Brad Reason 
Member since Jan 6, 2012


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Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

I have dealt with the extortionist tactics of Yelp first hand. As a marketing director for a small business, Yelp has been my only obstacle.

Yelp has a diabolical practice of burying the legitimate, favorable reviews of small businesses who refuse to submit to their exorbitant advertising program.

I work for a small business in New York City. We have a devoted, appreciative clientele, many of whom have submitted favorable reviews, only to have them relegated to Yelp purgatory - the "filtered" review section.

Yelp may claim that they've found a way to detect which reviews are legitimate and which are not via their secretive "algorhythm", however, that is not the case. In perusing the filtered reviews for my own small business, I recognize several of my clients in these reviews. These are honest, legitimate reviews. Over the past few years, we've received dozens of positive reviews. Because we refused to advertise with Yelp, these five-star reviews will never see the light of day, yet a mediocre anonymous review from 2008 has always remained on our Yelp page.

Yelp's overly aggressive sales pitch, and the vindictive consequences if you refuse them, make it clear that it is money, and not accuracy or objectivity, that is their primary concern.

Specifics:
Yelp calls businesses that have not had many reviews filtered. If the business declines the $300+ a month "advertising package" many positive legitimate reviews move the filtered section causing the business to lower in rank (usually from a 4-5star to a 2-3 star average). Any local competing businesses in the area paying the for Yelp's advertising gets to control their reviews and keep themselves at 4-5 stars while businesses not paying Yelp are tossed into appearing to have flaws due to only mediocre reviews being left on the company's Yelp page.

There is no course of action for business owners that are against Yelp trashing their companies in this way. Yelp promotes "honest reviews from real people" but a federal investigation into Yelp would prove that the company is committing extortion and racketeering.

67 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Brad Reason on 01/29/2013 at 11:40 AM

Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

I was just contacted (again!) by a Yelp ad sales rep. The first time I hung up as soon as they said "Yelp." They called again, I answered, and they went into their sales pitch. After I went into a rant about Yelp extorting small businesses, I got her full name. I also have screen captures of my company's Yelp page BEFORE talking to this recent sales person... and I will screen capture my company's page AFTER.

Plus I'm on the National Do Not Call list....

So, I have a sales person's full name (which led me to her facebook profile and personal info), and I have substantial proof that Yelp employees call, and when you say "no," they damage businesses as penalty.

Do I share this sales reps facebook page link?

127 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Brad Reason on 01/06/2012 at 12:59 PM

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