I was just contacted by a company that does this sort of thing. At first, they acted like they WERE Yelp. Tried to get their foot in the door by saying they needed to speak with me about some of the Yelp reviews being posted. So I knew it was a sales call, but I took it just to see what they would say.
I've heard all sorts of things about how Yelp operates, over the years, and one of the rumors I heard was that you do better, ratings-wise, if you're an advertiser with Yelp.
After a good 15 minutes on the phone, I realize I'm not speaking to Yelp, but rather, a company that specializes in assisting small businesses with their online reputation. I had heard of this. To me, it's almost like an "internal PR" company!
Anyway, they said there are several things that are not allowed on Yelp reviews:
Recommending other businesses by name
Writing in all caps (yelling)
Calling out employees by name...
They said even though these things should get a review removed, Yelp does not have the staffing to monitor the amount of reviews that are being posted daily, so these reviews that break the rules stay up for years, bringing your rating down.
They essentially said they could remove a lot of my poor reviews this way, and also get all my good "filtered" reviews to show up somehow.
Sounds shifty. Once they heard my distaste for Yelp, they made sure that I knew they are the white knights who fight the evil Yelp dragon for damsels in distress like myself. (Actually I got over being distressed about Yelp a couple years ago, and now I'm just moderately bitter.)
For the low low price of $199/month. What say you, cakers?
It certainly sounds scam-ish. That's a lot of money, and how can they even do everything they promise if they have no affiliation with Yelp?
if i were getting 1000 reviews a week, I might need someone to read my reviews, but since i'm in the 12 range, i'm not gonna worry about it.
I do get most of my business from yelp searchers, though. can't hate on it.
it's a service. they can't do any more than you can, realistically.
$199 a month???
I'd also be concerned they're going to start posting negative reviews as a payback for not using their services...
@MimiFix I usually give the phone to my kids in situations like that, they're much better at talking nonsense off the cuff than I am.
Yelp is a total scam. They encourage people to pay them to advertise and promise that if you do they'll puch bad reviews down on your list and push the good ones higher so people don't see the bad ones. They're being sued right now by someone who was one of their review writers who write a ton of htem for no pay at all. I'll try to find the article...I think that as people start to speak up about them they'll lose some of their clout, because one thing they're not is impartial.
She said that they told the writers to go easy on people who they were trying to sell advertising to, and that if there was a bad review of someone who current;y advertised they wouldn't publish it. When she started saying that she and the other people who basically work for nothing should actually be paid, they deleted her account. It's too bad that there are parts of the country where Yelp really holds a lot of weight, because I know people here and in other places who have had to deal with fake reviews etc etc and Yelp doesn't care. They'll just offer to push the review down to the bottom of the list if you want to buy advertising from them.