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Yelp Manipulation

I love Yelp, but I also love credibility and honesty. Apparently, Yelp’s been accused of massaging scores if businesses hand over some advertising dough. There was always that minor suspicion but this article details it fully:

The story, which was picked up by national news outlets including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, detailed the accounts of local business owners who said that sales reps at the popular user-generated review site offered to move negative reviews of their businesses if they advertised.

Anyway, today, my friend told me about how one of his (very legitimate) reviews got removed:

oh hey apparently yelp is like, fuckin 1984 shit
maybe that’s not the right analogy
they went all china censor on me
back in august 07 i went to this bed and breakfast in monterey bay, and it was dirty and filthy and had clogged plumbing and no toilet paper and BEBBUGS IN ALL THE BEDS
woke up in the middle of the night like omfg wtf and just left
so i wrote this harsh ass review of it on yelp, and posted pics of bedbugs

Ron Hsu
they deleted the review?

and a few weeks ago
i got an email
from “Frank @ yelp hq” saying they were removing my pics from that business because they “fall outside our local business photo guidelines”
a couple of days ago, i got a personal message on yelp from the owner of the business offering a free night’s stay at his business (which, since I went there, has apparently undergone new ownership and a total renovation) so that i might have a better experience and change my rating
i wrote him back saying thanks, if i ever go to monterey again maybe i’ll take you up on your offer
and for now i’ll add a line to the beginning of my old review saying “note: i haven’t been back, but apparently there is new ownership and the place has been renovated”
and today, i got a message from “Casper @ Yelp HQ” telling me that one of my reviews was deleted “because it lacks a first-hand experience of the business”
and i was like what the fuuuuuck how was my review not a first hand experience of hte business
it was ANYTHING but secondhand
smells like BS to me
i suspect you can pay off yelp or bitch to them or do something shady to delete bad reviews
which, of course, defeats the purpose of yelp in the first place

check it
only 5 reviews
used to be 6
mine got killed
they have to be a yelp sponsor of some sort to be able to list that “grand opening! rates start at 79!” ad rectangle right?
the only review from the last two years is from someone with 2 reviews, who just started yelping in january 2010
fiiiiishy fiiiiishy
yeah yelp sold out or something, cus that is bullshiiiiiit
i sent a message to that hazel q chick, yelp oc community organizer or whatever, no response
dunno if she has any power or say in the first place
but yeah, bullllshiiiit
“your review was deleted because it lacks a first-hand experience of the business,” LOL

Ron Hsu
actually i had just read an article about something like your experience a few days ago

The only legitimate rationale I can think of is the new ownership angle, and thus, perhaps, my friend’s review no longer counts since he hasn’t been to the “new and improved” version.

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