It is not the first time I hear about Yelp’s greedy extortion type tactics come to light. This company has been at it for years, in fact The Huffington Post dedicated an entire tag to it on their site “Yelp Extortion“. What exactly does Yelp do to reviews? Well, if you want your reviews to stay you might have to pay them. Everyone knows that getting reviews is a B**** especially when you are doing the right thing by your clients. When you make a client happy they want to leave you reviews, if your client asks to leave you a review on Yelp you might want to reconsider where you send them to leave you that review.
Why Am I Venting?
Yelp tries to act like they are a moderated review site and that they make sure only “REAL” reviews don’t get flagged, here’s the thing. The only way Yelp will let a review stay is if the user that left the review is an active reviewer on Yelp AND if the review was left on a paying account. If you don’t pay Yelp most of your reviews will get flagged. Just a few days ago I got off the phone with one of my clients that has tons of reviews from all over the web. The second I mentioned Yelp reviews he got upset and I cannot blame him.
My client had 21 reviews on Yelp, until that one day when Yelp contacted him to upsell him a featured listing, they told him “since you have all these reviews you will really benefit from getting your listing featured…” My client did not want to invest at the time, guess what happened next? 20 of his 21 reviews got flagged, he was furious and they said there is nothing they can do. It’s a shame that they do such bad business, can you imagine two years of real reviews only flagged after you say no to an upsell.
Conclusion On Yelp
Do not do business with Yelp. If you do and you get a ton of good reviews, what if one day you decide to stop, who’s to say you will keep your reviews? Clearly they are only looking out for their own interests. If you want to get reviews on Yelp make sure you pay them otherwise kiss those reviews goodbye! I for one have decided to boycott them as a review site, they’re nothing more than a directory.
If you want to get your local business visibility and more reviews be good to your clients (unlike Yelp) and ask them to leave you a review on Google, after all Google owns 90% of search for products and services. In my opinion Google should deindex Yelp instead of scraping their biased pages for reviews.