What if your business was suddenly published on Yelp? Would you even know about it? The owner of Joe Hadeed’s Carpeting in Virginia had this same problem when negative reviews began flooding his page. It turns out that Yelp collects business information from “third party data” sources and creates business listings even if you did not request to be listed on their site!
This means there is almost nothing to safeguard businesses from the onslaught of anonymous negative reviews. And that’s not the only complaint. The FTC has revealed some 2,000 complaints against the company since 2008. Some of these complaints allege that the company is even charging customers to hide the negative reviews against their business.
Yelp may not explicitly state any of this on their FAQ, but the message is clear. In our opinion, more businesses are finding that they have to pay to play on Yelp. The CEO of Submit Express, Pierre Zarokian, dives into the matter on his newest article for Search Engine Journal. In it, Zarokian explores these complaints and looks at some possible solutions for the growing problem of reputation management on Yelp.
Disclaimer: Due to a legal notice we have received from Yelp, parts of this article have been revised. This blog post is entirely our opinion. There have been several lawsuits against Yelp and claims that Yelp would remove positive reviews if you do not advertise with them. However, none of them have succeeded in winning. The only facts that we have are that tens of people have filed such lawsuits and thousands of people have filed FTC complaints claiming the shady practices of Yelp.