Is Yelp A Bully Or Just Misunderstood?

Extortion – Unlawful exaction of money or property through intimidation or undue exercise of authority. It may include threats of physical harm, criminal prosecution, or public exposure.

I have used the yelp site for years.  I especially like using it when I’m traveling to find out great places to go.  I read the reviews, pick through all the crappy things people are saying to either hurt a business or are obviously coming out of their inflated egos, and then make a decision to visit some place to make my trip as rewarding as possible.  For the most part, it has worked pretty well.

Now, I own a few small businesses and get weekly calls from Yelp to try to get me to pay them for advertising.  They have also told me that if I choose to use their service and pay them a monthly fee, I will have more control over the reviews for my establishment.

I cannot name a name because he is a fellow business owner who is very reliable.  I was speaking with him about the negative reviews my new business is getting next to all the glowing ones people are leaving.  My friend said very casually, “oh, I know how to deal with that.  We had the same problem when we started.  I agreed to pay them $300/mo. and then every time there was a negative review, I would just call them and they would remove it.  I’ve been paying them for years and that’s how I’ve maintained a 4.5 star rating.”

Background:  I own a Royal Care Mobile Spa business in Los Angeles that is really making a splash in a number of ways.  There have been some very questionable reviews and practices of yelpers and competitors , with the mysterious algorithm taking off quite a few positive reviews from people I know have tried our services and have become fans.  We have save these under the discussions page on our fan site on facebook.

So, for all you yelpers who think that your reviews positive or negative reviews are respected by yelp, you are basically being used by Yelp as a tool for them to get money out of businesses who are trying to protect their business.  There are number of lawsuits.  I understand you clubs and meetings and friends you’ve developed, just know that this “free” service you use is done on the backs of businesses that have employees who have families.

Please visit our page if you have used our services. Of course we try to make your spa experience memorable and relaxing.

Be honest and true about your feedback 🙂

For me, I can never rely upon this service again as a legitimate place to find out about a place to eat or any other service.

Please share your thoughts and opinions.

by Lana Lennox

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