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Why Yelp should Seriously Eat S*^&% and Die

Discussion in 'Industry Gripes' started by Daniel J. Mondello, Feb 4, 2014.

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  1. Daniel J. Mondello

    Daniel J. Mondello
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    I'll start off by getting this out of the way, "I hate Yelp." There I said it. I hate their business model. I hate their unethical treatment of businesses (mine included). I hate their unscrupulous businesses practices. I hate the owners. I hate the users. I mean hell, I even hate the negative connotation of the word "Yelp".

    When I hear the word of sound "Yelp!" rarely do I associate it with something positive. Yelp is the painful sound dogs make when you mistakenly step on their tail. It is not the sound of a reasonable customer. Nor is it the sound of a reasonable business model.

    So, Dan, what is your major gripe with Yelp?

    Here it is in a nutshell. About two years ago the dealer caught wind that there was a raising number of negative reviews building up on some of store's yelp pages. Mind you these are not pages we set up but rather pages set up on our behalf by either one of our few unsatisfied customers, former employees, or perhaps Yelp. The dealer was sold by a marketing adviser we used to employee to advertise with Yelp and that our reviews would take a more positive climb. Spoiler Alert: That Was Not What Happened.


    Instead we spent a bunch of money per store, saw no increase in leads or phone calls generated through Yelp (which they promised us) and our negative reviews continued to grow. Our marketing adviser called them out on this and Yelp's response "Spend More, it'll get better."

    Again... Not The Case. Who didn't see that one coming?

    Now it's 2014 and we are once again having issues with Yelp. Remember when I told you that we were not the one's who originally built our Yelp pages? Keep that in mind for this next part. We have been asked by the dealer to streamline our phone numbers and have all outside lead sources send calls to an Auto Attendant setup at each location. We've streamlined it on Google Local, NO PROB. Our Dealer.com sites, BREEZE. Even our Cobalt and Ford Direct sites it was no biggie.... YELP, as expected is giving us an issue.

    And Now the Moment You've all been waiting for Rising Action: ----->

    Yelp won't let a multi-roof top organization claim all of their business listings even if the sole purpose is just to make sure the contact info is accurate. Yelp also won't let you delete the listing and start with a fresh one that has the correct contact info for the business. No, No... Instead Yelp would like us to once again "Partner" with them. You know, pay them a monthly fee of just over $1,000 per store to correct the information and on top of that they'll even let us advertise!!!

    Climax: Yelp, you are the worst, most backwards, most asinine companies I've ever come across (and believe me the list of stupid vendors and companies in this business is staggering). Your business model is essentially highway robbery and completely unethical. Your business holds other businesses hostage with no way out other than to pay you. As if your methodology for displaying reviews wasn't suspect enough, this is the real kicker you say "PAY US or F.O.?" are you serious?

    Conclusion:I have sent a letter to the BBB and Martha Coakley (http://www.mass.gov/ago/about-the-attorney-generals-office/about-attorney-general-martha-coakley/) complaining about these very business-unfriendly, possibly illegal activities of this company Yelp.

    In the meantime if anyone has any advice on how to either a.) Further combat Yelp or b.) Claim our Yelp business listings short of paying an Arm and or a leg it would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the long winded rant. I just really, really hate Yelp. Bastards.
     
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  3. ddavis

    ddavis
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    You send a letter to the BBB? Have you seen this?
     
  4. dvMail

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    Wait, they wanted you to pay to place the correct info on the yelp landing page for your own business? What?!

    Beyond that, I guess my question to you is. Why are you getting so many complaints? Yelp isn't inventing the complaints.
     
  5. Daniel J. Mondello

    Daniel J. Mondello
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    We aren't getting bad reviews any more. The problem is... the SIRI function on the iPhone pulls the stores contact info from Yelp. A lot of users in our area use SIRI to contact our stores. That is the problem. I don't care about Yelp. I'm trying to help our customers get their phones answered by us.

    Also I don't agree with you. Yelp might not be necessarily inventing the negative reviews but they certainly have an interesting way of determining which reviews float to the top. Interesting indeed.

    This is off-point. The point is that Yelp holds businesses hostage.
     
  6. Advertisguy

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    Doug, This 20/20 news story is from Nov 2010 and only happened at the LA BBB. That was 1 out of 116 BBB offices around the nation. The BBB has taken some corrective measures including firing the CEO, and all of the LA BBB Staff. They have replaced the entire BBB in LA.. This does not represent how other BBB's around the nation conduct business. The BBB is just like any employer in America and can hire bad employees who don't follow policy! So please don't paint the BBB with this wide brush! This story was extremely sensationalized to begin with. The BBB does not give special treatment to celebs like Wolfgang Puck, he can respond to his complaints just like anyone else. I encourage you to step foot in a BBB office and learn more about their organization.. They do a bunch of great work protecting and educating the public on scams. Many of the BBB's around the nation work hand and hand with the Gov. to prevent scams.
     
  7. NWH505

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    I'm thankful that no one in our area uses Yelp! I was surprised to learn that people still use Yelp! It was cool when I was in college.....10 years ago (2004). I think the average consumer still pays attention to timeline's of reviews. For example the Nissan franchise we took over 2 years ago had (and still has) bad reviews for the current brands they own. We chose not to "adopt" their Yelp!/reviews/DealerRater/etc.
     
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  8. Jeff Kershner

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    Some more on the subject around the BBB - The Better Business Bureau is Coming After Your Dealership from a post in 2011.

    BBB Update- The national Council of Better Business Bureaus shut revoked the LA BBB charter, created an award winning virtual BBB, then reassigned the territories to 3 BBB's last month. Here is a link to the 2013 Summit Award;

    ASAE Names 2013

    The 20/20 report and the bbbroundup website mentioned below focused on the LA chapter, 1 of a 120 across the US and Canada. The BBB site is getting stronger and getting another revamp, instances of service are up, and consumers and business rightfully trust their system of complaints and compliments which require written proof that business was transacted between the parties rather than anonymous posting on many popular sites today. Check it out!

    Back to YELP
     
  9. Jeff Kershner

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    Daniel,

    Here's an exert taken from an article in the December issue of FixedOps Magazine by Brad Simmons. Brad doesn't offer any answers to your question Dan but the article is relevant to the subject around just how will we be possibly forced to play nice with Yelp in the near future.


    Yelp recently announced that 100 million monthly unique visitors visited its site in January 2013. To put this in perspective, this is about 10 times the monthly traffic of AutoTrader.com



    The Future: Yelp is a long-Term cost of doing Business, not a differentiator

    For the broader auto repair industry, there are several lessons from Silicon Valley’s Yelp experience:

    1) Yelp will soon be the first website your customers look to before deciding which repair shop to visit.

    2) Shops must use all available legal means to boost their Yelp reviews.

    3) 4.0-star reviews are not good enough! Your competitors will work with ven- dors and use other aggressive tactics to boost their Yelp reviews, which will force you to do the same. As we have seen in San Francisco, this is an arms race. Ser- vice centers who ignore Yelp and main- tain a seemingly respectable 3.5- or 4.0- star rating will lose business.

    4) Before Yelp has saturated your mar- ket, there will be a short period where you can gain a decisive competitive ad- vantage by “artificially” boosting your Yelp reviews.

    5) After the market stabilizes and most shops have 4.5 or 5.0 star ratings, Yelp will no longer be a differentiating factor and will instead be a cost of doing busi- ness. When every Service facility has 5.0 star ratings and 50 reviews, then the market resets and other, more enduring differentiating factors become critical.


    Get the full PDF download here --> http://fixedopsmag.com/magazine/novdec2013/document.pdf

    A few more conversations around Yelp can be found here - Two Thumbs Down to Yelp Ads: A Response to Dylan Swift at DSES

    and here - http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f43/behind-yelp-fake-reviews-3679.html

    and here - http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f21/does-yelp-manipulate-reviews-their-own-profit-3441.html

    and here - http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f43/did-apple-bring-yelp-back-dead-3655.html

    I cringed when Apple announced their integration of Yelp into iOS6. And here you are, as an example for why.
     
  10. dvMail

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    Interesting point about the SIRI function on the iphone. That would certainly be a headache on its own.

    Sorry I am being dense here but Yelp won't change your contact info unless you pay them? Or has someone else "claimed" your business on Yelp and is currently admin-ing the account? That seems insane to me.
     
  11. Daniel J. Mondello

    Daniel J. Mondello
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    I just want to have my SIRI'd store phone numbers ring a line that is connected to a phone. Is that too much to ask? Yelp may be a great value add and its hard to discount the affect reviews have on buying behavior, I just don't like being held hostage by a company that dysfunctions like Yelp.

    Jeff- As for Yelp's reported 100 million Monthly uniques, how many of them were conducting searches relevant to our business "Auto sales, auto service, parts, etc?" vs. how many were just pissy Y-gens that didn't like the way the Barista at their local Starbucks looked at them and decided to outlet their dissatisfaction on Yelp?

    I just want my customers to be able to reach us when they use SIRI. Plain. Simple. I don't want to have a Yelp profile. We don't need it. We didn't build it. For me, Yelp is not a value-add it is a mindless distraction turned parasite. The reviews are meaningless to most customers. We have Google + local listings where most customers seem to be conducting review research + Dealer Rater. We look great on those two sites because most of our customers don't have the time or need to be frequent Yelpers which is a necessity in order for their opinions to stick. Don't believe me? Well build a Yelp account from scratch and start reviewing. $100 buck says after 3 days of discontinued use your reviews disappear.

    </rant>

    Thanks for the Fixed Ops PDF Jeff this will be helpful.

    -D
     
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