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Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

I couldn't believe it when I saw a negative review for my business from someone who had received her service almost 3 months after the fact and proceeded to falsely claim that she paid a lot more for it than she actually did.

Like many other businesses, I have been approached numerous times by Yelp to advertise with them and each time politely declined when I expressed that I wasn't convinced that paying Yelp would help me net more business than I was already getting. Then I noticed that my 5-star reviews kept disappearing, leaving me with down to about 20 or so. I still can't complain, but it's the suspicious particulars about this most recent negative review (several days after declining another advertising opportunity) that I find really disturbing.

Contacting the reviewer (thanking her for taking the time to review my business but asking her why she had waited so long and not expressed her lack of complete satisfaction immediately after her service and asking that she correct her erroneous recollection of what she had paid - we both have copies of the same receipt after all) yielded no response and after contacting Yelp the reply I got was "Unfortunately we don't make factual determinations on reviews." In other words, you're on your own and reviewers are free to say anything they want, even if factually incorrect.

My experience and the experience of countless others cannot bode well for Yelp's future if word of this continues to get around. And as for the reviewer who decided that she had a bone to pick several months after the fact when I can't imagine that I ever gave her a reason to do so, I hope whatever she got out of her deal was worth it to make up for her future karma.

Posted by Jeannie on 04/02/2009 at 5:05 PM

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