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Re: “Yelp's CEO Responds to Policy Change, Continues to Spin the Story

I agree that most reporters don't have the guts to stand firm with yelp, so most stories read as a total cop out. Kathleen Richards was instrumental in breaking the story on yelp, and I appreciate the fact that she continues to report on the matter. Many other business owners appreciate this too, I'm sure.

There is absolutely no doubt that yelp implemented the business owner feedback feature in response to the intense media attention they received. However, yelp has offered up far too little, far too late. They also refuse to admit that it has anything to do with pressure from the media or small business owners, which is just another unnecessary insult. What's the harm in admitting that we have finally been heard? Yelp management's ego has gotten in the way of their own success.

I haven't seen many business owners take advantage of the new feature, and our own business has steered clear of it. The problem is that yelp implemented this feature begrudgingly, which is clear in the restrictions they place on business owners. For example, they insist that business owners use a picture of their own face, rather than a general shot of the restaurant, or else they will disable your ability to respond publicly. However, the reviewer is not required to post any picture at all, let alone one that is of their own face. Business owners are also restricted in the length of their response and they are told that their comments will be closely monitored to ensure they don't offend the reviewers. In other words, business owners are still considered second class citizens and treated like the bad guys. We aren't willing to play yelp's discrimination game.

Our business holds a strong four star average on yelp despite their constant manipulation of reviews. At this point, we feel that being labeled a "yelp sponsor" would only hurt our business, as sponsors have less credibility with readers. We will NEVER advertise with yelp, period.

Posted by Heather on 05/30/2009 at 2:19 AM

Re: “Letters for April 22

Audrae Erickson of the Corn Refiners Association has a lot of nerve to suggest that high fructose corn syrup has been given a clean bill of health by anybody other than the corn growers and its lobbyists. The government continues to subsidize a crop that is largely inedible without first being processed. Consider the incredible significance of that -- hundreds of thousands of acres of corn that tastes like crap and must be turned into sweetners, ethanal, or "sustainable" plasticware because it is otherwise useless. You also should consider that any sweetener that requires protective goggles and gloves to be made (yes, high fructose corn syrup) is not something that should be put in our bodies. Rather than overproduce a product that has no nutritional value for humans or our livestock, we should rip it all out and grow real food -- natural, nutritional food that can be used to feed Americans and make them healthy again. If we have a surplus of that food, it should be shipped to other countries where people are starving to death on a daily basis rather than creating these harmful new industries. I wouldn't buy anything that includes processed corn products, and especially high fructose corn syrup, and would only eat corn if I could eat it right off the cob. Anything else just contributes to the greedy, unethical, and disgusting organizations that could care less that they are killing us. So, Audrae, stick that in your corn cob pipe and smoke it.

Posted by Heather on 05/13/2009 at 10:34 AM

Re: “Yelp Extortion Allegations Stack Up

Yelp finally released the new feature that allows business owners to respond publicly to reviews. It's comical, really. Before a business owner can respond to a review, they must upload a picture of themselves. Yelp clearly states that if you upload a picture of anything other than your face, messaging will be disabled for your business. They show an example of a dorky chef, which they say is correct, and then a nice general shot of a restaurant's dining room, which they say is wrong. It's totally hypocritical because any internet troll can post a malicious review without uploading any picture at all. Yelp has also done nothing to ensure that internet trolls don't claim a business page that doesn't belong to them. Those businesses that don't play the yelp game or lack the internet skills to participate are left vulnerable to a total lack of security that welcomes identity theft and bogus business responses. While yelp claims they will closely monitor and censor business feedback, you know damn well that they are not going to make any effort to protect a business and will allow trolls to further damage business reputations via their website.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Heather on 04/25/2009 at 11:26 AM

Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

Yelp finally released the new feature that allows business owners to respond publicly to reviews. It's comical, really. Before a business owner can respond to a review, they must upload a picture of themselves. Yelp clearly states that if you upload a picture of anything other than your face, messaging will be disabled for your business. They show an example of a dorky chef, which they say is correct, and then a nice general shot of a restaurant's dining room, which they say is wrong. It's totally hypocritical because any internet troll can post a malicious review without uploading any picture at all. Yelp has also done nothing to ensure that internet trolls don't claim a business page that doesn't belong to them. Those businesses that don't play the yelp game or lack the internet skills to participate are left vulnerable to a total lack of security that welcomes identity theft and bogus business responses. While yelp claims they will closely monitor and censor business feedback, you know damn well that they are not going to make any effort to protect a business and will allow trolls to further damage business reputations via their website.

Posted by Heather on 04/25/2009 at 11:23 AM

Re: “Yelp Does the Right Thing

Yelp finally released the new feature that allows business owners to respond publicly to reviews. It's comical, really. Before a business owner can respond to a review, they must upload a picture of themselves. Yelp clearly states that if you upload a picture of anything other than your face, messaging will be disabled for your business. They show an example of a dorky chef, which they say is correct, and then a nice general shot of a restaurant's dining room, which they say is wrong. It's totally hypocritical because any internet troll can post a malicious review without uploading any picture at all. Yelp has also done nothing to ensure that internet trolls don't claim a business page that doesn't belong to them. Those businesses that don't play the yelp game or lack the internet skills to participate are left vulnerable to a total lack of security that welcomes identity theft and bogus business responses. While yelp claims they will closely monitor and censor business feedback, you know damn well that they are not going to make any effort to protect a business and will allow trolls to further damage business reputations via their website.

Posted by Heather on 04/25/2009 at 11:20 AM

Re: “Yelp Bows to Pressure and Will Allow Biz Owners to Respond to Criticism - for Free

Yelp finally released the new feature that allows business owners to respond publicly to reviews. It's comical, really. Before a business owner can respond to a review, they must upload a picture of themselves. Yelp clearly states that if you upload a picture of anything other than your face, messaging will be disabled for your business. They show an example of a dorky chef, which they say is correct, and then a nice general shot of a restaurant's dining room, which they say is wrong. It's totally hypocritical because any internet troll can post a malicious review without uploading any picture at all. Yelp has also done nothing to ensure that internet trolls don't claim a business page that doesn't belong to them. Those businesses that don't play the yelp game or lack the internet skills to participate are left vulnerable to a total lack of security that welcomes identity theft and bogus business responses. While yelp claims they will closely monitor and censor business feedback, you know damn well that they are not going to make any effort to protect a business and will allow trolls to further damage business reputations via their website.

Posted by Heather on 04/25/2009 at 11:17 AM

Re: “Letters for April 15

Farmstead Cheeses is a yelp sponsor, and they have a single one star review among the 120+ reviews for both locations. That in itself is quite unusual, but the one star review is also pretty mellow in comparison to some of the others you read. What's especially interesting about that one star review is that it was posted by a user who has NO other reviews. The review was posted in June 2008, yet it still stands, despite yelp's claims that a poster must be active or their reviews will fall off. It's almost as if yelp decided to protect this business from negative reviews, but felt that they needed at least a single one star review to make the overall rating seem a little more believable. The only way this user's review would not drop off is if yelp specifically excluded it from its so-called "algorithm", which tells me they know who the poster is. Perhaps this business is unaware of the protection they are paying for, but I just find any business willing to speak out in defense of yelp to be highly suspicious.

Posted by Heather on 04/15/2009 at 4:29 PM

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