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Buying Better Yelp Results

If you’re a Yelp business owner, no doubt you saw the Important Message that went out today from Yelp talking about “reputation management” and how you can’t buy results on Yelp.

That is TRUE! You can’t pay for Yelp advertising to remove bad reviews, you can’t bribe them to take down negative reviews, you can’t pay a reputation management firm to have it removed. All of it, TRUE!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You CAN take control of your reputation and make Yelp irrelevant to your bottom line!

Using the right customer engagement strategies, and encouraging reviews on Google rather than Yelp, focusing on building citations from all over the web and a robust internet presence that gives customers the chance to experience bits of your brilliance is what it’s all about.

Turning over the reins of your business to just one site is crazy business. And I’m pretty certain nobody here is in that business!


About the author

Adryenn Ashley

Adryenn Ashley is the mediagenic founder of Wow! Is Me. As an award winning filmmaker and actress she is used to transforming herself and others into riveting onscreen characters. Now she uses her well honed techniques to transform everyday entrepreneurs into wildly successful business celebrities. As a mentor to CEOs worldwide, she is directly responsible for adding significant revenue to her client's bottom line. For information on how you can work with Adryenn Ashley, go to

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  1. evergreencoseo

    I have a client who needs a couple yelp reviews… but before you go all nutty on me, do note, that Yelp has removed over 30 REAL reviews for my client that were not provoked or asked for. BUT, they did allow 1 1 star review a 3 star review and a 4 and 1 5 star review. Leaving it look pretty shady as a business owner over all. What do I do about this?


      You need to do a review analysis to determine where your best reviews come from. Then mine that source. If they are walk in customers, getting them to check in always leads to them being prompted to write a review by Yelp, so that is a sideways way of asking. There are some awesome people who know all the ins and outs of legally and ethically inspiring more reviews. Message me and I'll intro you.

  2. lexscripta1

    You guys also need to look at Google. After all, many new comers do a search for generic businesses and Yelp appears at the top of Google search results. If Yelp didnt have that kind of front page exposure on the most popular search engne in the world, I am sure you'd see a lot less stress over the "reviews craze" that is sweeping the country.


      Exactly. That's why I say, sometimes you just have to move them to page 2

  3. localseome

    There are so many better ways to handle bad reviews than buying reviews. Someone who knows how to handle reputation management is important.


      Agreed. Buying reviews is the kiss of death!

  4. Gregg

    I was reading a post about my sister company that is getting false reviews I did my own research his name is Jeremy Clark he is the Sales Manager for Chicago Title and Escrow Company. He has been all over yelp trying to protect his friends problems by giving bad reviews. I can't believe that they let him work their know he is not telling the truth and asking for money for his comments to be changed.

  5. Marissa

    Why would any reputable company take 3 days to remove a review that is a lie? Are they so busy sitting on their butts that they cannot move on something like this? I was so mad and had enough! That's when I filed a complaint against them with the BBB. Then the review got taken off immediately! I also got a phone call from them trying to apologize but the damage has already been done. Just think how many people checked out our business on there and without knowing us bought into that lie! I am so sick of these two companies that if there is any class action suit going on against them then I really want to be a part of it! I have had enough! No one in America should have to put up with this bullcrap!

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      So are you saying that you filed a complaint about the false review and it was immediately taken down? Has anyone else used this technique? Could you do a checklist and post it on the Delete Yelp Reviews page?

      1. Marissa

        Yes, I filed a complaint against tripadvisor with the Better Business Bureau. Yes, then my complaint got taken down immediately and yes, a rep from Tripadvisor called me to apologize but the damage was already done. Tripadvisor and Yelp are reckless when it comes to allowing people to report false reviews about your business. Yes, I can do a checklist, Do you mean the steps I took to contact the Better Business Bureau and report Tripadvisor? I can do that but what page are you referring to that you want me to put it on. I think all businesses should file complaints against these two self absorbed companies. Matter of fact I am considering on creating my website for travel reviews.

  6. Marissa

    I had to file a complaint against Tripadvisor with the Better Business Bureau. Tripadvisor let someone post a comment about us on their webstie that was not only damaging but very untrue! (this is not the first time this has happened either) The review that was written about our business was not even by a customer that stayed at our motel recently but said they stayed there 30 years ago. Can you imagine that? 30 YEARS AGO. First of all who in their right mind would wait 30 years to post a review about a business? I contacted Tripadvisor about the matter and they said it would take 3 days to remove the review. 3 DAYS, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Why would any reputable company take 3 days. Are they so busy sitting on their butts that they cannot move on something like this?

  7. Marissa

    I am a small business owner and I hate both Yelp and Tripadvisor and think that they should both be put out of business for their Nazi type tactics of holding businesses hostage on their websites. Whether you want to be a part of their website or not, you are bound and gagged by these two companies! You need to ask yourself what kind of business owners would practice such tactics in the first place? Probably one's that are desperate to keep members on their websites even against their own free will. I never did sign up with either of these pathetic pukes to advertise my business but obviously they think that I have to be a part of their sick and twisted communities. They practice unfair and unbalanced business reviews and if you try to defend yourself they will remove your rebuttlal to someone's review. They do not want to hear your side of the story but yet they let customers say whatever they please about you. They are nothing more than two gloried tabloid companies.

  8. Adryenn Ashley

    Yelp is using "trade secrets" to protect their algorithm from scrutiny including litigation. As far as I know they don't have a PhD statistician on staff or ever having worked on it or verified that it is statistically relevant and produces repeatable results.

    They are protecting the filtered reviews from robots who could in theory scrape all the filtered reviews looking for similarities in order to reverse engineer the filter requirements so as to avoid them. I think the link shouldn't be grey and hidden, but I am fine with the captcha.

    1. Ash

      A small business Gym owner has asked me to look into his yelp page. I think we could legitimately make a case that yelp's filtering algorithm is broken but Yelp obviously isn't interested in talking to us. It's clear that new users who post a 5 site review for the gym get filtered. Yet 5 out of the 7 non-filtered reviews are 1 star reviews from users who have 0-2 other reviews and are over two years old. One gym member has over 100 yelp reviews and dozens of yelp friends. His 5 star review from 18 months ago only showed up unfiltered Today, after 17 check-ins. I honestly wonder if someone who works for yelp had a bad experience at this gym (again, hiding behind secrecy risks abuse)

  9. Lesley

    Be happy you can't get on yelp, they are horrible. Those that write reviews on yelp believe that they are entilled to rag on businesses in the nastiess way possible and not have a chance for the business to "make it right". Much of it is slander and it doesnt matter if you have hundreds of satisfied happy customers and five negative , the five negative will get front and center and it may not be based on much or any truth.

  10. Marilyn Kasko

    I know that when my competition pays for their ads, my review does not show up on the search results. I have watch this and it makes me crazy. They suck.

  11. william edwards

    please call or e-mail me, I would love to discuss some issues and see if you have any advice. I am currently suing Yelp in small claims court. Bill

    1. William Meck

      Do you still monitor this…I would really love to discuss a couple things with you regarding a current issue with Yelp 818-625-4004


        I do but somehow missed your message. I skim comments so miss those. message me and lets talk.

  12. Tony

    Can someone please answer these 2 questions about yelp for me?

    1- How come yelp does not have an independent panel of software engineers (a third party that is completely unbiased) verify that their filtering "algorithm" is truly unbiased? If there's nothing to hide, then I think this shouldn't be a problem.

    2- why do they hide the filtered reviews tab on the bottom of the page, and not on top, next to the other menu choices? And why the captcha code? What purpose does this serve?

    Thank you in advance.


      They don't want you to read the filtered reviews therefore they make it hard to find, while still being able to say they don't hide them. And they will never let anyone see the code because it's not that the code review would say they were biased but that it's broken IMHO.

  13. Wyatt Chambers

    Here's the problem with Yelp. If you own a small business, and someone puts you on Yelp, you can not be removed. Yup, that's right, small businesses out there are captive to Yelp.

    Yelp uses the CDA to protect it's right to keep small businesses from leaving. The Child Decency Act (CDA) was meant to protect children from internet pornography and other disturbing content, but was voted down by the corporate owned supreme court. Instead of protecting children, this law was twisted into protecting companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp from any accountability of their user's content.

    If you call Yelp, and ask them to remove your profile, they will say, it is in the public's interest to know your business. If you threaten to sue, they will say that they are protected by the CDA. This law needs a definite update. Here's the problem, you can delete your profile on sites like Twitter, and Facebook. Also, on these kinds of sites, comments roll off in very little time. They disappear into the either.

    With Yelp, everything is permanent, a lot of money is involved, and you can't delete your profile. There has to be some way that we can change this law. There has to be some way to override the results of the CDA.

    Businesses should be aloud to leave Yelp!

    1. Marissa

      I totally agree with you and I want to stand and fight against companies like Yelp and Tripadvisor! Sincerely Marissa

  14. Karla

    Yelp is a joke! We've been in business for over 22 years and have been very successful. Several of the "1 star" reviews on our Yelp page though, are completely false. We have no idea who these people are! One reviewer actually threatened us and Yelp hasn't "filtered" that one out! I thought that was against the law? Yet, our longtime customers that have left positive reviews have been filtered out? Small businesses need to band together and support each other against these extortionists. That's really all they are…. Just DON'T give in and pay their ridiculous monthly fee to get good reviews, because as soon as you cancel, all the negative ones come back. It makes me really angry that business owners, the ones who put it all on the line and take the risk, through their hard work, blood , sweat and tears have to take out of their day to even deal with this. If there's a lawsuit, sign me up!

  15. S. Lenahan

    Hello fellow YELP victims,

    We recently responded to a YELP review from Jessica I. in which she wrote nothing other than "this place blows!" regarding our family owned and operated restaurant. Juvenile behavior, I'm sure you'll agree. but also detrimental to our reputation. In our response we simply requested that YELP reviewers please be more reponsible and, heaven forbid, CONSTRUCTIVE, with their criticisms. We also changed our business name to "Yardville Inn PLEASE SEE OUR FILTERED REVIEWS!" because, like most businesses, all of our 5 star reviews have been filtered and we believe the regular potential customer does not realize this.

    Jessica I. replied to our response, and again stated that we "blow". She received compliments from her fellow ELITE YELPsters as well as "cool" and "funny" clicks re: her eloquent review of our establishment. Interestingly, one of her fellow ELITists sent us an email reprimanding us for our response to her "blows" comment. I thought you might be interested in this email and my reply. Good Luck.

    On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Kenneth DuPuis wrote:

    I am writing in response to the reply you wrote to user Jessica I. regarding her review of your establishment on

    Firstly, as I'm sure you are aware, Yelp is a forum where users generate feedback related content about local businesses, hopefully based on their personal experiences. There are guidelines and recommendations on what can or should be posted, and nowhere in them is there a mandate that they be constructive in their criticism or detailed in their descriptions.

    As not only a user of the site, but also a career management professional, I find it unseemly to berate a customer for, or lecture them about, their opinions; especially so in front of other prospective or actual customers. In terms of the values I would assign to both her review and your reply, I must go on record as saying that your posted input would carry significantly more weight than hers in a decision on whether or not to patronize the Yardville Inn. And by that, I mean that I would decide not to.

    Yelp is a community where people speak their minds. Not all of them may do so with the same degree of clarity, or speak from the most qualified positions, but all feedback is valuable to a business. If someone tells you that you are bad at what you do, it is ultimately your responsibility to fix yourself, not theirs. If the feedback you are getting is consistently bad, there are problems, and you need to rectify them if you do not want to deal with negative word of mouth advertising, which I am sure you are well aware is poisonous. If you also feel the need to fix the person who is spreading that negativity, well, I would refer you to the old saw about flies, vinegar, and honey.

    Lastly, on the subject of your impassioned plea to read your filtered reviews tacked onto your business name, it is cheap and transparent. It is not part of your business name, and in my opinion should not be published there. A request has been submitted to remove that, and should you change it back, I will request that it be removed again. If you feel the need to ask us to do what most of us do anyway (essentially implying at the same that we are stupid), you should include that in a description of your business, which I see no one has bothered to write. That doesn't seem like a very good idea, though. It would smack of desperation, as it does now.

    Above all, please be aware that offending the users of Yelp with questionable tactics is probably not the best way to drum up business. No one is out to hurt you, only to guide others. I hope you take these suggestions to heart, I wish you luck and success in your enterprise.


    Kenneth DuPuis

    Toms River, NJ

    Yelp Elite '12


    To: Kenneth DuPuis

    Toms River, NJ

    Yelp Elite '12

    Thanks for contacting us with your reprimands and threats to report us to YELP, but You miss the point, Sir.

    Why is it that 15 of Yardville Inn's legitimate customers' reviews have been "filtered"?!

    As far as Yardville Inn's opinion of Jessica I.'s public YELP insult and subsequent tardy explanation: Here's my challenge. If Jessica will give us a date and time, we will review the security cameras..and if she ever waited 20 minutes "without a SOUL waiting on us", I will change our listed business name to "WE ARE VERY SORRY JESSICA" and I will personally hand you both $1000.00. Why am I so sure? Because it's a lie. And because our management team and I don't allow such things to happen. But that's actually besides the point. Let's just say it did happen?…."this place blows" is not the helpful or constructive way to let the world know. But that's just my opinion, which, for some reason, according to you, deserves far less respect or publicity than one of my supposed customers'.

    No, we are not perfect. But we strive for it. We stake our lives and livelihoods on it. Do we make mistakes? Absolutely. Have we apologized, comped meals, sent out letters of contrition? Yes certainly, and we will always take responsibility for what's not working about our business and then work ceaselessly to change for the better. But when exactly is it constructive or helpful to ANYONE besides Jessica (who garners her little "funny" and "cool" clicks), to simply write: "this place blows"? Surely you can't believe this to be the reason that YELP should exist? So that disgruntled former employees or their friends can seek revenge for feeling wrongfully terminated? So that a local competitor can bring another business down? So that you can be too lazy to communicate using your actual mouth and not just your keyboard? To speak up and contact a manager? So that you can't just let us know on the spot what happened to cause your dissatisfaction, and allow us the grace of making it right? So that you can just throw out insults which affect more than 30 hard working individuals' ability to be employed and pay their bills? But again, this is not the point, and not why we must answer and defend our reputation against YELP's unfair business practices.

    "If the feedback you are getting is consistently bad, there are problems, and you need to rectify them.."

    -and here IS the point, once again, clearly delineated:

    The feedback for our business is consistently and overwhelming EXCELLENT, and it's ALL word of mouth, because we 've always felt that our customer's opinion is the very best advertising…but YELP is stacked in such a way that the innocent and ignorant are not easily aware of the inherent lie.

    It's the reckless irresponsibility of you YELPers and your ignorance of YELP's completely biased review setup which really deserves to be examined: The ASSUMPTION that because it's filtered, it must be a lie. The only way to fight back is to educate. That's why we changed the name. And will continue to do so, along with joining the thousands of businesses across the country who are filing class action lawsuits against YELP and demanding that the deck be unstacked. Drawing attention to our legitimate, but for some odd reason, filtered, reviews will hopefully wake some potential guests, and perhaps even self righteous "Elite" YELPers, up to the fact that legitimate reviews are NOT being shown to them.

    As we've stated before..we have NO PROBLEM with our negative reviews being posted. We make mistakes and we support the first Amendment…BUT YELP NEEDS TO UN FILTER OUR POSITIVE REVIEWS.

    You can contact any one of the reviewers whose posts were filtered. We did not pay them or bribe them in any way. We were not aware that they were posting until they complained to us that their positive review was removed. They simply love our place and appreciate all the hard work we put into making customers happy. Yet because they don't review as much as yourself or Jessica, they get filtered???

    Is that the reason, or could it be because we refuse to pay YELP for advertising, that only mostly negative reviews remain? Why no negative reviews being filtered out? Why is it that businesses across America are told by YELP reps that in order for their "filtered" reviews to be revealed, they must pay$ 300-1k per month in advertising? That in order to remove their local competitors listing from the top of their very own Yelp Business page, they must ante up $$$? Why can readers click your Elitist review as being "cool", "funny", "useful", but not "biased", or "inappropriate", nor simply "not useful"? Why are you allowed to flag the business owners response to a review as "inappropriate", when no one is allowed to flag the reviewers response to that response? If you look between the lines and past your nose you'll see the answer.

    We have no problem with criticism, public or private. But why is it not being given its proper context? All we ask, even if you "Elite" YELPers must continue to pride yourself on insults like "this place blows", is for fairness. Yelp can track the IP addresses of our filtered reviews and can easily satisfy any suspicion of impropriety. If the filtered reviews are legit, which they are..then include them along with the negatives and let our business's adjusted star rating speak for itself.

    Do a little research first and I'm positive that you will begin to see what's inherently biased (and in my opinion, evil) about YELP, and anytime you or anyone you know would like to take me up on my challenge, I'll have $1000.00 earmarked, or you might simply stop in to enjoy what our community regards as some of the very best food and service around.


    S. Lenahan

    Owner, CEO

    Old Yardville Inn, Inc.

    Yardville Inn

    Wine, Spirits, Restaurant & Tavern
    Yardville, NJ

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