Bruce M 
Member since Nov 10, 2009


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Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

I am writing to echo the experiences shared in the hundreds of letters I’ve just read regarding Yelp's approach, which can only be characterized as completely irresponsible, and in my opinion, bordering on illegal.

We are a small business located in San Jose, California. While I have yet to receive a call from Yelp's salespeople, I will say this: We received an extremely negative review from one our Customers, which was posted on Yelp. While I wholeheartedly support our customer's right to describe their experience in our store, I believe that the writer has a responsibility to provide all of the facts, and let the reader decide what to believe. In this case, the reviewer chose to present half of the story, and omitted the fact that we have made every possible effort to satisfy her to the very best of our ability. The review was nothing less than a personal attack on me and on our business, which has taken me nearly 40 years to build.

Several of our Customers also wrote of their experience in our store, which were, for the most part, very positive. All of the positive reviews have "disappeared", yet the one negative review remains. I contacted Yelp and was unable to speak to anyone. I left a message, and received a form-letter type e-mail, which stated in effect, that Yelp's "highly sophisticated software" had determined that our Customer's reviews might not have been legitimate, and may have been removed as a result.

Of course we have plenty of evidence that each of our Customers' reviews were indeed legitimate, including copies of each of our Customers' original invoices and contact information, but that does not appear to matter to Yelp.

It is truly a shame that a small business-person can be subjected to this kind of thing, and not be given the opportunity to defend himself/herself, especially when it means that the business may suffer as a result of an extremely misleading review.

Maybe I’m just naive, but what has happened to honesty, integrity, and taking personal responsibility for one's actions, and the effects that one's actions have upon others?

I still believe and continue to practice all three in my business and personal life, and I believe for the most part, that the rest of the world does too. In Yelp's case, none of the three appear to be of any importance. It appears to me that their approach is simply, "Profit, Profit, Profit", at the expense of the community that Yelp is supposed to be serving.

If anyone out there knows of any legal efforts that are being waged against Yelp, please let me know, as I would be more than happy to share my experience with anyone who might be interested.

Thanks very much for your time,
Bruce M.

Posted by Bruce McCombs on 11/10/2009 at 5:31 PM

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