Thursday, January 26, 2012

More Yelp Shenanigans

As noted below, Yelp sucks, primarily because it's highly likely that there's some shady business going on. In the past, they'd promise business owners that negative reviews would be "shuffled" out of view, or at least moved to the last page or something. In some cases, it appears, they'd tell business owners they could remove negative reviews altogether. To be fair, we never received any such promises. They gave us the standard line that we'd have "much more" exposure with a paid ad at the top of page. (In actuality, we got maybe a ten percent bump in business page views).

The most common problem with Yelp is the well-documented tendency to filter positive reviews when business owners declined to advertise with them. It would go like this:

Company gets a few positive reviews, ergo, gets on Yelp's radar.
Aggressive account executives try to sell business owners advertising space on the website.
If the company accepts, it may, for a while, be left alone. If the company declines, their positive reviews start disappearing.
Yelp denies any wrong-doing.

It went much like that with us. We got a surge of good reviews that stayed on the site, unfiltered, for months at a time. Yelp called us, and in my naivety, I thought it might give us a little bit of an edge. I bought in to the advertising.

However, just as our contract was about to come up for renewal, we couldn't keep a positive review on the site longer than a couple of days. After I formally canceled the renewal, every review we received was archived (filtered) within two or three days.

Another recent example: Greg L. gave us a five-star review on the 19th, the same day that an angry customer gave us a one-star review. (That's a story in itself -- she admitted that we gave her five-star service, but a later assembly job went bad thanks to a very green employee we shouldn't have sent. She later upgraded the review in order to get some more of that five-star service, but when I declined, she downgraded it again. That comes pretty close to extortion, if you ask me.) Anyway, Greg wrote the positive review, then updated it later that day in response to the one-star review.

Here it is:

So it has been several months since I hired these guys to help me move last October.  That's not a reflection on their service in any way. I'm just kind of lazy.

Anyway, these guys are great.  I could call up the owner and actually speak with him.  Booking was a breeze.  Everyone was always very polite, and I wasn't charged anything for needing to cancel the move the day before because of a problem with the apartment I was moving into.  When I rescheduled, they were great about that as well.

The three men I hired to help with the move were impeccably professional.  My belongings were well-secured.  They were careful with everything and didn't waste a second.  Not once did they stop, not even for a breather.  They worked very, very hard.

I plan on asking them to help me with my next move. There's not even a question in my mind about who to call.

[EDIT] I have just seen that there are some absurd negative reviews on here.  I cannot imagine how someone could give these folks such a poor rating.  Chris is  fantastic person to deal with and very understanding.  He really seems to care about providing excellent customer service. And like I mentioned above, the men who showed up for the move were very professional and polite.  I cannot stress that enough -- I was very impressed.  These are good people who work hard.

It was archived five days later.

Negative reviews, of course, are "evergreens" and stay on the site forever, presumably until I shell out more cash. As friend in the industry put it, "Yelp is a finely honed protection racket."


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