“To me, it’s mafia. To me it’s a racket. To me, it’s extortion.
To you guys, it’s Yelp.”
This quote comes from an Italian restaurant owner in an upcoming documentary called Billion Dollar Bully.
The documentary is about Yelp’s shady business practices by manipulating and removing reviews for businesses that don’t advertise with them.
Here is a trailer:
MYM has a client that could be “Exhibit A” for this documentary.
On 2/13/17, I told you about an MYM client who stopped advertising with Yelp, only to mysteriously hemorrhage their five-star reviews on Yelp immediately after.
At that time, they had lost 85 five-star reviews since 1/1/17 (from 648 to 563).
As of today, 6/8/17, they are down to… get ready for this…
81 five-star Yelp reviews.
Yep… Yelp “filtered” (a.k.a. deleted) 482 of this contractor’s five-star reviews in just four months. All because the contractor stopped paying Yelp for advertising.
This, in spite of adding OVER 100 NEW 5-Star Reviews since January 1st…
They SHOULD have been up to about 750 right now.
Instead, they sit at an abysmal 81.
It could be even worse by now—Yelp is still actively removing 5-star reviews at the alarming rate of 1 or 2 per day. Click here to check and see for yourself.
And oh by the way… they still have FIFTY (50) 1-star reviews… THE EXACT SAME NUMBER THEY HAD January 1.
The Italian restaurant owner is right: Yelp is the internet mafia. If you don’t pay, your five-star reviews go away.
Billion Dollar Bully proves that Yelp extorting business owners is nothing new. But I’m bringing up this issue again to show you how widespread the problem is and tell you to use EXTREME caution with Yelp.
If possible, don’t rely on Yelp as your primary (or secondary or tertiary) review source. Because it probably won’t end well for you.
Instead, stick to accumulating reviews on places like Google, Facebook, HomeAdvisor, Yellow Pages, and local review websites. (Basically, any review website that DOESN’T have a documentary dishing dirt about how terrible it is.)
Our Online Reputation Management (ORM) can help you.
With MYM ORM, increasing your positive online reviews on LEGITIMATE review websites—and improving your online reputation overall—is easy.
Here are three major benefits of MYM’s Online Reputation Management:
- New Review Soliciting – We shrewdly and respectfully email your customer list that you provide us and direct them to leave you a review.
- Subpar Review Interception – If a customer leaves you less than a 3-star review (This number is customizable), it gives them a quick pop up that says, “Hey! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We want to make it right. Please call us.” This gives you the chance to take that 2- or 3-star review, and turn it into a 5-star review.
- Brand Monitoring – You’ll be alerted every time a new review is published about your company. This is not limited to reviews we generate through the reviews process, but any review across 100+ websites. This makes it easy for you to respond to negative and positive reviews quickly. (To learn how to respond to online reviews, read my last blog post.)
Click here to find out more about MYM’s Online Reputation Management. Also be sure to use the free Review Scanner at the top of the page to generate an instant reputation report of your business.
P.S. If you want to learn more about Billion Dollar Bully, visit its Kickstarter page. MYM is in no way affiliated with this documentary; we simply respect the heck out of David standing up to Goliath.
© 2017, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.