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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,
For businesses with a BAD Reputation,


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. Mike

    I find it amusing that they determine which ones are real and which ones are "not recommended". Then even if they do not want to use them ….they take away the share button for you to use them on other social media. If a client takes the time to write a review…..they should post them…..good or bad.

  2. Todd

    Yelp Sucks! 1 negative review, 6 positive reviews and guess which review is the only one on the front page. The bitter old lady who has slammed 5 other companies!

  3. Mac

    I whole heartedly agree with everything you said about Yelp. They filter positive reviews that my long term patients have written and show the terrible reviews that someone writes because they are disgruntled because you sent them a bill for legitimate services provided. I am withdrawing my advertising with them today. They are definitely not supportive of small business. They're similar to a trashy reality show favoring dirt on a business over ethical and honest practice.

  4. Joanne Graney

    Yelp is trying to ruin my business

  5. Barry

    This is the most biased website I ever came across. I had some solid real reviews on yelp for my business. Yelp cold called me couple of weeks back asking did I want to be boosted to the top of the ratings list for a monthly subscription fee. I said I would think about it. They aggressively called me repeatedly for 4 days. In the end I declined and said I would contact back later in the new year. The aggressive agent was displeased with my response and got quite insulting on the phone. I hung up.
    Guess what happened to the majority of my real client yelp reviews? Gone over night in one swoop.
    tell all your friends to stay away from yelp

  6. Ellie K

    Hello Ashley!

    I remember you, from the comments following a recent Giga-Om post. The post was about digital rights, specifically for prose (text) and maybe image content. Most digital rights concerns are focused on DRM for multi-media like audio or video recordings, motion pictures or e-books. You had a specific inquiry pertaining to RSS feeds. It was an interesting question, as you wondered whether you were allowed to repost an RSS feed burned by someone else on your own website. I replied with a few (non-expert) thoughts, and you commented a second time, on 20 May 2013 or so.

    Okay, to get to the point here! I thought of you and of Yelp, after reading this, earlier today:
    The topic was a recent Yelp post that required applicants to be employed (I am not the author. I'm not sure who is). Have a look at the comments too. I am Lisa E. (Ellie) Kesselman.
    My recent post The Sharing Hierarchy


      Thanks! I'll check it out!

  7. Mike H.

    Stephen, are you delusional? Listen to what people with Yelp sites are saying. Yelp is using mob-style extortion tactics to put the arm on small businesses for review "protection". Sound familiar? Like "Pay me protection money and no one gets hurt"?

    Stoppelman is going down, and you are either incredibly naïve or a shill.

    1. Cafe Express

      I agree because it happened to me too. Now since we won't pay them for advertising or to get them to remove competitor ads from our page, they are filtering just 4 and 5 star reviews so I am left with poor reviews. This really started to happen after I declined their offer and everytime I call about their filter they try to sell me on advertising again. WTF!!!!

  8. Wendy

    I have been complaining about our good reviews disappearing from Yelp for the past year! Actually, sent a complaint to Yelp 6 months ago. Stay away from Yelp…. I don't mind an unbias review site, but it's bad business when the review site manipulates the information for their own good. Shame on you Yelp!

  9. Tim O

    reputation is not working

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      Whoops! Changed shopping carts, this one button didn't get transferred. Thanks! Checkout link is here…

  10. Spread the Truth

    Yelp's creator, Jeremy Stoppelman, is a greedy little sleazeball, who was (probably) raised by greedy out-for-themselves people. Jeremy Stoppelman is entitled, narcissistic and out-for-himself. Like Bernie Madeoff.

    Basically he's MANIPULATING the TRUTH in his favor so he can make $$$ for himself via business advertising. Greed and Selfishness at the cost of others.

    I can't think of anything LESS attractive.

    Yelp didn't get my permission to list my business.

    Yelp didn't ASK for my permission to list my business.

    Yelp didn't get my permission to MANIPULATE the reviews under my listing (a listing I never agreed to).

    Yelp's reviewers don't legitimately identify themselves, and probably create cases for libel and slander.

    There is no recourse for Business Owners who never asked to be added to Yelp's site, and whose public profile is being manipulated by Yelp.

    "Stoppelman's" actions will all come back to him, one way or another.

    1. Jay

      Your words are harsh,

      but you are so right in your comments. especially about, manipulation.

  11. John

    When a site like YELP has this many negative reviews, it is a sign. When a site has no way to contact them with a phone number, it is a sign. when they make it very very difficult to do something like remove your account, it is a sign.

    Yelp sucks. There are a thousand different avenues to get your seo moving upwards. Stay away from these losers.

  12. yelp sucks

    Yelp sucks so bad i have 27 5 star revews filltered,

    18 reviews active all from customers.

    Yelp sucks so bad.

  13. Robbie

    We had a nasty review from a disgruntled customer and we turned it into what we thought would be a positive.

    I saw a post on Pinterest that was for a sandwich shop that I absolutely loved. It read something like: Come in and try the sandwich that someone on Yelp referred to as the worst sandwich they have ever eaten. (genius)

    I took this approach with our nasty reviewer. He actually referred to me as "smart as a bowling ball". I turned that comment into a contest for our email subscribers, in that, whoever left legitimate feedback on Yelp would be in a drawing for a new bowling ball. If you want to see some customer feedback, read the thread of FILTERED comments that do not appear in our rating. To us, these filtered comments are more representative of our golf course than the one crappy review that actually made the criteria for Yelp. The thread made for great fodder around the course and turned into a real positive for us. Plus, we didn't just let the comment go….we addressed it in the Response portion of reviews. There was no apology, rather, we gave the reader a background of the customer who left the review. It painted the review(er) in a slightly different light.

    We will be dropping all of our Yelp advertising and will be pursuing a more reliable (and fair) means for SEO and ratings.

    I am so glad to hear and see sounding boards that agree with our disgust with Yelp.


    Saddleback Golf

  14. Jim

    No. What Yelp has done is empower jerks to mouth off. That's all. People like you who have this entitlement attitude that every business has to treat you like a "god", in your words, is the problem. If the business you use doesn't absolutely bow down to your every wish, instantly, you feel empowered to go blow your horn and try to make that company loose business. Which wouldn't be that bad, in and of itself, because most people are not entitled feeling blow-hards to leave rude reviews for the slightest gaffe. Most people are fairly reasonable and honest and even forgiving in their reviews. So if reviews are left alone, most business will fair well because on average they are giving stellar customer service and the whole of their reviews will show that. Unfortunately Yelp has made it their policy to squelch the good reviews that our customers leave and highlight more of the negative reviews. That's what this site is about. If it wasn't for Yelp trying to filter out reviews to make business look worse then they are, we could handle the few jerks like you who want to leave a bad review every time you don't get treated like a "god." But unfortunately Yelp has decided to reward people like you and not allow as many of the normal, positive reviewers to have a voice. That's wrong.

  15. Eric Brown

    Stephen, I advise taking a few minutes to read the 1st page of reviews on yelp about yelp. There are numerous accounts there from small-business owners about yelp manipulating reviews, hiding positive reviews and leaving a negative (sometimes fake) review after the business-owner has declined to pay to advertise on yelp.

    This has happened to me, too.

    yelp and some of its frequent reviewers ('Elite') are anti-small-business, which makes absolutely no sense since the only way yelp could ever be profitable is if it receives enough advertising $ from small-businesses.

    And yet, yelp does everything possible to alienate small-businesses. So, it never will be profitable because of its immoral business practices. It's such a warped, demented organization.

    People need to stay away from that site. Ask your friends and family for referrals, not a site where anonymous people write reviews (some of which are fake). And you don't see all the reviews that have been posted. In many cases, only one negative (sometimes fake) review is readily visible.

  16. Piere

    Loved the video, Tahnks

  17. Jennifer

    Hi Stewart,

    You might also find my site very helpful. I, just like many others are petitioning against yelp. Trying ever so hard to raise awareness and share ideas. I've actually just had a news station contact me via email. If this goes anywhere, I would be happy to share your story as well.

    Email me at or like the facebook page and message me there.

    Yelp is a Fraud! Nothing more than another money hungry corporation that could care less about consumers and small businesses.

  18. Stephen

    Honestly, for all the negative about Yelp, its the best thing to happen to the hospitality industry in decades. You want to know how to keep your rating high on Yelp? Treat your customers like Gods, make amazing and unique food, keep your prices competitive and be humbled and appreciative people are even showing up to your location.

    Before Yelp when a business was bad, or screwed you over, or their was a rude waitperson there was NOTHING YOU COULD DO if the owners didn't care. And the great, diamond in the rough, type spots would bubble up and die with no one knowing they ever existed.

    Try to fight consumer reviews as much as you can, it will just make your businesses die faster. Be competitive, work your tails off, make and awesome product and put the customer first. Then, Yelp will be your friend.

    1. Bobby

      Yelp is your friend if you pay the blackmail money. I am one of the few truly honest contractors in my area. Went out to service a rental property. The tenant had worked on the a/c unit, taken it apart, and left it open with 230 volts open to the many children who were playing with a hose in and around this a/c. My responsibility is to the property owner, and their liability and am required as a contractor to report dangerous situations. I am now being lied about by this tenant on Yelp. I was nice, patient, and professional. Yelp blocks my good reviews, I am a 5 star business on yahoo local, because I am a genuine, honest person who lives by a strict moral and community orientated code


        Unfortunately Bobby, even when you pay your good reviews can still be filtered. Sad but true. So even paying the extortion money doesn't help!

    2. Robert


      I'd like to believe what you say is true, but you cannot manage your reputation on Yelp when you treat your customers like gods. In my business's case, Yelp has filtered out 37 of 41 reviews. No ryhme or reason to it. Many are active users and numerous friends and reviews written. We've had 37 5-star, 2 1-star, 1 4-star and 1 2-star review. I'm happy with that kind of feedback, but Yelp doesn't show that feedback, they show what they think the feedback should be. There's a difference.

    3. Rachel

      sounds like you work for yelp! HAHA! you don’t even know, I’ve seen companies work their butts off and gain success. but yelp filters all the good reviews and the bad ones sticks. I first handed had customers tell me how happy they are with us but they don’t use the internet and all the young kids or competitors are posting bad reviews to make the business look bad. It’s not the best thing that happened to the hospitality industry, it’s the WORST!! a company chose not to do business with one because of their bad reviews on yelp, but ignored all the positive feedback from any other sites. Yelp is taking over and it’s bad. Yelp shouldn’t have ever started up, it was all for the money and they don’t care about small business’s anymore they only want the big business to take over all the others so then yelp can get more money! without any review sites these small business’s might get a chance to actually grow. When the internet first came up it was obvious you couldn’t trust anything on it 100% but then these review sites come along and magically everyone believes it fully and realistically you don’t know who posted it… angry fired employees, other big companies trying to get small business’s out, some customers might but even employees write reviews for their company! I just hope that any competitors writing bad reviews of other similar companies gets bite in the behind, it’s bad karma and unmoral. Sad to think that others don’t care or give any business a chance, they wan’t to ruin companies to get all the fame and money. BLAH! I’m 19 years old and I won’t stand for this. how can society be so messed up??? doesn’t everyone want the best for all, it amazes me how selfish and rude these people can be. why can’t everyone just be happy for others, tell the truth… or let alone just be REAL!!!

    4. Robert

      I disagree with you, there has always been something that a person can do and has.
      And when business does not retain business, it eventually fails.

      The comments in regards to,"Nothing you could do", is nonsense!
      This post sounds like someone that works for Yelp.


        Really? I sound like someone who works for Yelp? That's funny. And this post has nothing to do with what Consumers can do. This all about what Businesses Can Do!

      2. jeff

        WAYYYY more people ONLY use yelp when they are dissatisfied versus using it to praise businesses when they do well. If 2 people disagree its not fair to be able to cause the amount of damage that negative YELP reviews can cause to businesses. Its like, I feel you were wrong so now im going to steer thousands of dollars away from you. NOT FAIR. The businesses do not get to express their sides of the argument. Its either give into the customer or be screwed! Its never that black and white!

    5. Hollywood Ron

      Yelp uses unfair business practices – they are unethical and they SUCK!

    6. jason

      that is complete bs. and whats worse………… YOU KNOW IT IS.. yelp shakes people down. and yes.. i have 1 bad review on yelp…… 3 great reviews…….. all 3 filtered.. they suck and quite frankly so so you


        I'm sorry you feel that way (about me, anyway). I'm here to help people DEAL with Yelps misbehavior. Just being right doesn't bring business through the front door.

    7. Catherine

      That's great but what do you do when someone(s) spamming you with fake bad reviews. I have received 14 since last July from people who have never been to my business or had any services from me. I am a one person business and keep track of everyone who contacts me, let alone who has actually walked through the door. Yelp filters out my real customers reviews on top of it. They don't "filter" reviews if you pay their $300 a month advertising. And this is legal???? While they have removed 12 of the 14 bad ones so far since they described basically generic nothing – the other 2 are still fake. The spammers are getting smart and adding some details. However, none describe my specialty. Most of them don't describe services I offer and the "scenarios" they describe don't fit the situation of my services. They refuse to investigate. I've only had 5 reviews in the last 3 years since I am a small business with the majority of clients being regulars who are very happy. I am honest, and go above and beyond with all my customers. Now, I've had 14 bad reviews in a row since last July……This is a time consuming nightmare and I have received no help or consideration besides a form letter….. Sorry but this is really happening to innocent people….its really hard to do my job and have to address this every 1-2 weeks.

    8. John

      So what your saying is the guest is always right??? wrong. I've been in the restaurant business for 20 years and have owned my current restaurant for over 4 years. I should right a book on the BS people try and pull so that they can get a comp from telling me they found a toe nail in their salad too the burger bun not being perfectly round and everything in between. We are here to provide a service and a great product at a reasonable cost and when people complain that they were charged an additional ,50 cents for extra Bleu Cheese or Ranch for their wings even though it's stated on the menu and threaten me with a bad review is complete nonsense. Small business owners are being held hostage by Yelp and other review sites and to give someone the ability to tarnish my business or another business and hide behind a blank picture with just your first name or initials like you Stephen is cowardly. I've got a total of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp but it's still BULL SHIT that these numb nuts think their food critics can kiss my fat ass.

  19. Sam

    You are not alone come and join us.

  20. Stewart Patey

    Im very upset with yelps sabbatouge tactics. Would love to talk with someone. I thought I was alone here. Was about to contact an attorney over this and found you online. If anyone cares to call me my cell number is 425-750-4166.



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