It wasn’t until I became the Marketing Director at FusionCRS that raised me to question, “Is Yelp harmful or helpful to business owners?” I’m definitely one of those individuals that like to read reviews and get feedback before I try new places to eat, services, or when visiting a different city. But little do you know, websites such as Yelp don’t always have the best interest of those places being reviewed. I should probably put emphasis on SMALL business owners. If you search the internet for Yelp, you’ll come across tons of people sharing their experiences and unfortunately they are almost heartbreaking to read. Yelp has been given the power to tear apart businesses that have been around for years! How? Reviews.
Anyone can leave a review which is bittersweet. But what about when the reviews are false? Or when Yelp decides to “filter” the positive and put the negative on a platform. I soon came to the realization that our situation was much bigger than just reviews. We were first contacted by a Yelp representative wanting to offer us a package that they felt could boost our sales in the area. The conference call went well but the next month was the exact opposite. Since we were more focused on using our free resources at the time, we didn’t jump into pouring money into a fancier profile on Yelp. It’s no coincidence that things went downhill from there. Not only were we harassed by the salesperson, we also noticed an instant change in our reviews!
*Sidenote: In business, you can’t please everyone. So we don’t argue anyone sharing their experience whether good or bad. We provide guarantee satisfaction, so if something isn’t done to our expected standards, we never hesitate to correct ourselves. The issue is with rants (that Yelp claims to not support) including falsified information usually with customers that were served letters for collections. No surprise there. Unfortunately, these are the only reviews that Yelp has considered worthy of displaying. Our problem isn’t with the customers, but with with Yelp and they’re deceitful set-up. In order to read the positive reviews, pull out a magnifying glass and find the almost transparent link at the bottom of each business page that reads “reviews that are not currently recommended.” Don’t scroll too fast because you’ll miss it. I’m sure that’s the whole idea though.
Moving along, we then decided to watch Yelp over a period of time to get a better understanding as to why none of our 4-5 star reviews would make it to those looking for our services. A phone call was made to their headquarters to see what they would have to say, and not only did the woman laugh, but she made it clear that customers could say whatever they want to. The laughter confirmed that Yelp is fully aware of what they’re doing and they are confident that no one can do anything about it.
But can we?
Loyal customers took the time to leave feedback in effort to be heard. Still, nothing. They continued to be filtered. We looked closer into one customer specifically by visiting other pages he reviewed in the area. Every single review was there for the public to view except the one left for our company. The only reasonable explanation is because we didn’t sign up with Yelp. We have since followed up with calls to the advertising department along with the same representative that originally reached out to us. Obviously, no calls have been returned. That won’t stop us from letting others know about their scheme. I’ve read dozen of stories identical to ours from business owners that have lost it all behind these BULLIES. Please watch the video and help us spread the word. As always, we will keep you updated with links and more material if you’re interested in helping small business keeps their names and reputations.