Is Yelp a good thing or is it unfair?
We always thought that Yelp was a great tool on the web. However, we are now rethinking how useful it really is. Marshall Short was talking with an owner of a pizza shop in Chicago and he gave us some insight that we have yet to encounter. He told us that he was contacted through email about someone who had "Elite Status" and would love to give a really great rating and comments if he would in return give him a few free pizzas.
Yelp "Elite Status" Abuse
The owner of the pizza shop informed the "Elite User" that he is more than welcome to come in and buy a pizza and rate it. Well the user kept sending emails saying how much his comments and ratings would weight and how helpful they would be. The owner kept turning him down. Finally after it was all over the "Elite User" gave his pizza shop a bad review and bad mouthed them on the pizza shops Yelp page. Further more several other comments appeared that same day that where all negative. The other comments that appeared where even talking about stuff that the shop doesn't even offer. The owner approached Yelp about this issue and they said that the user was an "Elite User" and they stand by what he said and the ratings he gave.
Yelp doesn't release all good comments
The owner of the pizza shop also told us that he has probably a dozen of great comments and ratings that Yelp will not release to the public. The pizza shop not only does the deep dish pizzas but also the chief went to Italy and studied culinary pizza as well. The pizza shop also offers pizzas just like they are made in Italy because of this. There are some comments that are great about the pizza from some students who where visiting Chicago and they ordered some of the pizzas that where just like the ones you get in Italy. The students then left great comments and ratings saying that these where just like the pizzas they get back at home. Yelp will not release these comments to the public either. According to yelp they think these where all comments that are not real and/or paid comments.
Can Yelp still help your business?
We still do believe that Yelp can help your business with placement on the internet and with search engines. Yelp also does help costumers find you and read some relevant ratings but don't take all negative comments as true comments. We strongly recommending reading the comments and see if in fact they do offer those services or not. We have encountered a lot of comments that are about other companies and not the one you are looking at. For example, one of the sites we do is for a Car Wash. All they do is wash cars and yet they have comments about how they screwed up on the oil change or it took to long to change the oil which they do not do since all they do is wash cars. As you can see we strongly urge you to take caution and skepticism when reading online comments about companies and products.