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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


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Comments

Lisa on Friday, 23 March 2018 17:10

Just stay away from Yelp. Don't check your reviews, don't log on, don't talk to their ad reps. Stay away from them because every time you go to their site, you increase their presence on the internet, so you are basically "feeding the monster". Why do you think they tell you to "respond on line" to a negative review? It gets you to go to their site, increasing their cyber footprint. Tell your clients how bad Yelp is, and pass articles like this one on o your social media accounts so everyone knows.

Just stay away from Yelp. Don't check your reviews, don't log on, don't talk to their ad reps. Stay away from them because every time you go to their site, you increase their presence on the internet, so you are basically "feeding the monster". Why do you think they tell you to "respond on line" to a negative review? It gets you to go to their site, increasing their cyber footprint. Tell your clients how bad Yelp is, and pass articles like this one on o your social media accounts so everyone knows.
Chris on Thursday, 08 March 2018 20:33

Ugh, sadly everything you write is so true they are the WORST! Total SCAM. I was forced onto their site because of a bad review by a psycho ex-tenant and so then they lured me in with an offer for 3 free months (I think it was?) and how great their ads would be for my biz.
Then....nothing, after calling me like every week for years, now nothing. I stupidly forgot about it and then silently they start taking $300./ a month for their "services". No emails or calls checking in or whatever. I called to complain and of course end my "campaign" with them and the dolt on the phone showed me all the clicks I got. Yeah! for $300.- a month I'm sure you can get a 14 y.o. in the Philippines to click his mouse like 35,000 times! Luckily they only got me for one month but it still sucks. I know it was technically my fault but it just feels so slimy, and of course like others have said they just hung up on me. To anyone who reads this do not pay for their services, you will regret it. I would even say, don't empower their biz with reviews, they just go to leverage the rest of their scam.

Ugh, sadly everything you write is so true they are the WORST! Total SCAM. I was forced onto their site because of a bad review by a psycho ex-tenant and so then they lured me in with an offer for 3 free months (I think it was?) and how great their ads would be for my biz. Then....nothing, after calling me like every week for years, now nothing. I stupidly forgot about it and then silently they start taking $300./ a month for their "services". No emails or calls checking in or whatever. I called to complain and of course end my "campaign" with them and the dolt on the phone showed me all the clicks I got. Yeah! for $300.- a month I'm sure you can get a 14 y.o. in the Philippines to click his mouse like 35,000 times! Luckily they only got me for one month but it still sucks. I know it was technically my fault but it just feels so slimy, and of course like others have said they just hung up on me. To anyone who reads this do not pay for their services, you will regret it. I would even say, don't empower their biz with reviews, they just go to leverage the rest of their scam.
Idontneedyouryelp on Tuesday, 21 November 2017 17:32

They've been calling us OVER AND OVER and I keep saying no. Finally I said to please take me off your list and hung up. The guy CALLED BACK TO GRILL ME ABOUT WHY. Are you fucking serious? I don't have to answer shit - i blocked the number. Im just waiting for the inevitable backlash where they hide our positive reviews. Luckily we are in a small town and nobody really uses Yelp, especially for a business like ours (we are almost all word of mouth/families coming in)

They've been calling us OVER AND OVER and I keep saying no. Finally I said to please take me off your list and hung up. The guy CALLED BACK TO GRILL ME ABOUT WHY. Are you fucking serious? I don't have to answer shit - i blocked the number. Im just waiting for the inevitable backlash where they hide our positive reviews. Luckily we are in a small town and nobody really uses Yelp, especially for a business like ours (we are almost all word of mouth/families coming in)
Jennifer on Monday, 02 October 2017 11:39

Yelp is an absolute scam and they do NOT care. As a brand new business, I tried some of their "free" ads. It is a scam. I was charged for all of the ads and then some and when I called them to reason with them and find out what "services" the charges reflected I was hung up on, I was told there was no one who cared and that I would never get my money back (( a Yelp rep literally said that to me )) -- Not only is is a scam but they have the worst customer service of any company I've ever dealt with. Awful experience. Don't do it.

Yelp is an absolute scam and they do NOT care. As a brand new business, I tried some of their "free" ads. It is a scam. I was charged for all of the ads and then some and when I called them to reason with them and find out what "services" the charges reflected I was hung up on, I was told there was no one who cared and that I would never get my money back (( a Yelp rep literally said that to me )) -- Not only is is a scam but they have the worst customer service of any company I've ever dealt with. Awful experience. Don't do it.
James on Tuesday, 05 September 2017 07:49

Check Out YelpIsAScam.Com

Spread the word ☺

Check Out YelpIsAScam.Com Spread the word ☺
Sue on Thursday, 24 August 2017 11:37

I am a business owner and YELP created my company and it took me a year to claim it! Now that I have claimed my company they (YELP) will only allow NEGATIVES reviews on my site. I now have to pay for review software to have the positive reviews post. They keep saying the positive reviews are inappropriate. I must have 20 or more positive reviews that Yelp simply will not let them post.
I found a way to get around their game and I changed all my content to something else so the negative reviews make no sense.
I then go back into my account for Yelp and say the Negative reviews having nothing to do with my content.

I am a business owner and YELP created my company and it took me a year to claim it! Now that I have claimed my company they (YELP) will only allow NEGATIVES reviews on my site. I now have to pay for review software to have the positive reviews post. They keep saying the positive reviews are inappropriate. I must have 20 or more positive reviews that Yelp simply will not let them post. I found a way to get around their game and I changed all my content to something else so the negative reviews make no sense. I then go back into my account for Yelp and say the Negative reviews having nothing to do with my content.
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Saturday, 15 December 2018


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