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Tell Your Yelp Story

Everyone wants to be heard. That seems to be the #1 complaint on Yelp is the lack of transparency in the filter, the lack of response to real business issues, and the seeming lack of care that real businesses are being destroyed by fake reviews while real good reviews are filtered out.

It’s time to share your story… stories will be chosen from the comments below to be profiled on the site with the truth of how Yelp has done you wrong.

If you really want to help, read through the comments and thumbs up or down the stories to help the media select the best stories to profile. This is a community to support local businesses, so please help each other, comment, and lend an ear/shoulder when needed.

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Permanent link to this article: http://yelp-sucks.com/tell-your-yelp-story

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  1. Peter

    We have a few good reviews that have been filtered. The bad reviews, which seem to be from competitors (we are a restaurant/bar business in Chicago) are still there. We have reviews of our place and telling our customers to go to their places instead. We even have one that just popped up a few days ago, stating while at our restaurant, we drugged her aunt, and went over to a nearby hotel where we stole all her belongings. No one at the hotel or at the Police department has heard anything about this incident. We tried contacting Yelp but to no success. They will not take it down. I am furious since this is far above a bad review on food, but involves drugs and illegal actions which are false, and makes my restaurant look bad to all of our visitors on Yelp.

  2. Jannet

    , 2012

    YELP 5 STAR ***** Burbank Kawasaki I shopped all over California for a new Kawasaki motorcycle prices and Burbank Kawasaki was the lowest price. I went to 3 dealers and they where not very friendly or helpful. I am a new rider and Leon took the time to show me everything about the bike. We made the deal over the phone and when I got there I was very happy and he kept all the promises. I bought a Kawasaki motorcycle @ Burbank Kawasaki. They did not have it in the show room and Leon personally when and pick it up at the storage place. Delivered it quickly, and even lowered it for me. I couldn't be happier. I am a major stickler when it comes to buying a vehicle, 9 times out of 10 I don't like the dealers I have had to work with. This time I was 100% satisfied. I highly recommend this dealer

  3. JFER

    So disturbing to read the same concerns over and over again by business owners. We had never had any reviews and then we received our first which was horrendous. Ironically it arrived on the tails of terminating an employee, which is who wrote the review in hopes to damage our business in retaliation. In fact, she even refers to herself in the review which is outrageous. She just joined Yelp, and we were our first review. I complained and tried to have it removed but of course they are keeping her review even though we have had positive reviews from legitimate sources after hers which of course have been filtered. They have told me that if I were to join a membership with them or advertise they will "help" us. This is such an illegal practice, it is unreal. Funny they think everyone should have a voice yet they filter their voices. It is saddening that there is no protection for business owners who are the few taxpayers and job suppliers in this economy. PS: is anyone else disturbed that Yelp does not have a phone number?

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      Just be sure you understand that when Yelp says they will "help" you that they don't mean fix the problem. They mean they will try to spray golden paint over the pile of poo that is their review filter. They are banking on the fact that biz owners think they can buy back their good reviews out of the filter because that was the scandal. You can't do that. They won't fix the problem, you can't buy better service, and no matter what you do, if you are on a downward swing on Yelp, chances are it'll just keep heading south. Focus on Google. They'll be around long after Yelp has shuttered it's doors.

  4. Matt Green

    Adryenn, love the name of your website. In regards to your post, I am not even a business owner but I am thinking about boycotting them all together. Yelp needs to figure out their bad vs. good reviews, I wrote a single review for two separate companies I like and use regularly but both reviews were declined. Yelp's bogus review filter is causing good companies I know and like to look like criminals.

  5. dHunter

    Over the last two years it seems Yelp has continued to have unethical business practice tactics. We were contacted multiple times by the "sales" team to purchase advertising and even had one of them commend us on being so responsive to our yelp reviewers. At first we thought this was just part of the game online, but then when our happy clients came in and said they were so excited they posted a great review we all went to look for them in anticipation and guess were they all landed. …..filter filter….. then some negative ones were on the top always. Some of the negatives were not our clients and that was strange… also, two were from "clients" that came in and wanted some discounts and freebies, when we didn't agree with them they posted a whiney negative review. I refuse to be blackmailed by these kind of people and a place like Yelp that allows such unfairness, hog tie the business owner and coerce us to pay them…sounds like an old mafia tactic.

    I am happy to see it backfiring now and love the sticker about "Hate us on Yelp". it really makes if funny and turns it around . the customers will soon see through this and all the credibility will be lost. I spend my dollars on Citisearch, local business networking, Utube and good old facebook to get the real word out.

    As business owners we are not upset with negative reviews in general, they come with the ride, but it is the overall extortion, unfair business practice and stranglehold they put on any way to provide real feedback and have better relations is the issue. If they are in such support of small business then why all the negativity? Citisearch works with us to help build our businesses and offers fair review trafficking. I am Anti Yelp and who cares about them anyway. People need to make up their own business minds….

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      Totally the right attitude: Who Cares? That's right! Make Yelp irrelevant to your business model, out rank them with Google Reviews and other high ranking sites, and you won't feel the pinch.

  6. Gail Lazzinnaro

    Yelp continues to filter out positive reviews and highlight s the negative reviews. They then contact us to purchase ads. We have been in business over 21 years, without any problems. The economy is hard enough on small businesses – we do not need YELP to add to our situation… What can we do to stop them?

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      You can outrank them in the search engines. I'll bet most of your ideal clients aren't the kind that look at Yelp in the first place, but see it on Google. Yes? So put more great stuff on Google for your potential clients to find.

  7. Brent Bullard

    We have a small business. Yelp has allowed bad bogus reviews of competitors (we assume) to stay on Yelp while good reviews are filtered. We have ALWAYS been reputable and had glowing response and reviews from helping out clients but Yelp is destroying our online presence.

  8. Marche

    Another story of filtered reviews. We are a new business with all 5 star reviews. 6 of the 8 have been filtered. I know these customers by name. One of my customers actually contacted yelp after their review was filtered several months ago, it was placed back on our page and now its filtered again. There really is not rhyme or reason to their filtering. I find it interesting that they feel they have the authority to determine the authenticity of a review, they obviously need a new formula.

    Additionally I was accosted by a Yelp sales person. He was demanding and became verbally aggressive during our conversation. I called him out on it saying that he was brusk and rude. He tried to backtrack. It was very uncomfortable and I felt bullied. Needless to say I did not even consider advertising after that encounter.

    Prior to opening a business I regularly used yelp. I will now take all yelp reviews with a GIANT grain of salt, maybe an entire container. I don't trust Yelp, they do not have my best interest, or any other small business, in mind.

  9. Ruben

    So I own a small computer/game console repair shop and started using YELP because I was trying to get online exposure and get my business name on the internet. I signed up got a few reviews after about 10 or so I get a call from yelp saying they can help my business that there is 1000 searches for my category in my area and last month I only got 100 views so Im missing out on customers. I declined to sign up with them because I have used all my advertising money on other websites and printed material. Well the day after my conversation with them I noticed my reviews were being filtered I thought it might be because most of those filtered reviews where from people who have just signed up so didnt really think anything of it. Then I noticed a competitor's ad was being displayed right above my page when a search was done (obviously paid ad) and I click on his reviews lo an be hold only a couple of his reviews are filtered and none of the reviews from new users are being filtered? As of today 10 of my 13 reviews have been filtered out and only 5 of his 12 reviews are filtered. I guess I am lucky that I have no bad reviews otherwise Im sure new user or not that one would stay up until I pay up.

  10. Iam Marshal

    My beef with Yelp is much different then most. I had Lasik at at a place and they destroyed my eyes. It has cost me in excess of 10k to have this fixed and I still my be looking at a trip to London for additional surgery.That will run me another 15k. I have a legitimate beef with the lasik center that did this to me. So I wrote a bad review of them and soon other people came forward and this place has no decent reviews. They haved maimed many people. I backed my review with facts and hyperlinks,as a matter of fact my surgeon is being sued for 10 million dollars. I cannot sue as where this happened to me, simpy you cant. To cut to the chase I figured that they would remove my review or filter it. Then people started voting and I got 72 Useful votes and people started contacting me about what to do about their maimed eyes. I was helping people. My review was not of a business that had bad service, it was about a place that was blinding people. It was legit and not like so many BS reviews or good reviews that were filtered. Do you know what did me in? One of the people who contacted me said that I should be a more active participant in yelp talk. On Sunday a troll attacked me and made nasty comments about my parents. I fired back and put the guy in his place. After saying what I had to say I finished with I'm done with this guy. Yesterday I sign in and it says that my account has been closed for having mutiple accounts. I had one. Evidently the troll flagged everyone who got the best of him. I guess my flag was for having more then one account which is BS. I have contacted yelp and they refuse to get back to me. So why they extorting legitimate businesses, the BS is a two way street. I pretty much told the guy to grow up and move out of parents basement. The thread had more more profane stuff about this guy from other people and since it was not flagged it stays. This guy went looking for trouble and I fell for the bait. Now I kicked of yelp forever and I didn't do anything except defend myself. I know this way diferent then businesses that have a beef because they wont pay yelps extortion. I will start my own website and continue helping people. This may be way different then what most of you have gone through. I went through something else and it was just as wrong as what they did to all of you. They want you to be part of their "social network" and when you do they close your account for a BS reason. If this place hadn't maimed me I would have never even thought of posting on yelp. Moral of the story, they screw everyone.

  11. Karen Chapon

    Our company wound up on Yelp! with no initiation on my part. The first review was posted 8/2011 by a person who never even did business with us! I contacted Yelp! who told me to contact the reviewer. I did so and she never bothered to respond. I then recontacted Yelp! who told me that the review would stand, referenced some congressional ruling from 1996 that pertained to 3rd party and internet providers and blew me off. I then asked a few of our past guests to provide reviews which they did. On 2/8 I contacted Yelp! again about the reviewer who never did business with me, again asking them to remove it or at least provide some assistance on how to correct it. Soon after I got yet another boiler plate response. I responded that this was ridiculous and I was going to contact the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau and our personal attorney. That was on 2/8 and shortly after that all my positive reviews were deleted!! My customers that left the reviews contacted me asking why Yelp! closed their account!! I can't believe this place!! Its a goddamn racket that hides behind a outdated law passed decades ago. They need to be shut down permanently.

    1. I've been Yelpped

      Yeah, I didn't initiated my business being on Yelp either. And I was double shock when I was informed I couldn't take it off. Say what now!? I don't know what this congressional rule of 1996 was but if still sounds like Yelp is on thin ice especially if they are exploiting it and using it for purposes it was not intented. Sooner or later some jackass always use some good for bad. But I was thinking, if I'm reading what you wrote correctly that is, how can Yelp stand behind a 3rd party ruling when the fact that the person writing the review is a Yelper. Doesn't that constitute, if ever so vaguely, a relationship. I'm not a lawyer, just a thinker. I bet there is an argument to be made there, by some keen lawyer.

    2. Robert Vennes

      Hi Karen. I am facing the same issues with reviews against my company for work we never contracted for or performed. I have the same exact story as you, contacted Yelp over and over and heard about constitutional rights and that I need to contact the reviewer. Let me get this straight, I am to contact the illogical Yelper and talk sense into them? I have tried it twice, business suicide. Nothing like having a business owner argue with a so called client in a public forum. So I tried the private reach out, no better response. Just mad people that want to assign blame no matter who they hurt. Why would they care, they are not the ones losing business. I am working with my attorney on the premise that if I have contacted Yelp and notified them that fraud has been committed on their website and they do act then they should be just as liable for the fraud as the blogger. We will see……

  12. Vitaly

    We have over 60 positive reviews, only 2 good and 2 bad showing giving us 3 stars. When based on the simple math of 60 5 star reviews we should have 5 right? we've written 3 times to BBB, 4 times to Yelp and to our NY Senators and Federal Trade Comm. No help whatsoever. The joke is Yelp calls us to buy advertising!?!?!? We use to pay when we started 2 years ago but stopped. We have emailed so many complaints that we now tell our customers to only post or LIKE US on Facebook (which is more legit as you see the customer) and Google Maps or twitter. Yelp should be shut down or at least a business should be able to remove itself (permanently unlist themselves to this service). We don't want to be listed on Yelp. Two crappy customers over 2 years in business and they hold more sway than dozens of happy ones. BS

    1. Jack

      Your story is the same as ours. Yelp banned me from posting because I told the same story on their crappy web site. We know our 2 bad reviews came from people that work for our competitors. They are so smug that no one at Yelp will listen to legitimate complaints. Customers have tried to post good reviews from their iphone sitting in a both. They got frustrated because yelp wants personal information and a picture and you have to post reviews several times before yours sticks. Who has time for that – let me guess the a-holes of the world.

  13. Jennifer Yeko

    I have 7 positive, five star reviews from industry people as well as clients. All are hidden yet 3 bad reviews are highlighted, including by one person that admits they aren't a customer but reviewed with me one star to retaliate for me giving a friend's massage business a negative review…which has nothing to do with my business at all since we are complete strangers. Unbelievable, I have no doubt lost business because of these phony reviews.

  14. Glenn T

    ANNOUNCEMENT:

    We have recently implemented a system to outsmart yelp from hiding our filtered reviews, and it has worked very well for us (and some of the other businesses who have already done what we have done).

    Step 1- first of all, if you’re advertising with yelp, stop doing so and shift that money to optimize your own web site instead

    Step 2- have a graphic designer make a yelp badge that is placed on your web site. It should say “we have …… filtered and unfiltered reviews on yelp”. 

    Step 3- when a visitor clicks on the badge, it will go to another page ON YOUR OWN WEB SITE (instead of going to yelp’s. (why help them get traffic and rank higher anyways)? 

    Step 4- on this page have your graphic designer get a screen capture (picture) of all your filtered and unfiltered reviews and have them pasted together onto one page.

    Now, all your reviews (filtered or not) will be visible to all your web site visitors. 

    5- put a note on the top that says, “for your convenience we have placed all our filtered and unfiltered reviews on one page to see. If you’d like to go to our live yelp page, click here …………”

    Make the whole page clickable to your live yelp page  so no-one will say you’re trying hide something or to be dishonest 

    Advantages of doing this: 

    1- your visitors will stay on your web site instead of being directed to yelp’s

    2- your visitor can’t click on your competitors 

    3- no more being a slave to yelp’s algorithm

    4- yelp would not benefit from getting traffic from you and higher rankings on google 

    5- this whole process cost us less than $150 to implement 

    Just be sure to shift that $300 per month on yelp advertising and put it into KEYWORDS that people will search for. 

    Please pass this along

  15. Burbank Kawasaki inc

    To Yelp

    From Burbank Kawasaki Inc.

    Extortion Fraud

    Yelp has been removing Burbank Kawasaki Inc. and American business positive reviews from respectful citizen in their community and all over America. Yelp has been thriving on the negative reviews to extort American business owners to pay Yelp to get good reviews.

    If Yelp does not remove all the negative reviews and restore all the positive, Burbank Kawasaki Inc has no choice. and all of the business owners victims, to file a law suit. Yelp is the worst type of terrorist destroying America’s freedom and free enterprise. Yelp is attacking American citizens and forcing American business to lay off workers because of your “Mafia” tactics. Restore the truth or face the consequences like Obama to Bin Laden.

    Burbank Kawasaki

    1329 Hollywood Way

    Burbank,CA 91505

    818-848-6627

  16. Teresa Holland

    We were paid advertisers on Yelp and decided to stop. Our site had positive reviews removed and negative reviews remained leaving us with a 3 1/2 star rating. We have 79 filtered reviews that are unseen. Most of them are 5 star reviews. We have put our Yelp click through icon directly to our filtered reviews. I don't know what else to do. i agree with the businesses that cry extortion.

    What do I do to delete my businesses completely from Yelp? I have a San Diego and Bay area web site.

    Thank you for your help,

    Teresa Holland

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with Yelp. I wish I could say you were unique but I've heard this story hundreds of times! Getting anything out of Yelp, even just getting a human being, is tough. If you are willing to play hardball there are options.

  17. AJ joshi

    After refusing to their extortion tactics and us refusing to advertising on Yelp in September of 2011. Yelp systematically removed all of our reviews in October, November and December of 2011. I mean every single one! Good bad indifferent. Who will ever trust Yelp. We have 15 reviews and 39 filtered.

    We were unsuccessful at removing our listing so we renamed it to something more appropriate.

    Its worth a look.

    YELP IS FRAUD

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      That is clever! I just changed the name for a client and added a "see our filtered reviews" and they changed it back!

  18. Kym in NH

    I posted a negative review of a daycare center that my 6 month old daughter was abused at. They filtered it. I got in touch and explained to them it was valid, offered to send pictures and the police report, and got no help. Today they emailed me telling me they removed my review! I am DISGUSTED! They told me my review wasn't detailed enough. I tried to keep it simple because we were advised by an attorney not to slander, as we are filing a law suit. I guess that's not good enough for them, and they apparently love child abusers!

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      I know that NPR is looking for consumers like you! I know they would love to hear your story:
      CONSUMERS BURNED BY YELP

      Name: Sally Herships NPR/Marketplace
      Category: Business and Finance
      Email: query-1sdj@helpareporter.net
      Media Outlet: NPR/Marketplace
      Deadline: 7:00 PM EST – 29 December

      Query:

      Before spending a large chunk of cash, perhaps on a new dentist,
      a dinner out, a membership at a new gym, you did your research.
      You looked up reviews on Yelp. They were glowing so you handed
      over your credit card. Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back you can
      tell the reviews were too good – they were bogus and you got
      burned – bad, iffy or NO service at all. Is this you? Looking
      for consumers burned by seemingly good reviews.

  19. paul koumanelis

    FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION PHONE NUMBER 1-877-382-4357

    i am a small business owner who has run afoul of a competitor.

    the competing business has bombarded me (using YELP) with out and out fabrications, libelous accusations, and outrageous drivel via what i can only assume to be one writer with several pseudonyms or one (very unethical) 'on-line presence' service with a stable of (fiction) writers masquerading as unhappy clients.

    i have written to yelp on many occasions to explain. you have a better chance of finding God. i haven't found a phone # you can call (unless, of course, you want to buy advertising), and all my letters have elicited only (the same, word for word), boilerplate answers generated by some robot.

    i finally got so angry i called the FTC (federal trade commission), at 877-382-4357.

    they filed a complaint, and said if they see a pattern (meaning a lot of angry businesspeople filing complaints) they will go after them (yelp).

    the gentleman i spoke with seemed particularly interested in the "extortion for advertising" angle.

    so what are you waiting for??? if yelp has wronged you as it has me, CALL NOW AND FILE A COMPLAINT!!!

    ONCE AGAIN: FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION PHONE NUMBER IS 877-382-4357

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      Your experience is not unusual I'm afraid! I am so sorry to hear your plight. There is very little you can do about that other than getting Yelp to remove your listing from the search results. And each new negative listing, then you claim that business and it will vanish as well. It means you won't be getting any business from Yelp, but you will sleep better at night and can focus on Google where you get a more fair treatment.

      But, don't assume that your competitor won't follow you to your new listings…

      What you need is to dominate your keywords in your area. I think doing a Pizza Podcast, with expert commentary on how you do pizza right, and cute interwoven testimonials from customers… you just need a flip cam and some creativity. 🙂

      1. milo.zador

        it's interesting that you can't filter malicious negative reviews but have NO PROBLEM filtering the nice reviews people post. you claim that you filter both negative and positive. its a lie. i have seen no eveidence of ANY negative reviews being filtered. it's because Yelp would lose leverage with its businesses. A customer will not purchase ads on Yelp so filtering negative reviews only hurts the end user. filtering the positive reviews forces a business to evaluate and possible become blackmailed by YELP to purchase advertising in exchange for less filtered positive reviews.

        ALL in ALL-Yelp is a scam. It too will fade….anyone remember Friendster??? Enough said.

  20. Anand D. Patel MD

    Yelp continues to filter out positive reviews and highlight negative reviews. They then contact us to purchase ads. When asked why the filter behaves this way, they respond that the reviewers do not review enough to be considered salient. This explanation is, at best, inconsistent. See my site, and that of my group, below to confirm this:

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/anand-d-patel-m-d-austin-http://www.yelp.com/biz/devenir-aesthetics-austin

    I hope one day we will be able to prevent large corporations from extorting and harming small businesses like ours — we have enough to worry about in a slumping economy.

    1. Adryenn Ashley

      I know how you feel. Many people come to me and complain about the filter. And it IS inconsistent, which I believe is grounds for a negligent misrepresentation claim (I'm not a lawyer but many ask me for advice). Did you watch my Outsmarting Yelp videos? That can help…

    2. john starling

      yelp has been a small thorn in our businesses side since we've opened. They have knocked off so many good reviews for us and have of course kept all the bad ones. Including the ones that are first post. I would love to see this website demolished. yelp sucks hard

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