Learn to Remove Bad Reviews with Curtis Boyd of Future Solutions Media

Meet Future Solutions Media founder and CEO Curtis Boyd. We go over multiple ways to attack bad reviews and get them removed legitimately, by following the rules and terms of service. Not only does he offer great advice, but he has a free analysis, so you can see what you could do about your review issues.  http://futuresolutionsmedia.com/free-reputation-analysis.html


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/learn-to-remove-bad-reviews-with-curtis-boyd-of-future-solutions-media.html

The Value of a Yelp Elite to your Business

While Elite Pete does look a lot like a few Elites I know, the power they wield should never be underestimated.  By pissing off just one Elite, Red Spaghetti Tattoo ceased to exist. Thier phone stopped ringing, all their good reviews were instantly filtered, just as her threats suggested they would be. Doesn’t matter that she was drunk when she asked for a tattoo and the owner refused. That was enough to cost him his legacy business. He’s had to rebrand his business and virtually start from scratch. New phone number, everything!

So while this video may poke fun at some losers who will do anything for a digital badge, there’s a very real threat there too.


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/the-value-of-a-yelp-elite-to-your-business.html

What if Yelp Were Real Life?

An interesting idea, taking how Yelp behaves online and doing it in the real world. Even though there are differences between online and the real world, there are still rules of society, and pretty obvious right and wrong. This video does it brilliantly!


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/what-if-yelp-were-real-life.html

My Friend Michael Levine Steps Up as Executive Producer of Billion Dollar Bully


Longtime Hollywood PR man Michael Levine will executive produce ‘Billion Dollar Bully,’ which makes allegations that Yelp vigorously denies.

Read More…  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/yelp-accused-mob-like-behavior-814981

Please SHARE and LIKE


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/my-friend-michael-levine-steps-up-as-executive-producer-of-billion-dollar-bully.html

Outsmarting Bad Reviews on Yelp!

Yelp has a secret! It isn’t so much that they get traffic but that they use search engine optimization to get traffic and THAT is people find you on Yelp. When you let Yelp be your only search engine listing, you give them complete power to wipe you out. To make your mark you have to out optimize for your keyword and target audience. It’s not rocket science, and it is necessary to survive online. Here’s a little video that shows you how!

For businesses with NO Reputation, http://ReputationChallenge.com
For businesses with a BAD Reputation, http://ReptutationTurnaround.com


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/outsmarting-bad-reviews-on-yelp.html

Yelp Class Action to Pay Reviewers As Employees

yelp undies
There’s a class action lawsuit against Yelp that posits that reviewers should be paid based on a variety of other legal grounds. Normally Yelp’s lawyers just get the cases tossed. This time however, they are resorting to intimidation tactics, calling the plaintiffs and telling them that the lawyer is an ambulance chaser and unethical (yet I’ve reviewed the arguments and found them sound so who really cares if he’s out for a big payday), and they filed a complaint with the bar, and “someone” has called the uncle of one and said that his restaurant could suffer greatly from loss of customers to his restaurant and market, then he tells the plaintiffs that their suit is harming the family, putting greater pressure on them to drop it.

It’s clear with all the rulings lately that if “interns” or any other unpaid person replaces the work of a paid person, they are technically an employee! This has the potential to change the review landscape. The choice for Yelp would be to remove all paid reviews or pay for all the reviews. Either way, it spells disaster.

Every other class action I’ve seen, Yelp didn’t bat a eyelash, barely lifted a finger and swatted them into dismissal like flies. They’ve never been worried. EVER. And with each ruling, while I felt missed the point of the pain of the business owners, I could see the legal foundation and agreed that the ruling was legit, however disappointed I was that the business owners did not get justice, but the Yelp legal team proved again and again Yelp did nothing legally wrong.

So with a rash of rulings determining that unpaid interns are employees, independent contractors are employees, and a new Class Action that they can’t seem to swat away so easily, the fact that they going outside the direct route to make this case go away makes me think it might be time for a big class action firm to take a look and see the potential here.

Take a look at a few of the class action documents against YELP.


UPDATE: ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS, GRANTING MOTION TO STRIKE, DENYING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS, AND DENYING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY CERTIFICATION OF COLLECTIVE ACTION. Signed by Judge Richard Seeborg on 8/13/15. (cl, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/13/2015)  <— that means that the Judge sided with Yelp and that the case could be appealed, but that takes 3-5 years, appeals court usually sides with trial court, so then Supreme court, 7-9 years, maybe. So likely, this one is dead… for now.


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/yelp-class-action-to-pay-reviewers-as-employees.html

Billion Dollar Bully – a new documentary about Yelp

I’ve been waiting for so long to talk to you about this project! Finally, I can show you. The filmmakers who made this documentary were exhaustive and uncovered so much evidence I’m surprised an indictment hasn’t been handed down. But it’s all soooooo cleverly masked behind free speech and internet law. Watch the trailer. Support the filmmakers. Show your support.


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/billion-dollar-bully-a-new-documentary-about-yelp.html

Get Help With Yelp

Dancing with the devilOur community has thousands of business owners, most of whom hate Yelp and have been victimized by their business practices and refusal to acknowledge the damage their site has unfairly done to many. BUT, I personally know of dozens of folks who use Yelp well and transform it into a profit center. Let’s just call this Dancing with the Devil. As long as you know who your partner is, there might just be a way to make it work. So, comment below if something HAS worked for you… Deals, Check-Ins, etc…


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/get-help-with-yelp.html

“Operation Clean Turf” Paves Way For Competitors To Commit Stealty Sabotage

Craigslist Ad looking for active yelpers to write reviews.

Craigslist Ad looking for active yelpers to write reviews.

Online review sites are flourishing, but new studies prove upwards of 25% of all reviews are bogus, flat out fakes! Good or Bad, the inability to distinguish real reviews is taking it’s toll on consumers.

Most people think of the internet as a useful resource, with the answer to any question just a query away. But there is a seedy underbelly, much like the backroom brothels in Vegas nobody talks about, it’s the money making side of the internet, where anything can be had — for a price.

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is the first of, I hope, many state officials to see the significance of how fake reviews can hurt business. Either by elevating the ranking of a bad business, or lowering the ranking of a good one. A quick peek at Fiverr.com easily reveals dozens of people who will happily create fake reviews and testimonials for you, for only $5. And the “legit” ones tell you, they have to #ad next to the tweet, unless you pay a $20 upgrade, then they’ll forget to put that on! There’s really only one word for it…

And the company at the forefront of this debate is Yelp! Yelp claims that their review filter will weed out these fraudulent reviews and even slap a badge of dishonor on the business if Yelp deems their business has been buying fake reviews. And that’s a problem.

Ask any business member about their faith that Yelp will protect their business and very few would give the review giant a thumbs up. This is a company that doesn’t answer the phone, allows competitors to write fake reviews and filters legitimate reviews, frequently putting good honest businesses out of business.

The rumor mill is full of legitimate stories of business that claim they got a fake bad review, and then the phone rings and it’s a Yelp salesperson offering to take care of the problem. One person who contacted me claimed to have been hired by a Yelp salesperson to write bad reviews and then remove them once the business signed up for advertising. I asked for proof and am still waiting. But it fits with the hundreds of stories of businesses feeling victimized after they get “the call” asking them to advertise. And if they decline, all their good reviews go missing. We will never know the truth of those claims with a thorough code review of the processes at Yelp, and that will never happen. EVER.

And while they stand behind the Communications Decency Act to protect them from litigation, they’re now stepping squarely in the thick of it. The Constitutional Right to anonymous free speech was to protect political dissidents from retaliation. Not a disgruntled diner who thought their waitress shouldn’t wear a nose ring.

A little background on the idea of stealthy sabotage…

There used to be an easy way to get rid of a Google result you didn’t want coming up: you simply bought a bunch of really bad, slimy, cheap backlinks for the site and viola, it vanished, slapped by Google for violating their rule to not attempt to manipulate the rankings. But it became so commonplace that Google now allows business owners to verify their backlinks to protect them from this unethical business practice.

Now imagine how Yelp will handle it… go ahead, try to imagine a company that won’t answer the phone or remove a review that says, “I went in because of the cute outfit in the window and the sales girls was so rude” when the business is run out of a house, with no storefront! Clearly a competitor, a mistake, but Yelp doesn’t have the bandwidth or the commitment to deal with such trivial things as a fake/defamatory review that hurts a businesses bottom line. In essence, Yelp will make it easier for competitors to destroy the competition because there is no way to determine who bought what. All a competitor need do is buy reviews and have them posted. And the more easily recognizably fake the better.

There is only one solution: move away from the anonymous reviews with no context and toward friend to friend word of mouth, like upstart FlypList. When I write a great review of a restaurant, all my friends know it must be a great place. Why? Because I’m a foodie. A gluten free foodie with allergies who demands awesome and friendly service. I’m not the person you would ask about Laundromats because I never go there. Or tattoo parlors. And my friends know this. And their friends can easily figure it out. I have expertise in variety of subjects but not all, and that’s where the current selection of online review sites fail. There is no context. If you prefer 5 star hotels and get stuck in a 2 star in the middle of nowhere, you might rate it 2 stars. But it could be a 5 star hotel in its category. Get it? Context!

Weeding out fraud is important and I applaud all the efforts, but for every advance, it just opens up a new wave of profiteering from the internet underbelly, a new way to game the system. Only when word of mouth is taken back down to the personal level, where people stand by their word, will it ever be truly authentic. So while Google has replaced the card catalog for nearly everyone, Reviews will become more personal.


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/operation-clean-turf-paves-way-for-competitors-to-commit-stealty-sabotage.html

Outsmarting Yelp: Overcoming CDA Immunity via 3rd Party Contract Promises

Daniel Bernath came up with what looks like a stroke of genius. Now, I’m not a lawyer (but he is) so I can’t comment on the legality of it, but the logic looks good.

The idea is that since Groupon REQUIRES you to have a Yelp business profile (with positive reviews) before allowing you to do a Groupon offer, and that Groupon’s Terms of Service are more specific as to the rights of the merchant, that Groupon’s TOS trumps Yelp and that Yelp has to comply. I think…

Here’s what he said in a nutshell:

Defamer comes to Groupon and enters a deal regarding my business. Groupon states in its terms of service www.groupon.com/termsthat they are a service provider for merchant. They also contract with defamer that she has agreed to a 3rd party beneficiary contact and that the merchant can enforce it against Defamer as well as Groupon. Near the bottom of the Terms they clearly state that merchant has right to sue defamer.

Conduct of defamer that she breaches…second to the last bullet point defamer says won’t lie about the merchant, try to put him out of business (I don’t have the exact words).

Then the defamer (in my case) lied about my business. Urged people to breach their contract with me. Said I violated the law, etc.

Therefore, for breach of contract we need offer acceptance, consideration, breach, damages. All the elements have been met. Sue defamer for breach of contract, promissory estopped, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing (with and to the merchant) and as she obviously signed this third party beneficiary contract with intent to damage me and not actually to use my services, FRAUD.

Then it gets interesting. You can’t do a Groupon deal unless you make a deal with Yelp. (I just got another merchant who says she had to contract with Yelp before they would do a deal with her.)
Yelp also says in its terms of service (contract) with defamer IN PROVISION OBVIOUSLY MEAN TO PROTECT MERCHANT that defamer won’t lie, defame, etc. Yelp also contract in one paragraph that if a post is anonymous and defamatory that they will “probably deal more harshly” with it than otherwise. As such, they have contracted with merchant to not permit defamation about them.

Add that specific contract clause (merchant is 3rd party beneficiary to the defamer-Yelp contract AND defamer Groupon contract) you can then sue Yelp for breach of contract, fraud, etc. because they let the defamation be published and did not do their duty to take it down.

[warning]IMPORTANT: Yelp is always sleaziness off by saying that the Communication Decency Act Sec. 230 gives them immunity for anything posted on their site by a 3rd party.[/warning]

BUT UNDER THIS THEORY OF THE CASE you are NOT suing for any speech. You are suing because Yelp broke their contractual promise thus bypassing that immunity that has always gotten Yelp off the hook.

If you think I’m making this up, look at Barnes v. Yahoo

The court held that the CDA barred the plaintiff’s negligent undertaking claim because it was based on Yahoo’s failed undertaking to remove or depublish the offensive profiles and, thus, was based on a violated duty that was derived from Yahoo’s conduct as a publisher (CDA Sec. 230 immunityfor Yahoo and Yelp) . Id. at 1103.

However, the court held that the CDA did not bar the plaintiff’s promissory estoppel claim (or other contract claims) because it was based on a violated duty that sprang from an enforceable promise Yahoo had breached, i.e., Yahoo’s promise to the plaintiff to promptly remove the offensive material from its Web site. Id. at 1107-08. http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/oregon/ordce/6:2005cv00926/74096/43

[important]Get it? Not suing Yelp or defamer for “speech.” Suing them for entering into a contract and then breaching a contract with merchant. to protect merchant and not allow defamations and take down defamations.[/important]

Of course, a trial court judge may disagree and then it will have to be appeal…


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/outsmarting-yelp-overcoming-cda-immunity-via-3rd-party-contract-promises.html

Yelp Gets Bad Reviews From Small Biz Owners at Heated Town Hall

A Yelp sticker. The review site has come under fire by small businesses who question its business practices.


Yelp is giving small business owners a chance to air their concerns about the review site in a series of town halls across the country. And it turns out some these restaurateurs and small business owners have a bone to pick with the way Yelp does business.

On Tuesday, Yelp (YELP) held its latest town hall in Los Angeles, with a panel of company representatives and friendly small businesses fielding questions and discussing ways to use Yelp. The idea, in part, was to reach out to a small-business community that often feels victimized by unfair reviews, as well as what some say are aggressive sales tactics by Yelp.

But the forum didn’t go exactly as planned for Yelp. As the Los Angeles Times reports, company representatives found a hostile crowd waiting for them:

Many slammed the company for allowing reviewers to post inflammatory comments – one restaurant manager said she cried for three days after a Yelper wrote that her restaurant was filled with Nazis. Others said they had been subjected to aggressive advertising calls from Yelp.

Vintage clothing shop owner Reiko Roberts said the advertising pressure amounted to extortion. She said that when she declined to buy ads, “the lower reviews go to the top and the higher reviews go to the bottom.”

That’s a charge that’s been leveled at Yelp numerous times in the past, and which the company has repeatedly denied. The issue lies largely with the site’s filter, which seeks to exclude reviews from suspicious or unproven reviewers in favor of reviews from established users.

Yelp has also sought to bring purity to the review process by going after businesses that try to buy positive reviews for themselves. But as the hostile reception makes clear, a lot of business owners feel that these systems work largely to their disadvantage, burying positive reviews and elevating negative ones.

It’s hard to say how many of these complaints are legitimate, and how many are just sour grapes from business owners angry about negative reviews. But there’s no doubt that Yelp has a public-image problem among its most crucial users — the businesses that pay to advertise on the site.

So far, though, it doesn’t seem to be hurting Yelp too badly: Since going public last spring, its share price has more than doubled.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.



Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/yelp-gets-bad-reviews-from-small-biz-owners-at-heated-town-hall.html

Yelp Is Ruining My Business

Yelp Is Ruining My Business
“Help! Yelp is ruining my business!” This is the tearful phone call I get every week. Another struggling business owner, failing, due to an unfair negative review. Feeling helpless, alone, attacked, the emotion coming through the phone line sounds a lot like the rape victims I counseled in college. The same questions: How did this happen? Why me? And worse, why won’t anyone help me?

Why is it my phone that rings? Because I answer the phone when Yelp won’t. I listen when Yelp won’t. And I know, with the right guidance, they can overcome the attack, can regain their confidence and go back to being a rock star business. But for some, there will always be scars, and fear that it could happen again. The disgruntled customer who just can’t be satisfied, the new competitor moving in down the street… always causing a little catch in the throat and a slight flinch… wondering, is today the day it will happen again?

I know I’m going to get a lot of flack comparing Yelp to a rapist, but really, I’m comparing them to the gun the rapist is holding that allows them to commit the act in the first place.

I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a reality where you can life fear free without the risk of sites like Yelp taking all your business away, and causing the phone to stop ringing.

Using Search Engine Optimization, you can ensure that you are on page 1, and yelp is nowhere to be seen. To do that you need a lot of fresh, relevant content, sharable, social, and directed back to your site. And Media attention!

I’m interviewed by the media at least once a week. Three times this week so far! Yesterday somebody said something about this site. I don’t even know where yet because my news clipping service hasn’t sent it. But they did, and 10,000+ new visitors arrived yesterday and viewed an average of 4.91 pages. They were reading about YOU, and your troubles with Yelp. Imagine if that media coverage was about your business. When those new visitors land on your site, what will they find? How long will they stay? And will you be building relationships with them from the moment they arrive?

There is a new book on this subject you should read, You Stock: Increase Sales Conversions by Branding with Personalized Marketing Photography. It’s on Amazon, and today it’s free. The key is to user your face in your branding, you are uniquely you and your competitors will only ever be able to be a paler lesser version of you. So why not use your most valuable asset to build brand trust with your customers?

And for those of you that want media coverage, please Tell Your Yelp Story! The more thumbs up you get, the higher the story will go in the media meter and more likely it will get mainstream coverage. The media is looking everyday for your story, make it easy to find!


Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/yelp-is-ruining-my-business.html

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