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Is Yelp the Tony Soprano of Review Sites?

February 19, 2014

Small Business

Search Engine Optimization


It seems like for as long as I’ve known about Yelp I’ve heard stories about them hiding good reviews and showing bad ones. They say their system automatically hides questionable posts, but considering I’ve written legitimate reviews and they’ve been hidden, I don’t believe this. I have heard that one solution is paying Yelp to have them filter out the bad and display the good, which is absolutely ridiculous! I’m sure for some of you this is old news, but I want everyone to know what Yelp is up to!

When I say everyone, I mean everyone. I’ve decided to start a petition on WhiteHouse.gov so hopefully the government can get involved and help fix this. If Yelp were blackmailing business owners to offer them protection like the mafia does I’m sure the government would have something to say about it. But guess what, that’s exactly what they’re doing! Yelp is the Tony Soprano of review sites. They’re shaking down innocent business owners, basically saying pay us or we’ll bury your business with bad reviews.

Like I said, I’ve known about this for a while, but just the other day I experienced the entire issue first hand. I was working with a client on their online marketing and he told me his business had a 2 star review on Yelp. There were five 1-2 star reviews showing (some of which were confirmed as fake ones written by his competitors), and twelve 4-5 star reviews “filtered” out by Yelp. He asked if there was anything I could do, and at the time I said no… but now I can say yes! I am starting a petition!

My first step in this process was writing a review for my clients business. Having stepped foot in his building, used his product, and worked with him for over a year, it was one of the most legitimate reviews ever written on Yelp. It was hidden in less than 24 hours.

My next step was to contact Yelp, and ask them why my very real review was hidden. I know their slogan used to be “Real People. Real Reviews”, but it appears they have since removed that. I’m still waiting for a response, but I suspect it wont do me any good.

Now onto the fun part; the petition! I’m sure most of you heard about the recent “Deport Justin Bieber” petition that the government was required to look into since it received over 100,000 signatures in 30 days. This is the same type of petition. WhiteHouse.gov has a system for setting up petitions and gathering signatures.

So please, help bring Yelp back to the “Real People. Real Reviews” that it used to be.

When you’re done please use all of the share buttons below to help get this petition to 100,000 signatures! Also, if you have a story about Yelp and their shady practices please share it in the comments. The more ammo we have the better!