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Yelp - The Biggest Fraud Being Committed to Consumers

Yelp - The Biggest Fraud Being Committed to Consumers

Today, the online reputation of businesses is essential to the success or failure of one. Online reviews are critical to business’ images and depending on the review source, it may not be easily edited or removed – forever. Business owners should carefully evaluate all online review sites that potentially host reviews. You can find more types of these sites later in the article. The most popular consumer review site today is Yelp.com.

I host and help run several business websites that use Yelp for reviews. This article will discuss the process of claiming a Yelp business page and the criticism-surrounding Yelp as a review business.

In order to gain access to Yelp business tools, you must verify the business you’re representing by  “claiming” or “unlocking” the Yelp business page.

Claiming a business usually means it hasn’t been managed by someone on Yelp before. Claiming will involve verification, such as an automated phone call to the business number on file in the Yelp listing or an email verification matching the domain name of the business website. Verification is instantaneous (Yelp won’t make this hard!).

Unlocking a business means the business has already been claimed. In order to manage the Yelp business page, it must be “unlocked”. There’s several ways Yelp can help do this for you, but generally you must provide tax documents or proof of address ownership. This process can be lengthy since you’re actually dealing with a Yelp human (I think).





The Yelp for Business Owners page allows you to manage reviews, create sponsored ads, manage photos, menus, respond to personal messages, edit business listing information, and more. You can see statistics such as visitors and their demographics being led your website link (if you have one added).

Why Yelp is a Scam


So this is great - as it seems – a simple storefront users can leave reviews of their experiences with your business and have them all easily be managed by a 3rd party in which you can login into and respond on behalf of. Right? Let’s break it down.

Why? Did you have the option of submitting your business to Yelp? Yes, you did. However, Yelp is ALWAYS finding out about new businesses and submitting them manually into their website without anyone’s consent.

So, I want to remove my business from Yelp whether I submitted it or I didn’t. Here’s what Yelp says:


Yelp Scams Consumers

It’s not an answer and it’s not a choice. Your business will stay with Yelp.

Ok, so I want to/hopefully get great reviews so I have that 5-star average in Google’s search, since my Yelp page is now showing right under my website in Google search (or as a top search result in some cases).

The bottom line is anyone can review your business, whether you’ve provided him or her services or not. Fact - I can review a business as “Joe Blow”, give a a one-star review, discuss why I was displeased, and post. Only reason why I posted this review because I know the owner of the business and I don’t like him, so screw him. My review get’s published immediately (because I’m already an active and reputable Yelper) and I saw the business overall star ratings drop a half star! Yes!

As the owner of the Yelp business page, I get notified via email of the review. I don’t recall the services I provided this person; however I’m going to do 2 things off the bat in effort to get them to change their review – make a public comment apologizing and private messaging the user to understand better when/where/what/why. After I did this and waited a week, they never reply back and the review still stands on my page.

Now, I’m going to submit the review as false information. And as soon as I flag the review as such I get stuck with this message from Yelp:

The Yelp Scheme


Wow. So the review must stand per Yelp. Not factual, not honest, bad business. Period. A WASTE of my time and effort.

So I’m a small business that does a few projects each month. Maybe once in a few months someone will write me a review. For now, this 1-star review will saturate my business’ rating per Yelp in online searches, such as a Google. Searching my business online, particularly in the worlds most used search engine Google will reveal my business is 1 star per Yelp. This is the 2nd search result displayed by Google. This is NOT accurate!


Reviews that are not currently recommended

At the bottom of every Yelp business page are reviews that are hidden and filtered from the overall star rating. These reviews Yelp considers manipulated in some way thus making them inaccurate. So why keep them filtered for Yelper’s to voluntarily read about and learn fake information regarding or why not remove them? I don’t know. 

I had 2 5-star reviews filtered for 4 months. The reviewer’s icons showed that they purchased my business “yelp deal” and checked into my establishment! But these reviews must be fake right!?


How Yelp makes its money?


Yelp Ads

A scheming way Yelp makes it’s money is through it’s ad’s program. Usually, as soon as you signup your business on Yelp you’ll be contacted by a troll to “advertise” with Yelp. They will offer you up to $1000 in free advertising.

Yelp Misrepresenting Businesses Online

So you start an ad campaign, which is very simple and unwelcoming. Within the ad you are not even able to set a picture of your business. You review your “ad” performance and you’re getting impressions and clicks. How the hell do you know that? Just by Yelp’s performance report? There’s no way to validate the Yelp ads scheme. Yelp is eating your money.

Google AdSense / Advertisement Space

I’m pretty sure Yelp is excited when it comes to their Google AdSense contract. They put the maximum 3 ads on every single page of Yelp. If your business doesn’t have a website but has Yelp page, Yelp is the first hit in Google search results (likely the result of Yelp’s contract with Google). Yelp is making money off your business by customers going to your Yelp page and generating ad impressions and clicks. You’ll never know how much they’re making either. Did you consent to them putting advertisements next to the product you feature?

From the article below, Yelp is the 35th most visited website in the US. That’s a lot of ad impressions/clicks. Good job US businesses!

Yelp Ads - Scam


Simple Overhead

I don’t know specifics on Yelp, but they don’t need/have an office. They have petty sales people (probably hourly wagers) that email/call you to follow up on how they can enhance your online presence with Yelp Advertising. They don’t have a mailing address. There is one number to reach them at and 9 times out of 10 you can’t get through or get an automated response. Yelp lives in some data centers probably totaling hardware value under 50k.

Google ranking/page ranking/backlinks 

Yelp’s most important strategy is its SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I’m not sure how it aligns specifically, but Yelp must have some policy with Google that allows them to always be first or second in search terms for businesses.

Review websites open the door for unlimited backlinks too. A backlink is a link to another website from another website. So, all the Yelp reviews accumulating create more search terms for your business on Yelp’s page. Those search terms get indexed with Google. Eventually, your website might get equally or more traffic to your Yelp page – that’s bad business.

Yelp Support Contact Story 

When I first began managing Yelp business pages, I carefully evaluated every review I was written.  I had over 300 reviews left for one of my businesses and I read them all. 21 reviews were advertising another business, falsely accusing, using bad language/swearing, reviews that did not mention any part of the business, or review naming someone. All of these types of reviews “violate” Yelp’s guidelines. 

I submitted 21 Yelp support requests. It took me about 3 hours to submit them and write my claim. Yelp responded within 1 day and refused to remove any of the reviews. I contacted my “Yelp account representative” on this and their response was:

“Thank you for your email. 

Please note that, because we're on the advertising side, we don't have manual control over any reviews. In this case, there are two possible solutions I'd recommend.

First, you can always create a public comment to the review you see on your listing. In this situation, it's a good idea to make a public message that lets your potential customers understand that you're not associated with those reviewers.

Second, you can submit that review to our user-support team, who can see if it violates our terms of use and potentially remove it. I'll leave the steps to contact them below:” 

Automated response garbage. I would love to share the support request’s number and name of representative.

In summary, it’s important to recognize Yelp’s ultimate goal in representing your business. Yelp is making money off your business and you can’t tell them to stop. You don’t need Yelp to manage your own business reviews. Yelp will continue to saturate the Internet with its offerings; using it’s reviews keywords that Google will index, virtually making the Yelp reviews indestructible from the Internet. This article is for awareness and to rise up against a money scam greedy machine, Yelp.com


* Please use the comment form below to let us know if you experience issues, have questions, or can provide solution. We want and encourage feedback. *



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Comments

Adnan on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 17:33

I totally agree with the statement I have some of the reviews for my business by yelp they are not posting all the negatives onesie posted on my page

I totally agree with the statement I have some of the reviews for my business by yelp they are not posting all the negatives onesie posted on my page
Dave on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 12:44

Here is a video of how Yelp works. Please share it.
https://youtu.be/fYpmJHlXuVc

Here is a video of how Yelp works. Please share it. https://youtu.be/fYpmJHlXuVc
Eddie123 on Saturday, 18 June 2016 15:37

No one should give Yelp any money. This is the best way to get rid of Yelp.

No one should give Yelp any money. This is the best way to get rid of Yelp.
Ania on Sunday, 08 January 2017 14:09

Hi There, I realize that this is an old article, however, I was wondering if you are still involved with Yelp and would you be able to offer some advice on how to terminate a marketing contract with Yelp. I appreciate your input.
AMS

Hi There, I realize that this is an old article, however, I was wondering if you are still involved with Yelp and would you be able to offer some advice on how to terminate a marketing contract with Yelp. I appreciate your input. AMS
Eva on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 11:29

I opened an etsy page yesterday and today received a call from Yelp saying to be available to sign documents tomorrow between 12 - 5 or call 888 732 5818 to place a stop order. I have never contacted or used Yelp for any reason so I don't know if this is a scam. Can anyone help? Please.

I opened an etsy page yesterday and today received a call from Yelp saying to be available to sign documents tomorrow between 12 - 5 or call 888 732 5818 to place a stop order. I have never contacted or used Yelp for any reason so I don't know if this is a scam. Can anyone help? Please.
P C on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 20:24

Yelp is DEFINITELY a SCAM!!! Yelp tries to extort money from business owners by getting them to pay for ads in order to reveal their true ratings which are much higher than Yelp shows the public. We REFUSE to pay Yelp!!! Their pockets are so deep that they claim to be untouchable, even by the Supreme Court. We should start a petition across America to stop Yelp's extortion!!!

Yelp is DEFINITELY a SCAM!!! Yelp tries to extort money from business owners by getting them to pay for ads in order to reveal their true ratings which are much higher than Yelp shows the public. We REFUSE to pay Yelp!!! Their pockets are so deep that they claim to be untouchable, even by the Supreme Court. We should start a petition across America to stop Yelp's extortion!!!
Ariana on Monday, 06 March 2017 12:23

I wish someone would have warned me about Yelp. I did paid advertising with them to no avail, and after canceling realize how much of a horrible company they are. I was treated horribly, after canceling, hung up on.

They just take your money. Not to mention that all
Positive reviews are erased and hardly ever shown to the public. Their "algorithms" are flawed. Do not trust the reviews.

I wish someone would have warned me about Yelp. I did paid advertising with them to no avail, and after canceling realize how much of a horrible company they are. I was treated horribly, after canceling, hung up on. They just take your money. Not to mention that all Positive reviews are erased and hardly ever shown to the public. Their "algorithms" are flawed. Do not trust the reviews.
Russell Housen on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:07

I'm a victim as everyone else here. The best thing to do is NOT PAY them anything and educate your customers.

I'm a victim as everyone else here. The best thing to do is NOT PAY them anything and educate your customers.
Jerome on Monday, 10 April 2017 19:20

I signed up for a free Yelp account with credits used up my credits .....they continue to charge me until i noticed it it on my bill .. this tactic is deplorable and there customer support is unsatisfactory and could care less . All the account managers care about is money.... I immediately cancelled my account with them.... and I'm going to dispute the bill for $300 disputed charges

I signed up for a free Yelp account with credits used up my credits .....they continue to charge me until i noticed it it on my bill .. this tactic is deplorable and there customer support is unsatisfactory and could care less . All the account managers care about is money.... I immediately cancelled my account with them.... and I'm going to dispute the bill for $300 disputed charges
jacob Hassidim on Friday, 14 April 2017 17:40

Yelp is DEFINITELY a SCAM!!!
Happened the same with me. They lure me w/the $100 Free Ad. than they charged me 4-times $250-$300. No email Notifications, No Billing Statements like ever Legitimate operating business.
Same like everybody else, I will dispute it w/my CC issuer.
I wish a lawyer would create a Class action against Yelp Scams. Is anybody there???

Yelp is DEFINITELY a SCAM!!! Happened the same with me. They lure me w/the $100 Free Ad. than they charged me 4-times $250-$300. No email Notifications, No Billing Statements like ever Legitimate operating business. Same like everybody else, I will dispute it w/my CC issuer. I wish a lawyer would create a Class action against Yelp Scams. Is anybody there???
jacob Hassidim on Friday, 14 April 2017 17:48

Just found this site filing Class Action suit: yelplawsuit.com/
Please become the Solution and participate!

Just found this site filing Class Action suit: yelplawsuit.com/ Please become the Solution and participate!
JIM JOHNSON on Monday, 15 May 2017 06:49

TAKE YELP DOWN. PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS

TAKE YELP DOWN. PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS
Michael on Thursday, 01 June 2017 13:06

It's time for a class action lawsuit against yelp! Here's how their scam works. They have you set an ad budget! Then tell you the click rate varies as a market rate! Then at the end of the month, your charge is your ad budget regardless of clicks because the divide the clicks into your add budget to determine the click rate

It's time for a class action lawsuit against yelp! Here's how their scam works. They have you set an ad budget! Then tell you the click rate varies as a market rate! Then at the end of the month, your charge is your ad budget regardless of clicks because the divide the clicks into your add budget to determine the click rate
JOey Canary on Friday, 14 July 2017 03:12

Total SCAM- Im glad- I never fell into the scum- they listed my business from when i was on GROUPON (Which is an awesome company).
I didn't need any extra marketing! LOL, their trolls contacted me multiple times to try to sell me on advertising- I told them I was part of an association that runs my marketing budget and Yelp is not an approved venue... LOL they kept calling me >>> LOL it was comical I got so much marketing exposure from GROUPON I didn't care ...

So Yelp then listed my website and phone number - I was furious ( I told them I didnt want to be on their site!)

So two can play at that game- I posted a Link on my site for folks who come there from Yelp. the link took them to a page that talks about the scam YELP is & how they are robbing small businesses-

I did the same thing with my phone number having an extension just for yelp that slams yelp again lol.

I then took my game to the next level! I had my tech guys program the phone tree with the yelp marketing folks phone numbers into caller ID Redirect ( the phone tree would redirect only if the phone number matched ! brilliant...... this way only yelp was blocked LOL it had their calls sent to India telemarketing company :> )

then my tech guy said if we need to we can do a URL block! this way any links from YELP would be redirected to some other website- So I redirected them to a web page that slammed YELP! LOL

they stopped calling me - I haven't heard from them in 1yr....

Total SCAM- Im glad- I never fell into the scum- they listed my business from when i was on GROUPON (Which is an awesome company). I didn't need any extra marketing! LOL, their trolls contacted me multiple times to try to sell me on advertising- I told them I was part of an association that runs my marketing budget and Yelp is not an approved venue... LOL they kept calling me >>> LOL it was comical I got so much marketing exposure from GROUPON I didn't care ... So Yelp then listed my website and phone number - I was furious ( I told them I didnt want to be on their site!) So two can play at that game- I posted a Link on my site for folks who come there from Yelp. the link took them to a page that talks about the scam YELP is & how they are robbing small businesses- I did the same thing with my phone number having an extension just for yelp that slams yelp again lol. I then took my game to the next level! I had my tech guys program the phone tree with the yelp marketing folks phone numbers into caller ID Redirect ( the phone tree would redirect only if the phone number matched ! brilliant...... this way only yelp was blocked LOL it had their calls sent to India telemarketing company :> ) then my tech guy said if we need to we can do a URL block! this way any links from YELP would be redirected to some other website- So I redirected them to a web page that slammed YELP! LOL they stopped calling me - I haven't heard from them in 1yr....
Rakesh Malik on Wednesday, 02 August 2017 19:18

Yes, Yelp advertising is 100% a scam. I ripped the customer service rep a new one since it's so overpriced, and she offered to waive my early termination fee and cancel my ads program. Escape while you can, and if one of them calls you and tries to convince you to sign up for their ads program, tell them to stuff it.

Yes, Yelp advertising is 100% a scam. I ripped the customer service rep a new one since it's so overpriced, and she offered to waive my early termination fee and cancel my ads program. Escape while you can, and if one of them calls you and tries to convince you to sign up for their ads program, tell them to stuff it.
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Saturday, 19 August 2017
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