Yelp in Trouble?

Business owners, including Selena Kellinger, owner of Raspberry Lips, are having issues with the review Web site Yelp. Some are questioning the integrity of the site because recently, some businesses have indicated that they’re being asked to pay to downplay negative reviews on the Web site.

From the article:

Yelp’s policy is not to remove negative postings. “Instead they removed some positive postings. They refused to remove the bad posting, and then they called me to solicit a business account,” said Kellinger.

A business account called a “Sponsorship Program” allows businesses to bring a favorite review to the top, provide a photo slideshow, and a message from the business owner.

Kellinger said Yelp told her they would move the negative posting to the bottom of her page. Kellinger refused to pay. “I felt like that was really unfair, and that they were holding me hostage,” said Kellinger.

I’m not really that much of a user of the Web site but have used it a few times to learn more about a specific restaurant before I go. But, if allegations prove to be true, this could be a blow to their Web site traffic for sure! I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Thoughts?

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28 Comments on “Yelp in Trouble?”


  1. The official Yelp policy is that businesses who have purchased a Business Owner Account are allowed to remove one review of their choice for every 6 consecutive months of Business Owner Account membership.

  2. Linda M Says:

    Pay me or lose me to Insiderpages.com!

    I am an Elite Yelper and am furious at the payment of new Yelpers of $15 / hour as they are hired from the Craigslist ads.

    When I applied to Yelp HR for this job , I was told that they need new Yelpers to increase the user numbers , but they appreciate my help in the past.
    This was a lie because i know of 3 other Elites that have been hired and even paid $5 / review retro for 3 months !

    Linda “Jiminy Cricket”

  3. Nish Says:

    We Yelpers need to stick together and believe in our dream ! Don’t give up and cave in to the business owners ! The consumers have a right to voice their opinions and Yelp is.the forum to do it where you will not n censored !

  4. Nish Says:

    We Yelpers need to stick together and believe in our dream ! Don’t give up and cave in to the business owners ! The consumers have a right to voice their opinions and Yelp is.the forum to do it where you will not be censored !

  5. George Says:

    In all fairness the business owners also need a voice. As Yelp has grown to become such a dominant force, business owners are increasingly being blackmailed by the consumer. It appears that we need a forum where both the consumer and business owner can represent their POV, that’s our mission with Jippidy.com

  6. Stephanie Ichinose Says:

    I did not get fired from Yahoo as some people are suggesting . I was part of a wave of layoffs.

  7. Bill K Says:

    Here is a Yelp piece on KPIX 5 CBS from August 2008:

    http://cbs5.com/wrapper_consumer/seenon/Yelp.Internet.ratings.2.787400.html

    Can also be seen on the KPIX Video Library

    1) Yelp needs a better spokeperson that Stephanie Ichinose. On the CBS airing , she looked terrified and appeared to be reading Que Cards. Maybe this is her first job ?

    2) The majority of people who frequent Yelp and write the majority of the reviews appear to be unemployed , uneducated
    and people who wander malls with too much time on their hands

    3) Yelp has strayed far away from being a review site.
    Yelp is now a low life grafitti site , or the new “smokers corner” in high school.
    It is a hang out for people to waste time.
    Yelp encourages reviewers to trash people , places and things

    4) The value of Yelp as a review site has evaporated.

    Also, here is what I was told you get for $350/month from Charles of Yelp for the Business Owners Account:
    1) The ability to remove one bad review every 6 months
    2) The ability to change the viewing order the reviews
    3) The ability to cross market with similar businesses

    All of this will be soon be a non issue.
    If you follow the funding trail , you’ll see that Bessemer Venture Partners
    has been actively shopping Yelp to buyers with no luck.
    The word is that NO ONE believes the number of users that Yelp execs say they attract and their
    IT systems are inadequate. Stepanie Ichinose was recently caught in a lie at a Funding Press Conference
    that might be recoverable. She claimed to potential Yelp suitors that they have 10 million viewers per month.
    After intense questioning , she backtracked and admitted that 7 million of those viewers were repeat visitors, actually
    leaving them with a paltry 3 million / month and the majority of those in the SF Bay Area .

    4 hours ago Jack “.” W. says:

    wtf thats some fuct up shit yo fuck rasberry lips imma give them a 1 star

    I looked up ROTD and it means :

    ROTD Rage of the Dragons (game)
    ROTD Requiem of the Dead (game)
    ROTD Return of the Dragons (gaming, Warcraft III Campaign)
    ROTD Review of the Day

  8. Mataio Says:

    I liked YELP at first. Yelp has become a propaganda blogger’s dream. With the network of “friends” yelp posts more bogus “never been there but my friend told me to rate it this way” reviews than actual customer experiences. They complain about stuff that was resolved months before, talk about employee’s that have long been replaced and even state prices and menu offerings that were changed long before their proposed reviews. It is a terrible shame that this “wanna be website” continues to bully the small business owner that was lucky enough to pull in 2% profit before the massive rise in “cost of goods”Alas, the profiles on yelp let you appreciate the fact that I am only required to review where “tatchick84″ was with her “boy” once a day.

  9. Mataio Says:

    HMMM. Yelp down for maintenance?


  10. It’s time for all you consumers to stand up up for your right to write whatever you want about anything you want! Yelp is the forum where you can do that ! We are not just a review site , but also a chat room and a great place to meet other singles.
    Email me for more information about our Consumer Rights Rally Day.
    Email me for a free marketing materials bag.
    Nish@yelp.com

  11. Paul M. Says:

    Yelp has absolutely become a “profanity dump” with no attempt whatsoever to reign in offensive behavior toward businesses and other users on the site. I’m finished with Yelp because I can no longer stomach reading profane restaurant reviews. There also seems to be rampant “ganging up” by teams against businesses in their reviews. I have noticed the same reviews (almost verbatim, negative) being posted by husband and wife teams against restaurants. It won’t be long before they are blocked at most every public access point, including coffee shops, hotels, airports, business working environments and government institutions due to the plethora of profanity on the site.

  12. Alberto D Says:

    Here is a site with pictures from a recent Yelp Elite party . This is an event where Yelp wastes $100,000 of their investors money by rewarding their “Elite” reviewers.
    Elite reviewers are basically unemployed and uneducated jobless people who have time enough to write the 500 reviews it takes to qualify for this worthless title.
    Check out the last picture in the lower right…yes , these are the “Elite” !

  13. Alberto D Says:

    Here is a site with pictures from a recent Yelp Elite party . This is an event where Yelp wastes $100,000 of their investors money by rewarding their “Elite” reviewers.
    Elite reviewers are basically unemployed and uneducated jobless people who have time enough to write the 500 reviews it takes to qualify for this worthless title.
    Check out the last picture in the lower right…yes , these are the “Elite” !

    http://valleywag.com/photogallery/yelpeliteatmighty/

  14. Jim Houston Says:

    Jeremy Stoppleman needs to stop running his mouth and get his behind back into rehab for cocaine addiction…..yes , i said BACK into rehab.
    As an ex Yelp employee,I left because the fraud , waste and substance abuse was too much for my 35 year old maturity level to ignore. I genuinely feel for the investors….they are the biggest losers in this whole epic of wasted money

  15. Yesika Says:

    Another controversial article concerning Yelp questionable practices is available here: http://trademarkabuse.blogsome.com/

  16. ben Says:

    yelp censored all of my reviews! I’ll never come back F.U.!

  17. BooOnYelp Says:

    they would take my revies down if i linked my blog…i gave them content didn’t I?

    going to give urbanspoon some business after I check this out…might as well get paid for what I do:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090225162712AAoCqYF

  18. SueYelp Says:

    As a small business owner AND former Yelper, I assure you YELP is doing some very unethical things. Previous to my company being “Yelped” I was happy to offer reviews. My company, having all 5 star reviews, one three star and even that the comments were good was happy. Then a bad review, nothing unexpected, after 15 years you can’t please everyone. But this review stood out as it was a false review. Stated events that did not happen, was beyond a bad review, the reviewer appeard to be perhaps drinking when she wrote it. So I wrote YELP to let them know while I could handle the 2 star review, the facts stated were untrue and inflamatory. I got nothing. So then, time passes, more reviews, all good come in yet this ONE and only bad review remains at the top of my review page? Why? I get a call from their sales staff and basically they tell me that the “algarythem” dictates what is at the top but that if I paid $3600.00 or $300.00 a month I could get the bad review lowered or removed all together!

    I had my attorney write a letter and the review disappeard. Hum…

    How ANYONE can really support YELP and think that the consumer needs them is in complete denial. If the reviews are not posted chronically then the page is not reflective of the current status of that business.

    They manipulate the reviews, pressure small businesses mafia style to pay up and maybe all the bad reviews would disappear…
    Oh, and when I asked my sales rep to put the offer in writing, no can do. They only “deal” over the phone. How convenient is that, no paper trail.

  19. Muttnutz Says:

    I hate to disappoint the “yelpers” but the blinders have to come off. This comment:

    “Don’t give up and cave in to the business owners ! The consumers have a right to voice their opinions and Yelp is.the forum to do it where you will not n censored!”

    Since when are small business owners your enemy. We are the foundation of your community, we employ your sons and daughters, your retired grandfather, and you think that just because Yelp is being critized is some master plan to censor you? Hate to break it to you but you ARE being sensored. As a small business person I want the reviews, I have all good reviews and one poor review but that said, they DO sensor your reviews. I started out with 12 5 star reviews, then got on bad (bogus) review, “Ok” I can deal with that but when I refused to pay to be a sponsor, suddenly that BAD review stays at the top of the page, and good reviews have now dwindled down to 9 reviews. Then a call to be a sponsor from Yelp, I decline, feeling like a hostage I again decline. My reviews dwindle down to 8 5 star reviews, the outdated one bad review still at the top.

    Finally I write Yelp a letter, mail it, sprinkled it with some leagleize and a week later, the bad review is removed, as it should have been because it violated all their policies which them seem to ignore. But my stars, you perhaps even your review my friend has been removed. Good reviews are not awlays posted and obviouly at times even removed. So in a way, you, the Yelper are censored and I the business person are being cheated also. And by the way, Yelp IS a business too so if you to stick to us, the small businesses please include Yelp.

  20. mainlandheathen Says:

    Yelp has to be the biggest trash site on the web. It is usually a very cliquish site withing the city you Yelp in. I placed hundred of reviews and pictures on Yelp and kept getting repeatly banned for what seemed like no reason. All Yelp support would tell me was due to multiple accounts. Which I only had one account going at a time and would start up a new Yelp account when they deleted the previous one. Edgar from Yelp in email told me I am banned from Yelp for life. They now have my ISP blocked out. Yelp is RETARDED and the RAG of the internet!


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