitch, just take off your shirt.
The list goes on and on and on.
2) Yelp is a Hypocrite:
On their blog, they wrote
“Paid Reviews Don’t Have a Place on Yelp”
But how did Yelp grow in the first place?
Though Yelp strives to maintain the purity of its reviews, the company has in the past paid people to write them. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told The New York Times in 2007 that “there was a time in our earlier days where we experimented with paying for reviews directly in cities outside of San Francisco to help get the ball rolling in our otherwise empty site.”
3) You have to PAY to leave your good reviews on there
4) Their revenue model is extortion
You want your competitor’s ads to NOT show up on your profile? Sure, you can pay them to do that, too.
You just have to pay their extortion fee:
Rick Fonger, 62, decided a few years ago to end a career in journalism and move from Canada to Alhambra, where he opened a jewelry store.
“I’ve always been interested in gemstones and gemology,” he said. “It was just something I wanted to do.”
To give his shop, called 58 Facets Jewelry, a little social-media boost, Fonger spent about $300 a month advertising on Yelp. “It worked OK, not great,” he said.
After six months, he decided to shift his limited marketing budget to direct mail. He canceled his Yelp ad in February.
The very next day, Fonger said, a Yelp employee called to say she wanted to help. She pointed out that competitors’ ads were now appearing above the reviews for his store.
“She said that for $75 a month, she could make those ads go away,” Fonger recalled.
He responded that this sounded a lot like extortion.
“She said she could understand why I’d think that,” Fonger said. “But she said they do it to everyone.”
As if that makes it OK.
The list goes ON and ON.
The part that really pisses me off?
How they rate the reviews EQUALLY.
I could be one of their “elite” reviewers who has had an account for 7+ years with 150+ friends.
But my review will be weighted EQUALLY to some schmuck from some 3rd world country who created an account in 2 days with NO profile picture, NO other reviews, NO friends, and NO history whatsoever.
I feel really passionate about this because I personally know a handful of local business owners (who I am very close with)that get shafted by negative ANONYMOUS reviews.
No offense, but these loser Yelpers complain about everything: how they didn’t get extra ketchup, tourists who don’t understand how expensive stuff costs in big cities, loser women who complain that the server didn’t say thank you… completely useless comments they would never make in public if they were given a platform to stand on with a microphone.
As a business owner, I know what it’s like to have your DREAM shit on with these small minded idiots with this self-entitlement issues, as if the world should revolve around their pathetic lives. To them, I recommend a healthy dose of bitch slap and maybe getting neutered.
Though I am against government intervention in businesses, they should step in when businesses behave badly. My social science teacher used to say “Your fist ends where my nose begins”. Yelp’s fist reaches way too many noses. It’s time for government to step in.
Another? I hope Google replaces ALL Yelp reviews with Google+ reviews. Yes, I know Google isn’t some kind of protector of mankind, but at least their economic interest doesn’t lie in reviews as much as they are from their search PPC ads.
I recently starting leaving reviews ONLY for businesses I have had positive experience with. I am starting to exercise “if you ain’t got good stuff to say, keep your mouth shut.” Will I complain? Sure… but only in extreme cases (1 in 50 MAYBE).
Other than that…
- I am starting a facebook page for small business owners who have been hurt by Yelp and would like to take some action.
- If you or your client is a victim of Yelp’s rape, I’d love to hear about your story in the comments.