Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 reasons the filter does not work

1 - Way too many reviews are being removed. 

Lots of companies have at least 50 reviews filtered out. 

Some have 100 or more filtered out. 

Some companies have more filtered reviews then unfiltered reviews. 

I found a company that has over 6,000 reviews removed. That company is Yelp. You can review Yelp on Yelp. And they have over 6,000 reviews removed!

The point is, when that many reviews are being filtered out, then the filter is not reliable. 

Removing that many reviews can be unfair for the person who wrote the review and for the company it was for. 

And removing that many reviews can be mis-leading to the public. 

2 - Many real reviews get taken off while fake ones stay. 

The point of this filter is to keep the real reviews and eliminate the fake ones. And yet, so many times the opposite is happening. So if the opposite is happening, then what is the point of the filter? 

Yelp argues that although the filter doesn't always work, it does work for the most part. But that's not enough. It should work period. But lot's of times, it doesn't work. And anyway, how can it work most of the time? How? It's an algorithm on reviews. 

The proof is there on Yelp that the filter does not work many times. 


3 - Sometimes the filter takes off more positive reviews compared to negative ones. 

This is the worst part about Yelp. This is the part that owners hate the most about Yelp.

For example, I found a business owner in Los Angeles that had fifty good reviews and two bad ones. And guess what happened? All fifty good reviews got removed and only the two bad ones stayed. So the owner had a one star rating. 

And by the way, that one star rating stayed for about two years. 

Is that logical or fair? 

4 -  Sometimes the filter takes off multiple reviews.

Let's say you go to a shop multiple times and write a review each time. Well, Yelp may let some of your reviews stay and some go!

It's as if they're saying you were real sometimes and fake other times. 

Does that make sense to you? 

  5 - A "check in" review can get removed. 

Yelp allows people to check in at a business using their phone. It's a way of letting people know where you are and it is a way to prove you are actually at the location. 

And yet, even if you check in, Yelp still might think your review is fake. 

Sure, checking doesn't mean your review is real. I get that. But sometimes the review is real. And the filter once again can be wrong.

So, if a person checked in, and the review gets filtered, then whats the point in relying on the person as someone who checked in? 

6 - A "Yelp deal" review can get removed. 

Yelp allows businesses to offer Yelp deals. It's a way for a business to give a discount to a customer. 

So when a customer buys a Yelp deal, it should mean that there review is more reliable right? 

Wrong. Sometimes even if you buy a Yelp deal, Yelp still might remove the review.

7 - Even pictures of proof are not good enough. 

This is a really strange one.

Let’s say you hire a decoration company to decorate your event. And the company sends a guy to your event and he decorates the area. 

And aftewards you go to the companies Yelp page and put up pictures of the way the guy decorated. You even show a picture of the guy being at your event. And you even show a picture of you and the guy together at your event. All this would be good proof that you did business with the company right? 


Sometimes even if you put up pictures of proof, your review can still be filtered.

Isn't that strange? 
Do you still think the filter works? 

8 - Yelp ratings contradict BBB ratings 

If you trust the Better Business Beauru, then you should probably not trust Yelp ratings. Why? Because sometimes the average rating for a business on Yelp contradicts the same business rating on the Better Business Beauru.

For example, there is a construction company that had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 1 star rating on Yelp. 

Which one do you think is more reliable? The BBB? Or the filter that Yelp uses? 

9 - Even admitting the review is fake isn't enough.


A person can write a fake review, admit in the review it's fake, and the review will stay. Can you believe that? 

I know a business where a guy wrote a fake review, and admitted it was fake, and the review stayed. 

In fact, the guy admitted in one of his reviews that he was going around the web trying to find the business he was writing about on other review websites so that he can write fake reviews for the business. And Yelp let the review stay. And they also let the reviewers account remain open. 

10 - Yelp admits the filter doesn't always work.

I have given lots of examples of how the filter doesn't always work and many owners agree that the filter is unreliable. (On a side note, I have rarley known of an owner that liked Yelp). 

But I am going to give you one more. And it's a good one.

Yelp basically knows that these type of examples can happen sometimes. And they basically admit that the filter doesn't always work. And they know that many owners are getting hurt by there filter. 

And yet Yelp still uses the filter. They still defend it. And they do this while knowing that some owners are still getting hurt by them. 

What kind of a company is this? 

Conclusion - Yelp should not use a filter 

The filter is broken. It does not work. And anyone that tells you it works either doesn't know what is happening, or is lying, or doesn't care, or doesn't think it's a big deal. 

Yelp is hurting peoples livelihood. They are hurting peoples reputations. And they continue to let it happen. It's wrong. 

Yelp claims the filter works and is reliable. Here are 7 questions.

1 - Why does Yelp give different answers about this? Sometimes they claim it works and it's reliable. And sometimes they admit that the filter doesn't always work and isn't always reliable. Which one is it?

2 - If it's reliable, how do they explain all the examples of the filter not being reliable? (Go to the article where I point out examples of how the filter doesn't work). 

3 - If it's reliable, how come many reviews that get taken off are very similar to reviews that were not taken off?

4 - If the filter is reliable, how do they explain that so many people are saying that their legit reviews are being removed? Are all those people lying about writing real reviews?

5 - Yelp admits that a review is more likely to be removed by users who are not active on Yelp. But most Yelp users are not active. So that means most reviews will get filtered. So if most reviews get filtered, how is the filter reliable? 

6 - If a non - active user has their review removed because they are not active enough, then doesn't that mean their is no legit reason for the review to be removed? And if their is no legit reason that the review should be removed but it happens, then how is the filter reliable?

7 - If Yelp admits that the filter is not always reliable, why do they continue to have it? In other words, once you admit the filter is not always reliable, then why have it? Especially when you know some innocent businesses are being hurt by the filter?

These are all valid questions. 

But Yelp can't give logical answers to all this because they would then have to admit that their filter is not good and therefore they would have to remove it. And if they do that, then they are just another review website.

Yelps claim that the filter does more good then bad. Here are 3 questions.

Yelp claims that the filter is good to have because it does more good then bad. So here are 3 questions.

1 - How do they know the filter does more good then bad? Do they have some kind of stat that measures the good vs. the bad?

2 - So what if it does more good? We know the filter does at least some bad. We know the filter is hurting people's livelyhood and reputation. So if bad things are happening, why does it get a pass because of the good things that are happening? Is that logic?

3 - If they know the filter does some bad, then how can Yelp continue to let the bad keep happening? I don't understand that. I mean some people's livelyhood and reputation are being affected in a negative way. Doesn't that bother Yelp? 

I mean, if I was the leader of Yelp, I would stop hurting people right away or resign. But they let it keep happening. Why? I don't get it.

Again, Yelp does not have alot of logical answers to things like this. If they did, they would have to admit the filter does not work. And then they would have to remove it. And then they would be just another review website. 

Yelp claims the filter is worth it because they are popular

Yelp has this "defense" that even though the filter doesn't always work, it must be worth it since they are a popular company. 

They say if they weren’t doing things right, people wouldn’t support them and they wouldn’t be popular. 


I have 3 points about this. 

1 - Just because you are a popular company doesn't mean you let the filter keep doing bad things. Especially when you admit the filter doesn't always work. 

2 - Just because people support you and your popular, doesn't mean your doing things right. You don't keep hurting people because you are popular and have support. 

3 - Did it ever occur to Yelp that maybe some people don't know all the details of how Yelp works or what Yelp is doing? Or maybe some people don't think it's a big deal or care?

These are legit points. And Yelp does not have legit answers.

Yelp defends it's filter by explaining that they have a filtered review section

Yelp explains that even though reviews get removed, people can still read them by clicking a link that has the filtered reviews. This Which is true. But let me explain to you how frustrating this has been for owners.

First, there was a time when Yelp did NOT show the filtered reviews. Think about that. Your customer doesn't even know you had legit reviews that were removed. It was frustrating for an owner. 

Then Yelp created a link for the filtered reviews. Which is better then not having them. But it was still frustrating for an owner because not everyone knew that Yelp filtered out reviews and that there was a filtered review section. 

Plus, the link was small and didn't stand out so it was hard for a customer to know about it. And it wasn't always practical for an owner to explain to a customer how Yelp works or where the link was. 

And even if a customer knew these things, not every customer is going to waste there time to try to find it. And not every customer is going to rely on them because they may think the reviews are not reliable. Or, even if they knew that the filtered reviews are relaible, they may psychologically be influneced by the reviews that were not filtered and by the average rating of the business. 

Even if a customer wanted to rely on the filtered reviews, Yelp made people type in one of those annoying capcha codes to open it. And obviously that is going to steer people away. Why did Yelp make people type in a capcha code? 

Then Yelp made the link for the filtered reviews a little bigger and removed the capcha code. Which is better. But the link was still small. 

Then Yelp did something else strange. Before, when people opened the filtered reviews, the reviews were listed by date. But Yelp changed that. Yelp made it so that the negative reviews came first, Or if there were no negative reviews, they listed the least positive reviews first. It added on to the owners frustration. 

A customer may think you have more negative reviews compared to positive ones. Especially if you already have more negative reviews in the un-filtered area. 

If you are trying to convince a customer that you have better reviews in the filtered area, and they open the filtered section and the negatives reviews come first, it can influence the customer in a negative way. 

Why didn't Yelp let the reviews come by the date, or let the positive ones come first, or some kind of logical way? Why did Yelp make it so that the negative reviews, or the least positive reviews, came up first? 

I think Yelp did that to make it seem like they were not just removing positive reviews and that negative reviews were also being removed. But still, to a customer, it can influence them to not do business with a company because the negative reviews were first. 

Then Yelp made another strange change to there filtered review section. Now, when someone opens the filtered review section, they only show the first two negative reviews, and they have a link asking if you want to continue to the other filtered reviews. 

The point is, Yelp doesn't want filtered reviews to be easily accessed. And this whole thing with. But why? Why are they against the filtered reviews? And if they must have a filtered review section, why not make it easy to find? 

Some customers don't know that some reviews get filtered or that there is a filtered review section, or they may not trust the filtered reviews, and that can be unfair to the business.

Even if a customer knows about the filtered review section, most people are not going to open it because they will naturally rely on the reviews that are showing. And I don't blame them. It's natural to depend on what is showing instead of a filtered review section

Some don't have time to open and go through a filtered review section. I mean some don't have time to learn how Yelp works, so why are they going to have time to open and go through filtered reviews? And I don't blame them for any of this either. They shouldn't have to spend that much time or analyze all this because it's just supposed to be a review website. 

Why even have a filtered review section? Why not just show everything and let people decide? Especially when Yelp knows the filter doesn't always get things right? 

Of course Yelp does not have good logic for all this. 

Yelp claims they don't trust filtered reviews and don't want people to rely on them

Yelp claims they have a filtered review section because they don't trust those reviews and they don't want people to rely on those reviews.

Where do I begin with this one? 

1 - Who are they to decide what is trustworthy or not? 

2 - Why can't they let people decide? Are they smarter then everyone else? 

3 - Didn't they ADMIT that their filter doesn't always get it right? So if they admit that, then why don't they trust the filtered reviews? Why are they saying they don't want people to rely on those reviews if the admit that the filter doesn't always get it right? 

4 - If they don't trust filtered reviews, why have a filtered review section? It doesn't make sense. 

5 - They can't have it both ways. They can't defend themselves by saying people can open the filtered review section (especially when they have a history of making it harder to find and open it) and then claim that the filtered reviews are not trustworthy. 

6 - Yelp wants to show people that their fair by having a filtered review section. But if they really want to be fair, then get rid of the filter and let all the reviews show. But they won't do this. Why? Because then they are like other review websites. That's why. 

Yelp claims reviews can come and go through the filter in time

Yelp has another defense. 

They claim that a good review that was filtered can later come back. And that a fake review that has been there for a while, can later get filtered. 

And this is true. It can happen. 

But it rarley does. So it's another strange defense by Yelp. 

In my experience, most of the time if a review has been filtered it doesn't come back. And most of the time if a review has been there for a while it won't get filtered. 

But even if it happened alot, so what? It can still hurt a business. 

Most customers are not going to know that these things happened. Most customers go by what is on your page AT THE TIME they are on your page. Most customers don't keep coming back to your page, especially if you have the type of business that people usually hire once or twice. 

When a customer learns that you don't have allot of good reviews, or that you have some bad reviews, that's the impression they get.  And that negative impression can hurt your business and reputation. 

It's like gossip. You don’t know who heard the gossip. And even if you clear up the gossip, you don’t know if everyone found out it was cleared up. And sometimes even when you clear up the gossip, some people don’t think of you the same way as they did before.

And by the way, most customers don't know how Yelp works. And they shouldn't have to, it's just a review website! Doesn't Yelp understand all this?

Yelp defends itself by telling owners that they can respond to fake negative reviews

Yelp argues that when a business gets a fake review, the owner has a chance to respond to it. And that is true.

But it is also another stupid defense! Here's why:

1 - When a business gets a fake negative review, you don’t always want to bring attention to it.

2 - Even if you respond to a fake negative review, a customer is not going to know who to believe. Especially if your page has other fake negative reviews (again thank you Yelp). 

3 - Sometimes by responding to a fake negative review, you risk making the person who wrote it happy or mad. And then that person might write you another fake negative review. Or they might respond to your response to them and that can lead to a public debate or fight. And a public debate or fight can make you look bad as an owner. Or it can make the fake negative review seem credible since you're having a debate or fight. And by the way, having a debate or fight can bring attention to the fake negative review. 

I know what your thinking. Don't have a debate or fight, just respond one time and write "This review is fake?" Well that might work if you have ONE fake review. But what if you have more than one? 

For example, let’s say you get 5 fake reviews and all you want to do is respond to each one by writing "This review is fake.” Well Yelp won’t allow that. If you write the same kind of response, they will tell you that they can't allow it because it seems like another response you wrote another time. Can you believe that? You as an owner are not allowed to write the same thing, even if it's the truth?

I know what your thinking. Your thinking don't keep it simple than. Write a long, full, detailed version about why this review is fake. That way Yelp won't say your resposne sounds like another response right? Well that might not work either because Yelp has a limit to how much the owner can write in a response. Can you believe that? There is a word count limit.

Oh, by the way, the person who wrote you the fake review has NO LIMIT. Think about that. A person can have no word count to a fake review. But the owner has a limit in the response to a fake review. Is that fair? 

Imagine someone writes you a long negative review with lots of things that are untrue or unfair. And you want to respond back addressing all the untrue and unfair points, but you can't because there is a word count limit. That's not fair. I wonder how many owners have spent time re-editing their response over and over trying to fit everything in word count limit. I wonder how much time is wasted by owners trying to sum things up because they did not have enough room to put a full response. It probably caused more frustration for an owner. 

So you can't write too little. And you can't write too much. Why is Yelp so unfair to owners?

Sure, there is a way around all this. You can try to make sure you don't come off as fighting or arguing, and not make all your responses the same, and make sure you don't write too little or too much. But there is another problem. 

When an owner responds to a review, the response does not stand out. Yelp makes an owners response small and tucked away. 

Can you believe that? It's not fair for the owner. I mean the person who wrote the fake review is allowed to have the review stand out. But the owner is not allowed to have their response stand out? Why? Again, why is Yelp so unfair to owners? 

So yes, owners can respond to fake negative reviews. But it's another strange stupid defense from Yelp. 

Yelp doesn't let owners point out certain things on there own listing

So by now you know that Yelp sometimes filters out real positive reviews and leaves fake negative reviews. And you know that it hurts an owner. 

So I suppose all an owner has to do is go to their Yelp buisness page and point out what's happening right? 


An owner cannot write on their own Yelp buisness page that there are some real positive reviews in the filtered section and that customers should open it. 

And an owner cannot write on their own Yelp buissnes page that some of the negative reviews are fake, even if the owner can prove it. 

If an owner tries to write things like this, Yelp will remove it. 

Can you believe that? Can you? I mean Yelp is already hurting an owner, and the owner can't even defend himself? And you wonder why I call Yelp evil? 

On an owners buisness page there are sections where an owner can write about their business, history, background, etc. There is a section where customers can "meet the owner." And yet, an owner can't write down that there some real positive reviews in the filtered section and that customers should open it? And an owner can't write down that some of the negative reviews on the page are fake? Wow.

It's like Yelp just wants to make it hard for the owner. Why? 

Yelp is not only hurting some owners but they won't even allow some owners to try to make things better? 

Not strange enough? Well think about this: 

Anyone can make a listing about your buisness on Yelp without your permission. Anyone can put up pictures of your business. Anyone can write details about your business. Anyone can write fake reviews about your business. But the owner can't write down that a review is fake. And the owner can't write down that people can open the filtered reviews. 

Is this logical? And again, why does Yelp seem to want to make it hard for owners?

Yelp says that owners are third on list of who they want to impress

I have given lots of information about how evil Yelp is. And it makes you wonder why Yelp is so mean and unfair to owners. It's as if they don't care about owners. But that can't be right. Right? 

Or maybe that is kind of the reason. 

According to Yelp, the owners are third on the list of who Yelp is trying to make happy and impress. I’m not kidding. They have a list. And owners are third. Can you believe this company? 

Now mix that in with the stuff I have written about when it comes to how it seems like sometimes Yelp makes things hard for owners.  

Owners have no choice about their buisness being on Yelp

By now you know that Yelp is evil and can hurt a buisness. So you may be wondering why not take it down? Or why even put it up in the first place? 

Well, it's not your call!

ANYONE can put your business listing on Yelp. They can put up your business information, pictures of your business, your prices, and they don't need your permission. 

In fact, lots of owners are on Yelp without knowing it. 

And lots of owners are not doing well because of Yelp and they don't know that. Isn't that sad? Think about that. 

I wonder how many buisnesses are not doing well because of Yelp, and don't know that their on Yelp and that Yelp is a big reason their buisness is not doing well. That's bad.

And you usually can't take your buisness listing down either. Once a listing is up, it usually stays. 

You know what else is funny? Even if you go out of business, the listing and the fake negative reviews will stay. It will just say BUSINESS CLOSED. 

It's like Yelp just wants to make it as hard as possible for an owner.

Owners can't always control their Yelp buisness information

So we know that an owner doesn't have control about their listing being on Yelp. We know they don't have control over fake reviews. We know they don't have control over all the pictures that are put up. 

But certinaly an owner has control over the buisness information on their own Yelp buisness listing right? 

Not always! 

Sometimes an owner can't change the name, the number, or the address because Yelp “locks” these areas. Can you believe that? It's your buisness and these areas are locked! 

Now Yelp may have logic as to why they get locked. Fine. But what if an owner wants to make a LEGIT change to their own business information? 

Well if it's locked, they can't do it right away. They have to contact Yelp and explain the change. Then wait. 

But it doesn't end there. 

Sometimes Yelp takes a long time to respond. And that is bad. Because if your information is not up to date, that can hurt an owners business. 

Sometimes Yelp doesn't even respond at all. And if you don't keep trying to contact them, they may not respond at all. So an owner has to keep spending time and emailing them over and over and keep waiting. 

And sometimes doesn't respond at all! And your listing just stays there with out of date information. And again, this can hurt an owners business. 

I wonder why Yelp even has an EDIT section for owners, when owners rarely have any power to edit those areas? Why not let owners edit there areas when they want to, since they are the owners and supposedly in charge of their own listing? 

Overall, why does Yelp allow owners to have control of their business listing when they don't let owners have control over it sometimes?  

It's like Yelp wants to make it hard for owners. 

Yelp customer service is one of the worst

So we know Yelp can hurt an owners livelyhood and reputation. And we know Yelp doesn't give owners that much power to make things better. So maybe an owner should try contacting Yelp for help right? For example, an email? 

No. Emailling Yelp is pointless. When you email them, sometimes you get a robot response. And that's sometimes. 

If your lucky enough to find a way to have a human contact you back, they basically tell you there is nothing they can do to help. 

And then you will get the annoying pointless generic responses. 

For example, they will suggest reaching out to the reviewer, or writing a public response. Or they send you links to understand how the filter works, or how to deal with a negative review, or to go over Yelps rules. Or they will suggest how to improve your business listing, and to put up more pictures, or to put a video slideshow, or etc. etc. etc. 

If you keep emailing them, they will eventually stop responding. They ignore you after a while. Which is strange because when you email them on their website, they say "Have more to say? Well send us another email!" 

Think calling might be better than email? I agree. But that's also pointless. 

It's hard to find any phone numbers. And if you do, they usually go to Yelp employees who again tell you there is nothing they can do, and they gave the same generic responses that you get in the email. They sometimes also give the same kind of stupid defenses that Yelp gives. 

You know what else is interesting about being on the phone with the employees?

If you try to explain to these employees that Yelp does so much bad, it won't work. They always love and defend Yelp. It's really amazing. It really is. I mean I understand they work their. I get that. But they defend it as if Yelp is not that bad. And some of them don't seem to understand how mean Yelp is. 

No matter how much you try to convince them about how evil Yelp is, or how they have hurt your livelihood or reputation, it won't work. You will get the same generic responses like the robot emails and the same kind of stupid defenses that Yelp gives. 

In their world Yelp is doing good and it outweighs the bad. 

Yelp employees use extortion and preasure so that owners can buy advertising

So we know that most Yelp employees can't help. And most of them still defend Yelp. 

But there is something else that some Yelp employees do that alot of owners will vouch for. 

They try to sell the option to advertise. And this is where some owners get really fishy with Yelp. 

Many owners claim that Yelp tells them if they buy advertising, things might get better or that Yelp will take down the negative reviews. 

Some owners claim that the employees may not bluntly say things like this but they might imply it. 

And some claim that some employees get nasty if you don't buy the advertising. They will tell you how some employees get mean. Some make threats that more negative reviews will stay or more positive reviews will go. They will tell you that some employees keep calling and harrasing. 

Yelp denies this. But Yelp has been accused of extortion by many owners. 

Some owners even claim that they originally had no problem with Yelp, but when they refused to buy advertising, or when they told Yelp to stop contacting them about advertising, they noticed more of their positive reviews getting filtered and more negative ones staying. 

These complaints about extortion are not small things that rarely happen. The Federal Trade Commission released more than 700 complaints against Yelp. They pointed out everything from Yelp filtering out good reviews to harassing businesses to buy advertising. According to FTC documents, many companies accuse Yelp of creating a situation that entices owners to buy advertising as a way to improve their Yelp rating. Many owners think if they buy advertising, it will make things better. 

In the end, weather it was implied or threatened, many owners think the only way to solve the problem is to buy advertising. They think if they buy advertising things might get better with the reviews. 
Yelp has also been sued by owners, including being the subject of two class action law suits. But most cases either get dismissed or Yelp wins. And Yelp is so mean, that when they get sued and win, they sometimes go back and sue the person that sued them. This happened to a lawyer in San Diego who lost a case against Yelp. And the lawyer thinks Yelp is sue-ing him because he sued them before. 

Yelp denies this, but the lawyer basically made a good point when he asked why a big company like Yelp, who has millions of users, is going after him? Yelp has an answer to this. And I'm not even going to bother writing it. 

What kind of a company is Yelp to sue back? I mean don't they have compassion or understanding about why there being sued? And don't they ever consider that a business can already be hurt financially because of them, and when that buisness loses to Yelp in court, they probably are more hurt finanically, not to mention the time and effort they put? So why then does Yelp have to sue back? What kind of company is this? 

It's one thing if the companies were big name companies. But these can be small business owners.

Yelp points out that active users are more likely to beat the filter

Yelp says they can't give all the secrets about how to beat the filter because people will game the system. 

But they do give some clues: Have a profile with a picture, have lots of friends on your buddy list, have a history of writing reviews, and overall be active on Yelp. 

If this is the kind of stuff that Yelp goes by, it is ridiculous

1 - Just because a person does not have a picture, or hardly has friends, or has a small history of writing reviews, or is not active on Yelp, doesn't mean their review is not reliable. It doesnt mean ther reivew should get filtered. 

2 - Yelp doesn't always filter their reviews out. So why do some of their reviews stay and some get filtered? For example a person can have no picture, no friends on their buddy list, has a small history of writing reviews (for example 5 reviews), and is overall not active on Yelp, and yet some of their reviews stay and some get filtered out. It doesn't make sense. 

3 - If a persons review can get filtered because they are not active on Yelp, then why even allow them to write a review? If Yelp wants them to build up consistency, then why not filter all their reviews until they reach a certain requirement? Sure, people can cheat that way. But they can cheat now. And anyway, Yelp is hurting peoples businesses in the mean time when they go by the requirements they have now. 

4 - Filtering out a review from a person who is not active on Yelp is unfair for the person who wrote it and for the businesss it was intended for. The person who wrote it spent time writing the review. And by removing the review, Yelp is not being fair to the business the review was intended for. 

5 - What about the flip side? Your telling me if a Yelp user has a picture, lots of friends, has a history of writing reviews, and is active on Yelp, than that person’s review has more chance of staying? That doesn't make sense. You can be active on Yelp and still write fake reviews. Yelp claims they don't wnat to give to much clues because people will game the system, but the active users on Yelp can game the system.

6 - Isn't Yelp gaming the system? They give more power to users who are active. So that means users will use Yelp more. And that helps Yelp. So Yelp gets help while hurting innocent peoples livelihood and reputations. That's wrong. Isn't that gaming the system? 

7 - If active users have more power compared to non - active users, then their shouldn't be a filter. That is a bad combination because most people who use Yelp are not as active on it as the most active users. So how is a business supposed to get fair treatment when most people are not active on Yelp? I mean most people don’t use Yelp. And the ones who do don't have the time or energy to be active on Yelp. And some who are active on Yelp are not as active as some others might be. So it can be unfair for an owner when active users have more power on Yelp.

4 - By giving more power to active users, that means an active user can make a deal with a business owner in exchange for a positive review. Or they can make a deal with an owner to write a nasty review for a business owners competition. Is that fair? Isn't that gaming the system? And doesn't that go against the purpose of having a filter?

This is not right. These things are happening. Yelp knows it. And I can’t believe Yelp creates a way for this to happen. And I can't believe Yelp gets away with this.

And it gets worse. I am going to tell you some shocking things about the most active users. They are called ELITE USERS. 

Go to my article on Elite users. 

Yelp gives so much power to Elite users. And they are the worst.

The most active and trusted user on Yelp is an "elite user." 

Not everyone can be an elite user. You have to apply. And if you get accepted, your membership is good for one year. It is a club. And if you get approved, get ready for some fun and power! 

When I say they are the most trusted, I mean their review will NOT get removed. That's how much power Yelp has given them. And elite users know how much power they have and use it to their advantage. 

They ask businesses for discounts, passes, and freebies, in return for a positive review. And it works. Owners are happy to give the elite users what they want because they know they will get a positive review in return. 

Elite users have so much power, that they personally throw events together. The kind where they get together, go to a business, and get their discounts, passes, and freebies in exchange for lot's of positive reviews. They hang out and get compt, in exchange for a positive review! 

Some elite users stay in touch through social media and create groups online where they announce when and where the next event is. And for some owners it's worth it because the owner is not just getting ONE positive review, but a BUNCH of positive reviews. 

How corrupt does it get? Even some business owners start events for elite users. Not all, but some. That's how corrupt it has gotten. And when the owners throw events for elite users, no one can come to the event unless they are an elite user. The elite user has to prove they are a member and they wear a name tag. It is basically an event where owners are pandering to elite users and trying to game the system. And it happens all the time. 

Not every owner does this with elite users. But they can still have problems. 

Some elite users, not all, pressure owners to give them discounts, passes, and freebies, or else they will write a negative review. They try to bribe the owner to get what they want. And it gets worse. Remember how some elite users get together for positive reviews? Well some get together for negative reviews. If they don't get what they want, they bombard the business with negative reviews. 

Sometimes they even use social media and make announcements about leaving negative reviews. They get together sometimes like a mob or a pack. They go in droves on the internet and try to punish the business for not getting what they want.

This is why the elite users have been called the Yelp mafia. They are not just a club, but a gang. They work in packs. And for an owner, getting ONE bad review is bad enough. But getting a BUNCH can be worse.

Yelp knows these things can happen. They claim they are against it. They punish elite users and owners who try to game the system. But Yelp is the one who allow the foundation to be there. They are the one giving so much power to elite users. They celebrate elite users. And Yelp won't take that power away from elite users. 

Elite users are some of the biggest supporters for Yelp for obvious reasons. In fact, part of the reason Yelp has become so big, is because of the elite users. Yelp wants more people to become elite users. 
And you know whats really interesting? Despite all this, Yelp also throws events for elite users. Im not kidding. Yelp does it also. 

They do the same routine: Only elite users can come, and they have to prove they are an elite user, and they wear a name tag. Yelp invites them to post reviews for various establishments, acting as a local ambassador of sorts. And in exchange, these elite users are invited to exclusive parties and go all over the country to varoius events. The elite users are made to feel as though they are social media royalty. And at these Yelp events, the eliter users get freebies and other goodies in exchange for "honest" reviews. They throw events where they celebrate, reward, and elevate elite users.  

I am not kidding! There are articles about this online. 

They have made elite users quite famous. I mean on Yelps website they write how elite users are known for their epic events. Elite users are a club. They have power and hang out together. Kind of like Skull and bones. In Yelps illogical world, this is all ok because elite users can be trusted.
Yelp supposedly is not trying to throw events for the same reasons as others do. But so what? The point is they are stilll doing it. They are still giving the elite users power and creating an atmosphere for unfair things to happen. They are still celebrating their elite users. And they are doing all this when they know there is unfairness going on in non - Yelp events. 

How can they claim they are against unfairness and corruption and yet do all this themselves when they know it's happening? How can they claim elite users are the most trusted users when they know what is happening? They know what is happening and yet . It goes back to this Yelp mentality of ignoring the bad if good is happening.

And anyway, even if the event is done by Yelp, it is safe to assume corruption happens. It's common sense. Does Yelp really think everything is fair and legit? I think it's fair to assume some Yelp person has asked an elite user to write a positive or negative review for some business. It's an assumption, but not everyone does things the honest way. 

If nothing else, when Yelp throws events, the elite users end up loving Yelp more and defending Yelp more. And that can give Yelp more power. And if Yelp has more power, then it can negatively affect business owners. 

And elite users love Yelp. And I don't blame them. It can be fun. And some of them will defend Yelp. 

Let's say an owner gets so frustrated with Yelp the company or elite users, that they go online to one of Yelps chat forums, and just vent. Or maybe they go to one of Yelps chat forums for help. Or maybe they want to let others know what is happening. Well sometimes if an owner does that, a bunch of elite users start putting the owner down, insulting him, and defend their Yelp. And sometimes the elite users go to the owners Yelp listing, and write a fake negative review. And not only can a negative reveiw hurt the owner, but it can also hurt more becaue a customer might think the negative review is more reliable since it was written by an elite user. And even if a customer doesn't know how Yelp works, the review might still seem more trustworthy because an elite user has a picture, a bunch of friends, and has a history of writing lots of reviews.

Aside from writing a negative review to punish the owner, they can also look for other negative reviews the owner might have and press the buttons that say those negative reviews are USEFUL, FUNNY, and COOL. What does that do? Well, by so many people pressing those buttons, the negative review is MORE likely to stay and not get filtered, especially since so many of the people pressing those buttons are elite users. And secondly, when a customer comes in the future to look at the business owners listing, that customer will think that the negative reviews are trustworthy since so many people pressed the buttons that say USEFUL, FUNNY, and COOL.

This is how mean and powerful some elite users are. And this is how broken the filter is. And Yelp does not have any logical defense to any of this. They have there stupid defense of "The filter does more good then bad, so it's worth it." And at the end of the day, it is the business owner who gets hurt. And some owners feel so helpless and frustrated.

Yelp is so mean that owners waste so much time on Yelp

I have explained in detail how evil Yelp is. And I have explained how they hurt owners livelyhood and reputation.

And it affects owners. 

They feel so helpless and frustrated that they start checking their Yelp listing everyday. They check to see if there is a new review or if a review got filtered out. It becomes an obsession for them. They stress and worry about what Yelp has done, or might do, to their buisness. There on the computer everyday.

They try to figure out how to make things better. They go to other websites and try to get information on how to contact Yelp or how to make things better. 

They try to find help or advise. You don't know how many hours a day an owner is on the computer because of Yelp. You don't know how many days, weeks, months, and years, an owners has wasted becasue of Yelp. You don't know how many times an owner is online for hours straining their eyes on the computer. You don't know how much time an owner has wasted because of Yelp. 

Some of you may think it's stupid or funny. But imagine you had your own buisness and Yelp hurt your livelyhood or reputation? Imagine all the hard work you put into your buisness was going down because of Yelp. Imagine if all the things that I have written about on this blog happened to you? How would you feel? 

So before you judge, try to understand. It frustrates and annoys some people. Some owners get desperate. And they try to find ways to get fake positive reviews. 

Go to that article if you want to know more about it. 

Yelp hurts owners so much that some owners try to get fake positive reviews

Some owners feel so frustrated by Yelp and get so desperate that they try to find people who will write them a fake POSITIVE review. And there are people who will do this for a price. And some owners are wiling to pay. 

In fact, their are even companies who offer a service to write fake positive reviews. These companies have nice, professional websites, and will write you one review or bulk reviews. Depending on the details, you can get a positive review for $5, $30, $200, $1,000, or more. That’s how bad it has gotten folks. And the owners pay, hoping that some of the fake POSITIVE reviews will stay. 

And in some owners mind it is not wrong to pay for a positive review because Yelp is being unfair towards them and so the owners feel that they are just trying to make things better and balance it out. The owners are desperate. For some it's their livelihood and reputation. 

The people and companies who offer fake POSITIVE reviews will tell you that they get contacted all the time by owners who feel so helpless, angry, and anxious. The owners are on the phone crying because they don’t know what to do. They worry that their reputation is getting tarnished, or that they might lose customers, or that they might go out of business. They will tell you that the owners don't know who to turn to or what to do. And so there are people and companies who offer help. 

It is against Yelp’s policy, to ask a person or company to write a fake positive review. But why? I mean what else is an owner supposed to do? They feel so strapped against Yelp, so doesn't Yelp understand that? Doesn't Yelp have compassion? 

Some of you might be thinking who cares what Yelp thinks? Just go ahead and hire a person or company to write you a fake positive review. Well, get ready for some weird stuff!

Go to my article on what Yelp does to owners who are desperate for a positive review. 

Yelp comes after owners and doesn't care if their desperate

Yelp can frustrate an owner so much and make them desperate to the point where they try to get a fake positive review. And if that happens, Yelp can come after the owner. 

Let me tell you how evil Yelp is. 

Yelp is trying to find out about owners who pay for fake POSITIVE reviews. They are trying to catch owners who buy reviews. They set up sting operations. They go undercover. They try to get tips from insiders. They look for advertising. They even rely on people who like Yelp. I am not making this up! Yelp admits this. 

I mean, is this a freaking review site or what exactly? It's like they really don't want owners to do well.

How crazy is Yelp? They even go after the COMPANIES who offer fake positive reviews and sue them! Yes, they sue them! And they ask courts to put up temporary blocks on the websites. No joke! This is how strange and evil Yelp is. 

And it gets more strange and evil. 

If Yelp finds out that you paid someone for a fake review, or even if you ASKED someone for a fake review, get ready for punishment! They will put a pop up on your business listing for 90 days that says this:

“Consumer alert. We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but we wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here.” 
Can you believe this? It’s not enough they hurt an owner to the point where the owner becomes desperate to buy or ask for a fake review. No. They then punish you for trying to make things better. Can you believe that? A public shaming? Is this a review website or a dictator? 
And isn’t it strange that they show evidence? Is this a review website or the FBI? 

By the way, notice the alert says, “buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules.” 

So now Yelp cares about being good to honest businesses who play by the rules? Do they realize they were already hurting businesses who played by the rules? Do they realize they are contradicting themselves? And do they realize that by doing this public shaming they're actually hurting an honest business even more?
Is this a review website or a dictator? How does Yelp continue to get away with things like this? And don’t they feel bad that some owners are just doing all this because they are trying to fix what Yelp has done to them? What kind of company is this to not even have compassion or sympathy? 

I know what your thinking. Why buy or ask for fake reviews, when you can ask a happy customer to write you a legit review? Well, I'll tell you why: Because it is against Yelp rules to do that. That’s right! You can’t even ASK your HAPPY CUSTOMER to write you a LEGIT positive review. That's how mean Yelp is. And yes, if Yelp finds out you did this, they might put that public shaming thing on your business listing. Again, this is how mean Yelp is. 
And you know what else is frustrating? Yelp obviously knows what business owners are thinking and doing, and instead of trying to fix things, they just make things worse. Think about that. They could offer help, but instead they’d rather give you a public shaming. It's like they are a dictatorship. I wonder how the CEO of Yelp sleeps at night. If I had a company that hurt peoples livelihood or reputation, I'd change things or resign. Or both.

Yelp does not have a logical answer to any of this. They instead continue to defend that stupid filter of theres. And they give illogical defenses. 

Go to my article on comments made by spokeswoman Kristen Whisenand

Kristen Whisenand defends the filter

Kristen Whisenand is a Yelp spokeswoman. And according to her, the filter will stay.

She said, “I understand the filter is a point of frustration, but if it weren’t in place we’d be overrun by shills and malicious content.” 

What great logic. Where do I begin? 

1 - Doesn't she know the filter is more then just frustration? That it is hurting peoples livelihood and reputation? So how can she classify this as just "frustration." Maybe if Yelps filter hurt her from making money or hurt her reputation, then she'll understand that it's more then just frustration.

2 - Doesn't she know that Yelp is ALREADY being overrun by shills and malicious content? 

3 - How can she claim it could be worse if there was no filter? It can’t be worse! If their was no filter, then at least you would have all the reviews showing. Sure people would game the system if there was no algorithm, but that's happening now anyways. No matter what their is cheating. So at least with no filter ALL the reviews are there. 

4 - If there was no filter you wouldn't have to worry about people who don't know or understand how Yelp works, because everything would be showing. 

It's like Yelp doesn't know, or want to admit, how ridiculous their logic is. They continue this defense of giving a pass to the bad if their is some good.

Yelp public affairs director comments on the filter

Yelp's public affairs director Luther Lowe said, "Yelp has made a business of protecting consumers, to the point that some legitimate content is sacrificed to make sure the shady stuff is suppressed...It's a high cost we accept to avoid the infinitely higher cost of having a review website people can't trust."

This is one frustrating defense. Again Yelp gives a pass to the bad, if their is some good. Where do I begin with this one? 

1 - He said Yelp has made a business of protecting consumers. But it's been proven they are not protecting all consumers and that it's not a reliable website. 

2 - Whatever protection they do give is not worth it because they are hurting owners.

3 - He said Yelp protects consumers to the point that some legitimate content is sacrificed. Yes, and that is wrong! That is a big thing! Again, you don't ignore the bad just because there is good! This is stupid! I mean how would he feel if this was happening to him? Maybe he needs to have a buisness that gets hurt by Yelp in order to understand?

4 - He said this is done to make sure the shady stuff is suppressed. Well, the shady stuff is happening! Read everything I have written about so far. The shady stuff is happening! 

5 - He said it's a high cost we accept. They accept this? So that means they don't care. I mean, how nice they can accept this! Wow! Well that's great for them if there not getting hurt. But what about those who ARE getting hurt by Yelp? I mean just because Yelp says they accept it, doesn't mean it's right. And it's easy for Yelp to say this because they are not the ones getting hurt! Lot's of owners are getting hurt because of Yelp. Lots of owners haven't accepted it like Yelp has! 

6 - He said it's a high cost they accept to avoid the infinitely higher cost of having a review website people can't trust. So how does he know it would be a infinitely higher cost if otherwise? And I can make the argument that it's worst now compared to how it might be if otherwise. And when he talks about having a review website people can't trust, doesn't he understand that Yelp is not a trustworthy website?

This is one frustrating defense. When Yelp gives these type of answers, it's like they either don't know that people's livelihood and reputations are being affected, or they don't think its a big deal, or their lying, or they don't care. I mean, is it more important to have a website like Yelp, even if it means peoples livelihood and reputations are being punished? Is this logic?

These Yelp people don't have logic. It's always the same answers of giving a pass to the bad if there is some good. It's always assuming things could be worse without their stupid filter. They don't have logical defensese. 

Answering Yelp regarding not being able to have a 100 percent perfect system

Another strange Yelp defense. 

Yelp says that you can’t have a 100 percent perfect system. And that’s true. 

But right now it is not even 50 percent good. It is a terrible, broken, illogical system. And it hurts some owners. So if that's how their system is, then take it down, and show all the reviews. Don’t leave a filter if the filter hurts people unfairly. Or at least don't give more power to active/elite users. 

But then Yelp would be like other review websites. And they want to make money so of course they don't want to change. And so they continue to frustrate owners.

Sometimes owners get so frustrated and Yelp might still punish them

You want to know how frustrated owners get and how Yelp still punishes them?

Let's say an owner got so many nasty reviews that were fake, that he just couldn't take it anymore and he decided to respond to a fake review with a big long nasty comment. He just let it all out. He cussed and got annoyed. That is bad but you can understand why right? Well guess what can happen if an owner does that? Yelp can punish him for that. They might remove his response and delete his account. Can you believe that? Think about that. 

The person who wrote the fake review can get away with it, Yelp can frustrate the owner, but the owner can't respond in a nasty way? Is that fair? And doesn't Yelp understand that they frustrated the owner so much, that he just got annoyed? So how can they then punish the owner? How can they remove the owners response and close the owners account? What kind of company is this? 

I mean by deleting the owners account you now give the owner NO power with his Yelp account. The owner's business can get really hurt in the future by having his account deleted. What kind of company is Yelp? 

And by the way, how frustrating is it for an owner to know that Yelp will manually go in and take down an owners response, and remove the owners account, but Yelp won't always manually go in their and remove a fake review? How frustrating is that? 

The frustration doesn't end there. Theirs more folks!

Let’s say the owner did the same thing I just mentioned, but instead of responding publicly, the owner sent a PRIVATE message to the person who wrote the fake review. The owner sent a long angry private message to the person who wrote the fake review. Well guess what can happen?

The person who wrote the fake review can copy and paste what the owner sent and put it up in a NEW negative review. And Yelp might let the review stay. And Yelp might delete the owners account. 

Can you believe this? Think about this. Where do I begin with this? 

1 - How come when the owner responded publicly Yelp took it down, but when the owner sent the same message privately, they allowed it to stay for the public? It's the same thing, except it's copied and pasted by the fake reviewer. How frustrating is that for the owner? 

2 - If Yelp allows it to stay for whatever stupid reason, why do they then delete the owners account? I mean isn't it bad enough that they had a contradiction and let the message become public? So then why add on to it by deleting the account? When you delete the account, the owner has NO power over his Yelp account. So why make things more frustrating for the owner? 

3 - Why does Yelp allow the private message to be made public? Don't they respect the fact that it was intended to be a private message? And what if the owner innocently thought it was ok to cuss and get annoyed because the message was private and not public? Should the owner get punished when the fake reviewer made the private message public? If nothing else, doesn't Yelp feel sympathy or understanding that the owner was just frustrated because of how Yelp has been? So then why allow it to stay public? And why delete the owners account? 

4 - Doesn't Yelp understand that by letting the fake reviewer copy and paste the owners private response, they are making it seem like the fake reviewer is real when he's not? By letting the fake reviewer copy and paste the private message, it makes it seem like the owner is the bad person, and that's not fair because the owner is just frustrated because of Yelp and the fake review. Doesn't Yelp realize this and have compassoin and understanding? And doesn't Yelp realize that by letting the message stay publickly they are making things harder for the owner and causing more frustration? 

5 - You know whats really ironic? According to Yelp rules, you can’t have foul language in reviews. Well that profanity laced response the owner gave has foul language. So when the fake reviewer copied and pasted it for people to read, and Yelp let it stay, it means they are technically allowing foul language. It's like Yelp is saying if you respond PUBLICLY with foul language it will be removed. But if you respond PRIVATELY with foul language, and the other person copies and pastes it, well then its fine. 

But then again, Yelp lets people break their rules all the time. 

For example, according to their rules you can’t write a fake review, a mean review, a review that has foul language, a racist review, or a review about a business based on what others told you. And yet people write reviews like this all the time and not all of them get removed. Even on Yelps own buisness listing for themselves, you can find tons of people who wrote a positive review about Yelp and it really has nothing to do with Yelp. And yet it stays. 

Yelp also claims it is against their rules for a reviewer to put the owner’s personal information in the review if the owner does not advertise their personal information. Well I know a business owner who said that someone wrote his buisness a fake review and put his first and last name in the review, and the review did not get removed even though the owner does not advertise his full name. And so the owner told Yelp to take off the review, since it had his full name in there, but Yelp let the review stay and told him that if he thought it was a potential security issue, he should contact the police.

These are just more examples of why so many owners hate Yelp and call them a bully, a mafia, and evil. Their are other articles online from people who call Yelp out. But I have not found a place that goes into detail like I have.

Owners can still get hurt by Yelp even if customers don't know about Yelp

You may be thinking that most people don't know about Yelp, or care about Yelp, so why worry about it? Your right. But understand that lots of people DO know about Yelp and lots of people trust Yelp. And Yelp is growing. 

Sure, most people don't know or care about Yelp. That's true. However, if people learn that your business has a low average rating, or lots of negative reviews, then word can spread. And this is especially true if your business is for a minority or a small community. So even if people don't know about Yelp, the word can spread about your buisness having a low average or bad reviews. 

And actually, when a person DOESN'T know about Yelp that can be bad. Sometimes if a person knows how Yelp works, then they may not trust it. But if a person DOES NOT know how Yelp works, then they don't know how it works. So all they know is that your buesiness listing has a low average rating or bad reviews. So they naturally might be hesitant about wanting to do business with you.

Sure, you may think that if people don't know about Yelp then how can they find you on Yelp? Easy. Search engine results.

Businesses that are on Yelp sometimes come up in search engine results. For example, let’s say you have a painting business on Yelp that has an average rating of 1 star. Well, if someone goes to a search engine and wants to find a painting business, there is a chance your Yelp listing might show up in the search engine results with that one star average! And that can be bad! Lots of people use search engines. So lots of people are going to see your one star rating, even if they dont' know anything about Yelp. So if they learn that your buisness has a low average or bad reviews then they might not hire you. And the more people that find your low average buisness on a serach engine result, it means word might spread about your business having a 1 star rating or lots of negative reviews. 

The bottom line on Yelp

Yelp was made to remove spam, but it keeps spam. 

Their slogan is “Real people, real reviews” but they take out real people’s reviews and allow fake ones.

Yelp says something like how they know there not perfect, but they must be doing something right since they are getting support from people. That's not logic or a defense. But if that is logic for them, then people should stop supporting Yelp. Stop supporting a company that thinks they should get a pass since they are popular. Stop making them popular. 

If there filter is reliable then does that mean it's reliable that they have an average of two and a half stars on Yelp? 

They are mean, cold, and wrong. 

They hurt peoples livelyhood and reputation, and they continue to let it happen then.

By the way, regarding that two and a half star rating. You know what's interesting? The rating would be much lower, except two things are stopping that from happening: Many of the negative reviews are getting filtered out. And some ELITE USERS are giving Yelp 5 star reviews.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

9 questions for Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman

1 - Do you know that Yelp is hurting peoples livelyhood?

2 - Do you know that Yelp is hurting peoples reputation? 

3 - Do you know there are people who had a business for a very long time, but because of Yelp, they don't have one anymore?

4 - Do you know there are business owners who had a good reputation for a very long time, but because of Yelp, their reputation has been hurt? 

5 - Does any of this bother you? 

6 - If this bothers you, why do you continue to let it happen?

7 - Why do you guys at Yelp always point to the good you do when you get asked about the bad you do? 

8 - You have made lots of money and have gained lots of fame. So how can you write bad negative reviews for small mom and pop shops that are not as rich and famous as you? What kind of person are you? 

9 - How do you sleep at night knowing that you are causing so many owners to be frustrated, angry, annoyed, sad, upset, crying, and confused because of Yelp? Doesn't it bother you that so many owners have wasted so much of their time because of your company then?

Jeremy Stoppelman won't give logical answers to most of these kind of questions because he has none. If he really were to give logical answers, he would have to admit certain things about Yelp. And of course, if he does that, it might hurt the company then.