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Re: “Yelp and the Business of Extortion 2.0

I wrote 6 reviews on the site about 6 local businesses that I did business with: 3 of them were positive reviews and 3 of them were negative reviews. My negative reviews were very thoughtfully & carefully written and did not violate any of Yelp's terms of services. One of my negative reviews, for example, was for a taxicab company which never showed up to pick me up from my apartment, even though I waited 60 extra minutes past the arrival time for them to come, and after calling the taxicab company 5 times to check on where they were. ("Just 5 more minutes, Mr. Rose.")

Within 60 days of posting my 3 negative reviews (for 3 different companies) to Yelp's website, all 3 of my negative reviews had been removed from the respective companies' profiles on the Yelp site. Interestingly enough, the negative reviews still show up FOR MY EYES ONLY in my personal & private profile when I log into the Yelp website, but they have miraculously been HIDDEN on the companies' pages themselves.

So I started asking around, and lo and behold, many of my friends who had written negative reviews for businesses started noticing the same thing: their negative reviews were still in their own personal profiles (for their eyes only), but their negative reviews were NOWHERE TO BE FOUND on the company pages in question.

So I emailed and asked them about my reviews being removed... they only replied to my emails with a form letter directing me to the FAQ's on the site. I replied back several times, asking to have a conversation with a supervisor about this issue, and they continually replied with form letters directing me to the FAQ's on their site. After trying to make live human contact with on 5 separate occasions, I finally gave up.

I started bitching about this enough that a friend of mine told me about his friend's business which is on He told me that shortly after signing up for, he got a call from the folks at yelp who offered him a deal that he just couldn't refuse. If he paid to advertise his company on their website, then would suppress all negative reviews about his business. Sounds like Yelp has figured out a good little moneymaking business on the side, huh? And this explains why some negative reviews appear on the site for SOME companies, but not for other companies. Those companies who allow the negative reviews to show up about their own business are the ones who are truly the more honest & upstanding companies... because they didn't pay to have them suppressed. My friend also told me that he is allowed by to write an unlimited number of positive reviews about his own company, under multiple identities, without suppression.

Pretty shady stuff, huh?

So, folks, I urge you to NEVER go to and NEVER support this fraudulent, criminal website which pretends to be something that it is not.

More on my blog here:

Posted by Scott Rose on 03/24/2009 at 10:48 AM

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