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Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppleman Had One Thing Right

Jeremy Stoppleman, CEO of Yelp.comIn 2008 Yelp first did a massive clean sweep, claiming to delete spammers accounts. I got swept up in the mess. I’m not a spammer. I never wrote a review for a product or service I didn’t use. And every review I received for my business was from a very well satisfied client. But the truth didn’t matter. The almighty Jeremy Stoppleman, CEO and Founder of Yelp had his opinion and that was that. All my work writing reviews, all my work product (to which they had a license to use, not destroy) was gone. And in place of all the hundreds of links I had peppered all over the internet leading people to my profile on Yelp, was a page proclaiming me a spammer.  When calls to the company and emails to the founder got me no relief, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

It took me about 5 minutes to launch and (I would have bought but Yelp already owned it)! Within days we had national news coverage and thousands of registered businesses who wanted justice. And since then I’ve been waging a battle against the unfair business practices Yelp employs that has left so many honest local business on life support, or worse, in the morgue.

I haven’t spoken to Yelp‘s CEO since the clean sweep in 2008. I argued that I hadn’t violated any Terms of Service. Show me where! Show me the line item and what I did and I’ll back off! But he couldn’t. Because I didn’t. But that didn’t change how he characterized everyone they deleted, mostly members of Ladies Who Launch, eWomenNetwork and BNI. Networking groups where we see each other all the time. The point of these groups IS to do business with one another, so why would it be a violation of the Terms of Service to review the products and services we bought? Technically, it isn’t…

Here’s where Jeremy and I ultimately reached a sort of de-taunt. He gave me this scenario: I review a business for their great service. All is fabulous. Other people read my review and based on my recommendation, they buy the service. After a while, something happens with the service provider… drinking, drugs, divorce, something that significantly affects the quality of service. Because this person is someone I see every month, or week, would I be willing to recant my endorsement, or lower the rating. I acknowledged that would be a sticky situation and that this could present a “conflict of interest”. This is where we agreed. It’s a conflict of interest. Not a violation of the Terms of Service. And since I only review the best, I felt, in reality, while the above scenario was a possibility, it was seriously remote. And for 5 years I was right.

Today, I have to acknowledge that what Jeremy said could happen, has happened… sort of. While it wasn’t the direct result of actions by one of my networking connections, but she does work at the place I recommended after having fantastic over the top service. I was still telling everyone, months later (I have a big mouth and if I love you, everybody knows it). I loved my salesperson, it was the perfect transaction! I must have sent a couple dozen people there.  And then the phone call yesterday…

The company had fired my salesperson because he wouldn’t do something that he knew is a felony. Turns out they do this a lot, and there is now going to be a class action suit against the business. So while my experience was AWESOME and I would stand behind the service I got from my salesperson, and my networking connection who brought me there is still amazing and fantastic, I can no longer recommend the business. As a customer, it was great, but knowing the behind the scenes drama, I want no part of it.

So here’s the sticky situation… My reviews get read. I have had many Review of the Day’s on Yelp leading to massive traffic for the business. Do I downgrade my review, delete my review, or leave it alone… This was the conflict of interest situation I really never thought I’d be in. The very situation Jeremy predicted.

In the end I deleted it because I know the massive lawsuit coming is going to say everything that needs saying.  And this is where I have to give credit where it is due. This scenario never occurred to me, but it did to Jeremy. And I have to acknowledge his foresight. If we hadn’t had that conversation 5 years ago I wouldn’t have been prepared to handle this situation.

Yelp is a double edged sword. It has its place. A negative review from a customer that is willing to work it out can lead to a fair resolution with a company that might not be playing fair. But it also allows competitors to make false reviews unchecked and doesn’t account for the vengeful ex employee or hateful customers that just want to ruin you. There needs to be a balance to keep it fair, just, and useful. They aren’t there yet, and without a change in attitude I doubt they’ll ever see the black on the balance sheet.’s couldn’t care less attitude drives over 30,000 unique visits a month to, and every week I get calls from business owners who have been railroaded by Yelp. They call me because I answer the phone. Something should be doing to take care of their bread and butter revenue stream, business owners.

So, to everyone reviewing their friends… there may come a day when you have to recant. Are you going to do it publicly like Tom Antion did when he recinded every recommendation he ever made about James Malinchak? Will you confront the person, ask what’s going on and help them regain their former glory? Or will you simply delete your review and let nature take it’s course. Big decisions… I hope I made the right one…


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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!


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Exposing Filtered Reviews on Yelp

Want to get your Yelp visitors to see all your reviews? Inspire them to go look at your filtered reviews by putting this graphic up on your business page!

You want to put this on your Yelp Business Page?  Simply right-click on the photo, then click save-as, and select where you want to save it on your hard drive.  It’s that easy! With my compliments!

Do you want to learn the latest techniques to get your business seen in the best light?  Then you want to join the Reputation Builder Challenge!



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Interviewing Lawyers Familiar with Yelp

McMillan Law Group defeats Yelp, Inc.

by JULIAN on MAY 9, 2013

In a recent small claims court case in San Diego, CA, the McMillan Law Group (MLG) achieved a monumental victory against Yelp, Inc. MLG had been coerced into entering into an advertising contract with the internet giant who promised results. The judge in the case agreed that (a) the contract was void due to fraud in the inducement, and duress, (b) that Yelp had failed to provide any of the promisedservices, and (c)that the contract itself was a contract of adhesion.

This is a massive victory for every small business in the country currently advertising with Yelp, Inc. We can help you get your hard earned money back. At present, we are asking anyone who was threatened by Yelp to contact the firm. If Yelp contacted you and similarly tried to coerce you or did coerce you into an advertising contract with the Company, please contact McMillan Law Group.

The judge stated, “this is like the mafia going door to door extorting protection money from small businesses.”

Call 858 375 1718 now to discuss your case or please fill in the Yelp Contact form to get our advice.

Spread the word.



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Protecting Yourself Against Yelp and Other Online Review Sites

Online, Reputation is everything!
A wise man once said, “Steal my money and I can earn more but let no man steal my good name.”
In today’s world where anyone or anything can be easily “Googled”, hard earned success can be wiped out overnight if companies fail to actively manage their reputation. After all, online, we “are” what people say we are!
Take a minute and do a Google search for your company name, your domain name, and your personal name. What do those results on the first page or two in Google look like? Hopefully it’s all good, but there could even be whole sites devoted to the myriad ways in which you “suck”.
If you find negative listings within the first few pages of Google, it’s very likely that many of your customers are finding them too. And that will to have a dramatic effect on whether or not they decide to do business with you.
In this content rich video you will learn how to:


Few things are more important to your continued online success than your company’s brand. And your brand can be quickly destroyed if you’re not controlling what customers are presented with when they Google your company.
If you are ready to take command of the conversation, engage with your ideal target market, and build expert credibility online, the this video is right for you!

For businesses with NO Reputation,
For businesses with a BAD Reputation, stay tuned for a new AWESOME resource!


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Outsmarting Yelp – Part 2: Turning The Tables

Learn Reputation Management skills and secret to viral fan engagement with Adryenn Ashley!

For businesses with NO Reputation,
For businesses with a BAD Reputation,


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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,


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